Top 10 Causes of Chronic Inflammation and What to do About it

Inflammation, in and of itself, is not something to be afraid of. It is part of the bodies natural
healing process. When we get injured, sick, or take in harmful toxins, our immune system kicks
into gear and sends anti-inflammatory cells to the area in need of healing. This type of
inflammation is known as Acute inflammation and generally doesn’t last longer than a few
weeks (1).

When we are in a state of Chronic Inflammation, on the other hand, our bodies continue to
send out inflammatory cells even though there is no illness or injury. This can last for months or
years and cause some serious damage to physical and emotional bodies. Chronic
inflammation can damage healthy cells, tissues and organs and lead to serious illnesses such
as cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, Asthma, mental health conditions, Alzheimers, and many more (2).

Here are some signs that you may have chronic inflammation (3):

- Achey joints, muscle soreness or stiffness
- Stomach pain
- Anxiety, mood swings
- Skin rashes or irritation
- Fatigue or insomnia
- Gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, constipation or acid reflux
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Frequent infections

So what causes chronic inflammation and what can you do about it?
Environmental and lifestyle factors are big drivers in chronic inflammation. If you don’t exercise
or eat a healthy diet or have high levels of stress or exposure to toxins, you may be at a higher
risk for inflammation.

Top 10 causes of Inflammation-

1) Chronic stress or worry, negative thinking patterns

2) Lack of physical activity
3) Gut dysbiosis or having an imbalance of healthy vs unhealthy bacteria in the intestines

4) Eating a diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed foods, fried foods or
unhealthy fats.
5) Drinking alcohol in excess
6) Being obese or having a BMI over 30
7) Irregular sleep patterns, disrupted sleep and lack of sleep
8) Smoking cigarettes
9) Exposure to toxins including chemicals in our foods, air pollution, or industrial chemicals
10) The natural aging process

The good news is that most of these causes of inflammation are avoidable, as we have have
the ability to change our habits and behaviors at any point in time. So, if you think you may be
suffering from chronic inflammation, don’t worry- there are some things you can do about it!

How to reduce or prevent chronic inflammation in the body:

- Exercise! We need to move our bodies at least 2-3 days a week for 30 minutes minimum.
More than this is better. So get outside and walk, hike, bike, swim, jump, climb, lift weights,
play pickle ball... it doesn’t matter what the exercise, just get moving!

- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Eating foods with anti-inflammatory properties such as Vitamin
C, polyphenols, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and pre and probiotics, can significantly decrease
inflammation in the body (4). Sticking to a Mediterranean Diet is always a good idea. Go for
colorful organic vegetables like leafy greens and beets, oily fish like salmon and or sardines,
whole grains such as quinoa or farro, and healthy fats like olives or avocados.

- Stress Less. Take time out of your day to slow down, relax, and take some deep breaths.
Deep breathing, meditation and mindfulness help reduce cortisol levels and bring stress
levels down. Take a yoga class, go for a walk, get a massage, journal or take a siesta to help
yourself unwind.

- If you are overweight, lose weight. Being overweight or obese is one of the biggest
predictors of chronic inflammation.

- Try Intermittent Fasting. Intermittent fasting, even for 13 hours overnight can do wonders for
all of your bodies systems, clearing out waste, illness, free radicals, and toxic substances (5).
Intermittent fasting starves bad bacteria and helps the healthy cells to thrive.

- Drink less alcohol and stop smoking. Drinking more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 a day
for women increases inflammation. So drink less and feel better (6)!

- Add anti-inflammatory supplements to your diet. Curcumin in Turmeric (taken with black
pepper), Garlic, Boswelia, Cinnamon, Cat’s Claw, Green Tea, and Ginger are just a few herbs
that have powerful anti-inflammatory properties (7).

- Try a cold plunge! Immersing yourself in cold water, Cryo therapy, or even turning the shower on cold before you hop out, increases your resilience, boosts your immunity and lowers your bodies inflammation response. It specifically reduces the degree of exercise-induced muscle damage that occurs due to intense physical activity. This lowers inflammatory response and helps you to feel and perform better the next day. Give it a try!

-  Red Light Therapy could be a great option. Red light therapy uses low levels of red light that travel deep into your skin and cells. The mitochondria soak up this light and produce more energy, which helps cells repair themselves and in turn helps to heal inflammation (8).

- Do hard things today to set yourself up for success tomorrow. Do a cold plunge, go for a
run, slow down and sit in silence, eat your vegetables, don’t have that favorite alcoholic
drink or your go to dessert before bed, or go to bed before 10 pm and get a solid nights sleep.
Instead of always taking the easy or fun route, try doing something a bit more challenging,
yet beneficial to your mind and body. The more you add in these types of practices to your
daily life, the more they will become habit, and the better you will feel.

If you suffer from inflammation, start slowly. Pick one or two of these ideas to try and don’t get
overwhelmed. It can be a slow process but if you continue to improve your health, you may
find your chronic inflammation issues start to slowly melt away.

1) Six, Hannah. “Chronic Inflammation: Why it’s harmful and how to prevent it.” Healthy Headlines, Novant Health,10 Feb. 2022,
2) “Inflammation.” Cleveland Clinic,
3) “Inflammation.” Cleveland Clinic,

4) “Anti-Inflammatory Diet.” Health, John Hopkins Medicine, 2024,

5) Hayes, Kristin. “What Is Autophagy? Your Bodies Cellular Recycling Process” Healthy Aging, Verywell Health, 7 Nov. 2023,
6) Six, Hannah. “Chronic Inflammation: Why it’s harmful and how to prevent it.” Healthy Headlines, Novant Health,10 Feb. 2022,

7) Wagner, Paul. "Herbs and Tinctures that Heal Inflammation.” Gaia, 3 Jan. 2020,


8) Pagan, Camille Noe and Lean Rosenbaum. “Red Light Therapy: What is it?” Skin Problems and Treatments Reference,                                                                                                                                                                  14 May 2024, Web MD,

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