Rumination inflammation

Inflammation is big news medically these days. High levels of inflammation in your body are linked to many diseases like heart disease, arthritis, and even cancer. There is even the thought that inflammation accelerates the ageing process. Of course, a little inflammation is a healthy immune response to an invading particle but when inflammation gets out of control it can be a real problem. That is why not only reducing but also preventing inflammation is such an important issue and a new study has pointed to one way you can cut inflammation off at the pass.

In the study healthy adult women were asked to give a speech about their application for a job to two interviewers. The interviewers listened to them with blank, stoney expressions. You can imagine that this was a stressful experience.

After going through this ordeal half of the women were asked to think about what their performance had been like while the other half were given some neutral activities to take their mind off what had just happened.

Blood tests showed that in those who had been asked to ruminate on the stressful event there were significantly higher levels of C-reactive protein. This C-reactive protein is made by the liver and is a marker for inflammation in your body. So thinking back on stressful events increases the inflammatory process and in effect, rumination promotes inflammation.

If you want to keep inflammation levels in your body down then it is probably a good idea to avoid going over past problems or stresses. Of course there’s a fine line between excessive rumination and useful contemplation, but you probably shouldn’t dwell on it.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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