Clean Eating

Beat Inflammation, Reset Your Health

Inflammation is a buzzword that’s used by health experts, celebrity doctors and social media influencers, all of whom tout an anti-inflammatory diet as a cure-all. And while we wouldn’t go as far as to call it a panacea, inflammation definitely is a factor that affects a vast number of your body’s systems.

So what exactly is inflammation? It's a natural process that protects your body and allows it to heal. Acute inflammation occurs after an injury, such as when you get a minor cut or sprain your ankle. The area gets red and swollen and typically hurts for a few days at most, but it heals relatively quickly. Chronic inflammation is more subtle but can last weeks, months or years and set you up for health problems including arthritis, insulin resistance, obesity and heart disease.

Lifestyle factors can contribute to chronic inflammation. Poor-quality and inadequate sleep appears to promote increased release of cortisol (the stress hormone), which may increase hunger and lead to cravings for sugary and processed food. Daily stress from work, family, responsibilities, financial burdens and commuting can cause a constant release and high level of cortisol in your blood. High cortisol levels may promote insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes and weight gain.

Chronic inflammation can contribute to other serious health issues such as coronary artery disease and autoimmune disease, and it even impacts the way your immune system reacts to viruses and bacterial infections. When inflammation is kept in check, your body is less likely to overactivate the immune system when a foreign invader attacks, one of the major concerns when someone falls ill with a viral infection such as COVID-19.

One of the most commonly talked-about lifestyle factors that impacts inflammation, though, is food. Fortunately, there’s a good consensus about which foods cause inflammation and which help fight it.

Consuming high amounts of sugar,

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