Chronic Inflammation: Why Should You Care?
Posted: Feb 18th 2020

You know that your junk food habit isn’t good for your waistline, but did you realize it could be subtly damaging your health? In fact, foods that are high in sugar, salt, and saturated fats aren’t just loaded with calories. They’re also a major source of systemic inflammation. In one study, mice fed a diet high in these ingredients and low in fruits, vegetables, and fiber saw a steep spike in immune cells associated with chronic inflammation.

Chronic inflammation may not sound like a big deal, but it’s been linked to serious health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders. It can even affect your mental health, as chronic inflammation has been linked to depression as well as dementia.

The signs of chronic inflammation

The signs of chronic inflammation are subtle. That’s a big reason why chronic inflammation so often goes undetected until it has caused serious damage.

Signs your body is inflamed include:

  • Fatigue and brain fog.
  • Digestive problems like bloating and constipation.
  • Skin problems, such as eczema or a blotchy complexion.
  • Bleeding and inflamed gums.
  • Carrying fat in your abdomen.

If you’re dealing with these symptoms, MindBodyGreen notes that it’s not necessarily chronic inflammation. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from taking steps to fight inflammation.

How to fight chronic inflammation

If you think inflammation could be contributing to your symptoms, do something about it! These are some of the best ways to fight systemic inflammation in your body.

Consider cannabis

Many of cannabis’s health effects are due to its anti-inflammatory properties. That’s especially true when it comes to pain relief. For people suffering from arthritis, neuropathic pain, inflammatory bowel disease, and other painful health conditions, medical marijuana is a valuable source of relief. 

While recreational marijuana is available to all adult users in Denver, if it’s pain relief you’re after, it’s worth getting a prescription for medical cannabis and seeking out medical dispensaries. These marijuana dispensaries specialize in products that are high in anti-inflammatory terpenes and flavonoids and low in THC, so you can get relief without the intoxication of recreational cannabis products.

Make time for exercise

Medical News Today explains that as little as 20 minutes of moderate exercise a day has a significant impact on inflammation levels, according to research. As hard as it is to find time to exercise with today’s busy lifestyles, all of us can carve out 20 minutes to get moving. Regular exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight and avoid obesity, another major contributor to chronic inflammation.

Manage stress

Inflammation increases in response to stress. That means if you’re chronically stressed, you’re chronically inflamed too. Avoid unnecessary stress where you can, and when stress spikes, turn to fitness and other stress-reduction techniques to fight it. Yoga is a good choice, as it appears to be particularly helpful in fighting inflammationMindfulness meditation and breathing exercises are a few tried-and-true de-stressing strategies.

Clean up your diet

Eating well may be the most important thing you can do to fight inflammation. Refined sugar, saturated and trans fats, omega-6 fatty acids, and refined carbohydrates all contribute to inflammation. By cutting processed, fried, and other unhealthy foods out of your diet, you can slash inflammation and your chronic disease risk. Instead of relying on junk foods, build your diet around clean, whole ingredients like fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and lean meats.

Adopting a healthier lifestyle is a good move whether you’re experiencing the signs of chronic inflammation or not. If you’re taking steps to fight inflammation but still feeling run-down, talk to your doctor. While the science behind chronic inflammation is still underway, your doctor can help you develop a plan to fight inflammation in your body so you feel better day-to-day.

Image via Unsplash

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