A great article by the Cleveland heart lab discusses how food can influence inflammation, a key contributor to heart disease. Inflammation is a term used to describe the bodies natural response to tissue damage. It is the reason we experience redness and swelling after an injury. It is required for tissue healing and generally clears up quickly. However, if it occurs over a long period of time it can lead to many health problems. In cardiovascular disease, inflammation is generated when there is damage to our artery walls.
Inflammation is present long before any symptoms of heart disease. Your doctor can measure inflammatory markers through simple blood and urine tests. These lab values may be useful to predict the stage of heart disease and level of risk for a cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke.
Adherence to an anti inflammatory diet often results in a lowering of inflammatory marker in the blood or urine. The Mediterranean diet, high in fish, lean protein, healthy fats and vegetables, has been showing good results for heart disease prevention and treatment.
To read more about the effectiveness of specific diets on lowering inflammation, check out the article by Cleveland heart lab:
Widmer, R. J., Flammer, A. J., Lerman, L. O., & Lerman, A. (2015). The Mediterranean Diet, its Components, and Cardiovascular Disease. The American Journal of Medicine, 128(3), 229–238.