For many years I suffered from chronic inflammation in my body.
I had chronic fatigue, was bloated all the time, had little to no energy, and my health got worse and worse.
I was down, but not out…
This was when I started connecting the dots between what I was eating, the lifestyle choices I was making and their relation to chronic inflammation.
Learning how to reduce chronic inflammation didn’t come easy to me. I was addicted to the foods I was consuming (I had some weird obsession with Triscuits of all things), and I probably wasn’t ready for the emotional onslaught that came with no longer having certain foods as a buffer for suppressed feelings and emotions.
But sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up and changed to get us to the place we’re meant to be. And for me, that was helping guide others who were in the same place I once was, to a place of no more pain, sickness and ill health.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve upgraded my life (and my immune system) to end the story of being a prisoner inside of my own body.
Want to be free of the grappling chains of chronic inflammation in your own life?
First, let’s take a look at what inflammation really is, and how our bodies respond to the two different types: acute and chronic.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is part of the body’s defense mechanism. It occurs when the immune system recognizes and removes harmful bacteria, pathogens, and other irritants, and initiates the healing process.
Believe it or not, some inflammation is actually beneficial to the body. This is called acute inflammation.
Acute inflammation is the good type of inflammation. For example, if you catch a cold, your nose starts to run and your fever runs high – this is inflammation that assists healing! Or, when you scratch your arm, inflammation is apparent by the skin turning red and hot.
This type of inflammation is natural, healthy, and helps your body heal.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is the type of inflammation you don’t want. This type of inflammation occurs when the immune system is chronically set to “on”. It can last for prolonged periods of several months to years at a time.
You can think of chronic inflammation as a forest fire that never goes out. Eventually, diseases start to develop as a result of a tired, worn out immune system.
If the immune system is on high-alert for an extended period of time, it can cause serious damage to your heart, brain, and other organs. This eventually leads to chronic disease.
It is well known that conditions like cancer, diabetes, allergies, metabolic
syndrome, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), inflammatory bowel disease, and
asthma all stem from the same common denominator: chronic
But how do you know you actually have high, unnatural levels of inflammation in the body?
Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation is sneaky in that we often aren’t directly aware that we’re dealing with it until we’ve left it too late.
Addressing these early symptoms could be the key in avoiding more advanced stages of imbalance, like arthritis, or even worse, cancer.
Here are 10 subtle signs you may be suffering from too much inflammation in your body:
1. You’re Tired All the Time
Feeling tired or simply run down all the time may indicate that you’re suffering from too much inflammation in the body. One review published in 2018 proposed that this may be due to “an imbalance in energy availability and energy expenditure”
They go on to explain how low-grade inflammation triggers a metabolic switch from “energy-efficient oxidative phosphorylation to fast-acting, but less efficient, aerobic glycolytic energy production; increases reactive oxygen species; and reduces insulin sensitivity. These effects result in reduced glucose availability and, thereby, reduced cellular energy.”
2. You Have Aches and Pains
One possible sneaky cause of chronic aches and pains could be persistent, low-grade inflammation. As it persists, your body’s inflammatory response can eventually start damaging healthy cells, tissues, and organs.
As a result, our bodies ramp up the pain response. This can later manifest as conditions like arthritis or chronic back pain (4).
3. You Experience Excess Mucus Production
If you find yourself always needing to clear your throat or blow your nose, you might be suffering from too much inflammation.
Our mucous membranes produce thick phlegm when inflamed. They do so to help protect our epithelial cells, which line the respiratory system .
As a result, you might notice more coughing and sneezing than normal, having to swallow large globs of mucus consistently over the day or suffer from a never-ending runny nose.
4. You Have Skin Problems
If you notice that your skin breaks out on the regular, or you’re dealing with chronic skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, your body could be over-inflamed.
Studies suggest that mast cells are believed to be involved in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis (eczema)and psoriasis .
Mast cells play an essential role in the inflammatory response in the body. They’re also apart of our immune system. When the immune system becomes hypersensitive, these cells trigger certain skin conditions that are often rash-like in appearance.
5. You Have Poor Digestion
Do you suffer from gas, diarrhea, bloating or constipation? If you do, you might be struggling with a form of leaky gut syndrome, which directly inflames the body.
Leaky gut occurs when thin cracks or holes develop in the lining of the intestinal tract. This allows undigested food particles, bacterial toxins, and other pathogens to leak into the bloodstream, triggering an immune response and causing persistent inflammation throughout the body.
Common factors that cause the intestinal barrier to become “loose” include gluten sensitivity, excessive consumption of inflammatory foods, using antibiotics and/or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), infections like candida, SIBO or parasites, chronic stress, or lack of healthy gut bacteria.
