Lifestyle Measures to Reduce Inflammation

Glenn Gaesser, Siddhartha Angadi, Dana M. Ryan, Carol Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Chronic low-grade inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes (T2D) may be ameliorated with exercise and/or diet. High levels of physical activity and/or cardiorespiratory fitness are associated with reduced risk of low-grade inflammation. Both aerobic and resistance exercise have been found to improve inflammatory status, with the majority of evidence suggesting that aerobic exercise may have broader anti-inflammatory effects. In particular, aerobic exercise appears to improve the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory markers. Improvement in inflammatory status is most likely to occur in persons with elevated levels of pro-inflammatory markers prior to intervention. A number of dietary factors, including fiber-rich foods, whole grains, fruits (especially berries), omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidant vitamins (eg, C and E), and certain trace minerals (eg, zinc) have been documented to reduce blood concentrations of inflammatory markers. Anti-inflammatory foods may also help mitigate the pro-inflammatory postprandial state that is particularly evident after ingestion of meals high in saturated fat. Intensive lifestyle interventions involving both exercise and diet appear to be most effective. For the most part, anti-inflammatory effects of exercise and diet are independent of weight loss. Thus overweight and obese men and women, who are most likely to have a pro-inflammatory profile, do not necessarily have to normalize body mass index to improve inflammatory status and reduce risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-13
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Lifestyle Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • cardiovascular disease
  • diet
  • exercise
  • physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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