Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

Inflammation: is your body and brain on fire?

Inflammation: is your body and brain on fire?
Inflammation Is Your Body And Brain On Fire
© Deakin University

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

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education