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Inflammation is an immune response. When we experience inflammation, it is our body protecting us — or at least, thinking it is protecting us. In normal immune function, inflammation is triggered when the immune system recognizes an external invader and rushes white blood cells and chemicals to protect the invaded area. Think, swollen sinuses or the way the area around a cut puffs up red.
Inflammation is healthy when it’s short-lived and in response to something that can be defeated. Long-term, damaging inflammation occurs when the immune system wrongly identifies part of the body as an invader, like in arthritis, or when the body is constantly subjected to a low-level outside invasion, like cigarette smoke. Chronic inflammation is linked to cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as issues like aches, fatigue, and brain fog.
Anti-inflammatory supplements can help, to bring the immune system back into balance. The best supplements for inflammation can also target and counteract whatever pathogens or irritants are causing the immune response. Proteolytic enzymes like bromelain guard against digestive inflammation, while fruits with high levels of anthocyanins help with cholesterol-driven inflammation. In addition to the best anti-inflammatory supplements, an anti-inflammation diet can reduce the severity of many inflammation-based conditions.