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What You Can Do

DRUGS

--Aspirin. A well-known inflammation fighter, aspirin can cool reactions raging in heart arteries and in the colon. Similar agents are also showing promise in controlling inflammation in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

--Statins. Not only do statins lower cholesterol, but they also drive down levels of CRP and other inflammatory proteins.

--Beta blockers and ACE inhibitors. Doctors are investigating whether blood-pressure medications control hypertension in part by lowering levels of certain inflammatory factors that constrict the blood vessels.

EXERCISE

It should be no surprise that being active is good for you, but inflammation may finally explain why. Fat cells are efficient factories for producing key inflammatory elements, and burning calories shrinks those cells. With fewer elements around, inflammation is less likely to flare up or get into the slow burn that contributes to heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.

DIET

--Low fat. It's not clear yet which dietary fats fight inflammation best, but it makes sense to avoid the saturated fats in red meat and dairy products and stick with fish and vegetable oils.

--Fruits and vegetables. The richer in color the better, since colorful plants tend to have the most antioxidants--good for mopping up free radicals produced during inflammation.

ORAL HYGIENE

--Floss. Keeping your mouth clean by flossing and brushing regularly can reduce the risk of gum disease, a source of chronic inflammation.

--By Alice Park








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