6. You’re Struggling with Brain Fog
Brain fog is a condition where you start to experience memory problems, a lack of mental clarity and an inability to focus. It is also closely intertwined with high levels of inflammation in the body.
In a study published in Neuroimage, inflammation was shown to have a negative impact on the brain’s ability to reach and maintain an alert state.
The results showed that brain activity related to staying alert was directly affected by inflammation. Other attention processes seemed unaffected by the inflammation.
If you’ve noticed changes in the way you think and feel, high levels of inflammation in the body may just be to blame.
7. Headaches Are a Constant
Headaches, particularly migraines, often have a deep-rooted connection to higher levels of inflammation in the body.
This effect may be due to high levels of c-reactive proteins (CRP) circulating in the blood. CRPs are markers of inflammation in the body, so the higher your CRP level, the more inflammation you have (which may indicate infection or other conditions).
It should also be noted that our gut and brain are tightly interconnected, and so when our gut is inflamed from poor food choices or other factors, related issues may also be reflected in the brain.
8. Your Face and Under-Eyes Are Puffy
Facial swelling is a tell-tale sign of internal inflammation.
When your cells are in distress, they release chemicals that trigger a response from the immune system. The immune system then sends specialized cells, like mast cells and other white blood cells to trap any foreign invaders or heal tissue.
One symptom of this reaction is swelling. And it is often most apparent on our face, as it is the part of our body we pay attention to most.
9. Your Lymph Nodes Are Swollen
Swollen lymph nodes can also be a hint that something is off in the body.
The lymphatic system is part of the immune system. It consists of an extensive network of vessels that house lymphatic fluid.
The lymph nodes themselves are made up of sinuses filled with immunological cells, such as lymphocytes and macrophages, that both identify and eliminate viruses, bacteria, cell debris, cancer cells, and other foreign substances that invade our body.
You’ll often notice your lymph nodes become swollen if you get the flu or have a cold. This means that they are fighting off the infection (so it’s a good thing!).
But if your lymph nodes are chronically swollen, it could be a sign of persistent low-grade inflammation or chronic illness.
10. You Have Excess Belly Fat
Several sources point to the connection between inflammation and obesity and diabetes.
There are several lines of evidence that suggest more body fat equals higher levels of inflammation in the body. How is this possible?
Fat cells are capable of creating chemical signals that lead to elevated levels of inflammation. Studies have found that weight increases are associated with chronic inflammation, and that the relationship is linear.
This means that as a person’s weight increases, so do the levels of C-reactive proteins (inflammatory markers) in their blood.
So, the more belly fat you have, the more of these chemicals you create. Dr. Peter Libby, cardiovascular medicine expert largely agrees with this phenomenon and calls belly fat a “hotbed” of inflammation.
The good news? Shedding just a few pounds can often be enough to ease pain and prevent future inflammation.
How to Naturally Reduce Chronic Inflammation
The good news is, is that if you’re experiencing these symptoms of chronic inflammation, you can reduce them by following my guidelines below.
I go into even more methods of naturally reducing chronic inflammation in my FREE eBook ‘21 Ways to Reduce Chronic Inflammation‘.
In this book, I include a simple step-by-step guide to improve your health and eliminate the pain of inflammation.
The information I present in this book are things I do personally to negate as much of the negative effects of inflammation as possible.
Remember: your body is a temple and a gift given to you by the earth.
Do not wait until the last minute with death knocking at your door to do something about your health and your precious life.
This knowledge, if you apply it, can and will save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run and potentially years of suffering from ill health and the myriad of diseases that are on the rise.
You can grab your free copy by clicking the button below!
With that being said, if I were to round up the top 3 causes of inflammation, and how to reduce it, I would start with diet, stress and toxin exposure.
Usually, my first step for getting rid of inflammation in the body is changing up your diet. The sooner you remove the foods your body views as foreign, the sooner you’ll notice your symptoms slowly disappear with time.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. How do you change up your diet without feeling fully deprived and starving all the time?
The truth is, by swapping out old food choices with healthier ones, you can easily reduce the triggers that set off a negative immune response.
Inflammatory choices that should be avoided include:
🚫 refined white sugar
🚫 processed foods
🚫 vegetable oils and other harmful fats
🚫 wheat products
🚫 non-organic, non-fermented soy
These should be replaced with healthier options like:
✅ natural unrefined sweeteners
✅ healthy fats
✅ fresh fruit and vegetables
✅ plant-based milks (like coconut, almond, and oat milk)
✅ lean protein like legumes and seeds
These foods heal, nourish and keep the levels of inflammatory markers circulating in our blood at a minimum.
