Acute, short-term inflammation is your friend. It signals that your immune system has been called into action to fight off invading viruses and bacteria (or to help heal an injury).
But chronic inflammation causes disease instead of fighting it. It turns out that for a variety of reasons, the body can get caught in a state of persistent low-level inflammation. When that happens, your immune-system warriors cruise around your body even when there is no bacteria to fight off or injury to heal.
Without specific targets to attack, they begin to damage organs, nerves and arteries.
What causes chronic inflammation? Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are two culprits. Excess fat cells (particularly in the belly) trigger the slow and steady release of those inflammatory first responders, the cytokines. And a sedentary lifestyle contributes to both obesity and chronic stress, which in turn feed chronic inflammation.
In addition, chronic inflammation is stoked by a diet packed with inflammatory foods, such as red meats and added sugars and syrups; lack of exercise and sleep; environmental assaults from air pollution; toxic chemicals; hormone disruptors; and the use of tobacco, marijuana, and hookah and vaping parlors.
Signs you have chronic inflammation: If you are achy, often fatigued, have irregular bowel movements (either constipation or diarrhea), bloating, high blood pressure, and/or weight gain, these can be signs that your immune system has gone rogue. Ask your doctor for a CRP-HS blood test; it helps evaluate inflammation.
Lifestyle changes to make: Get seven to nine servings of fresh fruits and veggies daily, as well as 900 mg of omega-3 DHA. Aim for seven to eight hours of restful sleep nightly, and get moving with both aerobic exercise (five days a week) and strength building (two days).
And be smart about avoiding potential toxins in plastics and receipts (phthalates and BPA), household cleaners, garden pesticides, water (use a home filter) and air. That should help put out the flame.