Managing Chronic Inflammation

Managing Chronic Inflammation

What comes to your mind when you hear the word inflammation? Is it joint and muscle pain after a workout, a sore throat from the flu, physical bruising, or redness and swelling after a bee sting? These are all examples of acute inflammation; inflammation specific to one area of the body. In this way, inflammation is not a bad thing. It is your body’s natural healing process. Inflammation only becomes detrimental when it becomes chronic.

If you have frequent infections and experience body pain, fatigue, insomnia, diarrhea, mood disorders, and several other symptoms – you might be suffering from chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is inflammation that lasts for prolonged periods of time, usually several months to years. Often chronic inflammation symptoms are subtle, so they are easy to ignore or overlook.

Many health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and bowel disorders have been linked to chronic inflammation, so it’s important to manage inflammation to reduce your risk of long-term damage. The extent and effects of chronic inflammation vary with the cause of the injury and your body’s ability to repair and overcome the damage.

Acute and Chronic Inflammation

Common Signs & Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation

  • Low Energy & Fatigue: An imbalance of energy availability and expenditure can leave you feeling tired, despite having a good night of sleep.
  • Joint & Muscle Pain: It’s normal to feel sore after an intense workout or physical activity, but it is not normal if you are sore day in and day out.
  • Brain Fog: If your brain lacks the readiness to reach and maintain an alert state and you can’t figure out why inflammation is a likely culprit.
  • Digestive Problems: This can be caused by an imbalance in gut bacteria, resulting in a bloated stomach, diarrhea, and constipation.
  • Chronic Allergies:  This is caused by persistent and repetitive exposure to allergens.
  • Depression and Anxiety: The link between these two disorders and inflammation has been shown in studies.

suffering from abdominal pain

Causes of Chronic Inflammation 

The causes of chronic inflammation can be quite varied, so it is important to get to the root of the problem in order to decrease the damage being caused. Below we have shared some of the most common causes of chronic inflammation:

  1. Persistent Infections or Pathogens: Some organisms, such as fungi, protozoa, and parasites are difficult to eradicate.
  2. Untreated Causes of Acute Inflammation: This includes infections and injuries.
  3. Autoimmune Disorders: Sometimes your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues.
  4. Long-term Exposure to Toxins and Irritants: This includes industrial chemicals and polluted air.

How Does Chronic Inflammation Impact the Body?

When you have chronic inflammation, your body’s inflammatory response can eventually start damaging healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Over time, this can lead to DNA damage, tissue death, and internal scarring.

chronic pancreatitis

How Can You Keep Chronic Inflammation Under Control? 

If you read health articles or watch videos about health and wellness, you’ll often hear the terms ‘anti-inflammatory diet’ and ‘supplements’ linked with inflammation. This is because the foods that you consume can play a significant role in controlling chronic inflammation in your body. Below we have shared some of the best anti-inflammatory foods that you should add to your diet and other helpful hints for decreasing inflammation.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

  • Tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • Nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
  • Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
  • Fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut
  • Broccoli
  • Avocados
  • Green Tea
  • Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Grapes
  • Turmeric

While the foods above help to fight inflammation in your body, there are also specific foods that can worsen your condition. Do your best to reduce or eliminate the following foods from your diet:

  • Refined sugar
  • Margarine and vegetable oil
  • Refined carbs
  • Ultra-processed food

Health Food for Asthma

Best Anti-Inflammatory Supplements

  • Curcumin
  • Fish Oil
  • Ginger
  • Resveratrol
  • Spirulina

Remember that when it comes to supplements, it’s always important to always first check with your doctor. Follow dosage instructions carefully and purchase any supplements from a reputable manufacturer.

Sleep

Sleep is your body’s time to recover and repair your tissues. Make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep daily. Studies have shown that not getting adequate sleep can trigger a number of different inflammatory responses in your body. There is no better reason to invest in getting the quantity and quality of sleep your body so desperately needs.

sleeping at night

Exercise

Recent research has linked exercise to reducing chronic inflammation. A combination of aerobic exercise with resistance training is recommended for the best anti-inflammatory impact, but 30 minutes of brisk walking is better than not moving at all.

Stress

Prolonged periods of stress can lead to increased levels of cortisol being released into the body. Over time, this decreases tissue sensitivity and impacts the effectiveness of cortisol to regulate the inflammatory and immune responses. Inflammation becomes a response to stress, so simply stated, reduced stress means reduced inflammation.

Woman with stress

If you are battling chronic inflammation, the best course of action is to make healthier lifestyle choices, which include avoiding smoking and limiting your alcohol intake. If you don’t take care of your body, your immune system attacks over time and it can destroy your tissues. Making a few simple lifestyle changes today can be the key to decreasing inflammation in your body and improving your overall health long-term.

Learn the best ways to eliminate inflammation through proper diet and nutrition. Click here for more information.

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