Chronic inflammation is a type of long-term inflammation that persists in the body for weeks, months, or even years. Unlike acute inflammation, which is a short-term response to injury or infection, chronic inflammation can be harmful to the body and has been linked to a range of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and some types of cancer.
Chronic inflammation can be caused by a variety of factors, such as a poor diet, lack of exercise, chronic stress, exposure to environmental toxins, or an underlying medical condition. Over time, chronic inflammation can damage tissues and cells in the body, leading to a range of health problems.
Symptoms of chronic inflammation may include fatigue, joint pain, stiffness, skin rashes, or digestive problems. However, some people with chronic inflammation may not have any noticeable symptoms at all.
10 Key Takeaways
Follow an anti-inflammatory diet: An anti-inflammatory diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. These foods are high in nutrients and antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation in the body. Examples of foods to include in an anti-inflammatory diet include leafy greens, berries, nuts, fatty fish, and olive oil.
Exercise regularly: Exercise is an effective way to reduce inflammation in the body. Regular physical activity can help reduce oxidative stress and improve circulation, which can help reduce inflammation. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, such as brisk walking or cycling.
Practice stress reduction techniques: Stress can trigger inflammation in the body, so practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing can help reduce inflammation. These practices can also help improve mental health and overall well-being.
Get enough sleep: Chronic sleep deprivation can increase inflammation in the body. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to help reduce inflammation and support overall health.
Use natural anti-inflammatory herbs and spices: Many herbs and spices have natural anti-inflammatory properties. For example, turmeric contains a compound called curcumin that has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. Other anti-inflammatory herbs and spices include ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and rosemary.
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water and other hydrating fluids can help reduce inflammation by flushing toxins out of the body. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, and avoid sugary or caffeinated beverages that can dehydrate the body.
Avoid processed foods: Processed foods are often high in sugar and unhealthy fats, which can increase inflammation in the body. Eating whole, unprocessed foods is a better choice for reducing inflammation. Choose foods that are minimally processed, such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protein sources.
Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase inflammation in the body, so maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise is important. Aim for a body mass index (BMI) in the healthy range of 18.5-24.9.
Practice good oral hygiene: Poor oral health can lead to inflammation in the body, so practicing good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly can help reduce inflammation. See a dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.
Spend time in nature: Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve overall health. Exposure to natural environments can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, which can help reduce inflammation in the body. Try spending time outdoors by going for a walk in the park or hiking in the woods.
Hunter, P. (2012). The inflammation theory of disease: The growing realization that chronic inflammation is crucial in many diseases opens new avenues for treatment. EMBO Reports, 13(11), 968-970. doi: 10.1038/embor.2012.142
Weyand, C. M., & Goronzy, J. J. (2013). Immunometabolism in the management of rheumatic diseases. Arthritis Research & Therapy, 15(1), 1-10. doi: 10.1186/ar4088