Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Inflammation: is your body and brain on fire?

Delve into factors contributing to inflammation of the body, such as stress and poor diet.
Inflammation Is Your Body And Brain On Fire
© Getty Images
Evidence shows that mental health issues might be linked to the immune system and inflammation.

Factors contributing to inflammation

There are several factors that could contribute to the state of inflammation. For example, prolonged stress or prolonged activation of pro-inflammatory immune responses such as with smoking or poor sleep could lead to a chronic inflammatory state.

Factors contributing to systemic inflammation (based on Berk et al. 2013)
Factors contributing to systemic inflammation. (Image based on Berk et al. 2013).

Diet and inflammation

A poor diet can significantly contribute to the state of inflammation. Evidence from large population-based studies shows that consumption of Western dietary patterns is linked to a higher concentration of inflammatory blood markers.

Traditional dietary patterns (e.g., Mediterranean or Nordic) are consistently associated with an anti-inflammatory response. This suggests that these diets – high in plant-based food and fish – may decrease the risks of ill mental health and support cognitive functions. Also, intervention studies, show that inflammatory states improve when the diet is improved and fruit and vegetable intake is increased.

For those learners who are eager to learn more about inflammation and inflammatory markers associated with diet, in-depth and discipline-specific courses will soon be available.

Your task

Review the concept of inflammation based on several factors presented in the “Factors contributing to systemic inflammation” diagram in this Step.

© Deakin University
This article is from the free online

Food and Mood: Improving Mental Health Through Diet and Nutrition

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now