Pay a Lot of Attention to Inflammation How quickly—or slowly—you age is determined by two key processes: inflammation and the production of free radicals. Each one is triggered—or prevented—by specifc things in your diet, environment, and way of life. In a positive sense, inflammation is a protective response to irritation, injury, or infection. We experience it as redness, swelling, heat, or pain, and it’s easy to see when you scratch or cut your fnger. Inflammation is a vital part of the healing process as your body fghts the injury, and it helps to protect you against infection. But the inflammatory response can go awry and speed up the aging process.
Levels of inflammation can be measured with a blood test for C-reactive protein, or CRP. Although it isn’t usually part of a check-up for a healthy person, CRP tests in studies show that an unhealthy lifestyle increases inflammation. But it can be reduced with the right diet, exercise, and specifc supplements.