This is also the number one reason why I created my recipe eBook ‘Freedom from Inflammation’: to help free you from chronic inflammation and restore your health.
These recipes are all meant to turn down the dial on the number one health problem over 90% of the population deals with: chronic inflammation.
Learning to manage it with the foods we eat is essential for helping cleanse, restore, detox and heal the body.
This eBook is a great place to start if you’re finding yourself dealing with symptoms of chronic inflammation I mention above: fatigue, weight gain, digestive complaints, body pain, headaches, mood disorders, insomnia, frequent infections and more.
Trust me, I also once used to suffer from high levels of chronic inflammation in my body, so I KNOW how down it can make you feel.
But through this process, I have learned SO much, particularly how I got out of the inflammatory rut I dug myself in.
And now I want to share it with all of you!
The recipes are simple, nutritious and delicious.
They’re free from animal products, soy, wheat, refined sugar, and other foods that would otherwise trigger inflammatory cascades in the body.
So if you want to build delicious meals while avoiding common pain triggers, you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of this book!
Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences.
When your body is experiencing stress, your adrenal glands (located on top of your kidneys) release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline, and cortisol.
When you’re constantly feeling stressed, or stressors are always present, cortisol and adrenaline remain chronically elevated.
This is highly disruptive on the body and puts you at an increased risk of many health problems like anxiety, depression, digestive problems, headaches, weight gain, sleep problems, heart disease, and brain fog.
When stress becomes chronic, it can lead to constant tissue breakdown and
impairment of the immune system. This makes the body less able to regulate the inflammatory response, thereby increasing susceptibility to disease .
Although there are situations outside our control, the good thing is that we can use a few simple tools to help manage the impacts of those stressors on our lives.
You could practice deep relaxation techniques like yoga, breathing, meditation or massage. You could take time for hobbies, like reading a book, making art or listen to your favorite music.
Engaging in regular exercise is another option, even if it’s just for 15-30 minutes each day.
Other options include supplementing with nervous system-calming herbs like lemon balm and ashwagandha.
Reducing your dependency on caffeine (like soda, coffee, and/or black tea) is also recommended if you want to reduce the stress response on the body. Opt for alternatives like roasted chicory root or roasted dandelion root tea (both taste similar to coffee but without the caffeine).
3. Toxin Exposure
A toxin is something that can be harmful to your body and one of these impacts can be increased inflammation.
We come into contact with toxins by breathing them in (air pollution), eating them (pesticides and herbicides), or having them touch our skin.
Your body eliminates toxins through your detox organs like the liver, kidneys, digestive system, skin, and lungs. Unfortunately, if these organs aren’t healthy enough to do their job properly, they will have trouble eliminating toxic waste.
Reducing toxin exposure gives our detox organs a much-needed break. As a result, it gives the body a chance to start clearing out toxins that have accumulated at the cellular level to help avoid long-term damage. It also eases stress on the immune system, which might constantly be on guard to protect our delicate organs and cells from the threat of toxic particles.
While some toxins are environmental, we can reduce our exposure and our contribution to the overall emissions of toxins by making some simple lifestyle shifts.
The first step would be getting rid of products in your home that contain synthetic fragrance and other harsh chemical ingredients. This includes things like air fresheners, dryer sheets, scented candles, laundry detergent, dish soap, perfume, and more.
Remember, there are always natural alternatives to these products. Instead of air fresheners, diffuse essential oils. Instead of dryer sheets, invest in some anti-static fragrance-free cloth dryer sheets. Instead of laundry detergent, use soap nuts. There are great alternatives everywhere. I mention more of them in my article on how to detox your home.
Switching to non-toxic cleaning products is another suggestion I have for anyone dealing with chronic inflammation. Plain vinegar and water is a great alternative for a cleaner. The combination of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide (in their own bottles, sprayed one after the other) is a wonderful and proven alternative to bleach.
Another thing you can do is choose glass storage containers over plastic, especially when reheating food.
Also, steering clear of conventional produce, especially those on the “Dirty Dozen” list is essential when wanting to reduce the toxic load in the body. Always eat organic when possible, and choose filtered water or spring water over tap water.
The Bottom Line
Chronic inflammation increases your risk of several serious diseases. And while many individuals choose to opt for anti-inflammatory pain meds to conceal their pain issues, this is only covering up a much larger issue at hand.
By recognizing the symptoms of chronic inflammation, you can take the necessary steps to help heal it through modifying your diet, stress levels and exposure to household chemicals.
Learning how to naturally reduce chronic inflammation is the perfect prescription for a more vibrant, healthier lifestyle. Applying the steps might take some getting used to, but in the end, you’ll feel more empowered and in charge of your health.
You got this!