Can Chronic Inflammation Cause Weight Gain?
Inflammation is something of a buzz word, so you’ve probably heard it thousands of times—but what does it really mean? And can it make an impact on your weight? Here’s what you need to know.
In general, inflammation happens when part of your body’s immune system becomes activated in response to an injury, foreign invader (like a bacteria or virus), or due to some sort of biochemical imbalance (like high levels of prostaglandins).
This tends to happen in reaction to an injury, infection, or other ailment. When the inflammation is in response to a localized and immediate injury or issue, it’s part of your body’s healing process. It’s helping you to speed up your path back to health.
What is Chronic Inflammation?
Things get a bit more confusing when we consider that inflammation can fit into two separate categories. Acute inflammation is the kind that appears after a physical injury, a localized ailment, or a specific illness. Acute inflammation lasts for a short period of time while helping you heal.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is known for being a cause of strife. This longer-term form of inflammation can appear as a result of autoimmune issues, asthma, IBS, or allergies, among other health issues.
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Chronic inflammation can also be caused by lifestyle issues like an unhealthy diet, smoking, chronic stress, and insufficient exercise. While chronic inflammation can help make you aware of a medical condition you may not know you have, it also has many downsides.
Researchers have linked chronic inflammation to heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, and other health issues.
How Inflammation Is Linked to Weight
It’s commonly thought that excess weight can cause inflammation. Studies have found that following an increase in weight, patients often experienced an increase in inflammation as well. Studies have also found that following diet changes and weight loss, inflammation levels have decreased in some formerly overweight patients.
What baffles many of us, however, is whether this phenomenon also works in reverse. Can inflammation cause weight gain? The short answer is yes, most likely.
For example, when you eat foods that your system doesn’t agree with, you are likely to experience inflammation. One aspect of inflammation is swelling and the retention of fluids, which adds excess weight to your frame.
Sometimes, even foods that are thought of as healthy can cause inflammation. This is because everyone’s body is different, and some of us react differently to certain food ingredients. This is why it’s so important to take note of signals from your body.
If you feel bloated, foggy, or uncomfortable after a meal, it’s very possible that something you ate simply isn’t a good fit for your body chemistry, even if it’s considered to be a healthy food.
How to Reduce Inflammation
You can reduce your risk of inflammation-related weight gain by reducing inflammation in general. For many people, this can be done with the help of lifestyle changes, as well as consulting with a doctor.
Eat anti-inflammatory foods
Look for foods rich in antioxidants and healthy fats. Foods like fresh fish, avocados, vegetables, watermelon, spices, and antioxidant-rich berries are often excellent choices.
Stress can lead to inflammation. Habits like regular meditation, developing healthy coping mechanisms, and setting boundaries for your wellbeing are great ways to reduce stress in your life.
Check with your healthcare provider about the ideal amount of exercise for your lifestyle and body type. For many people, thirty minutes of cardio several times per week is a great start.
Get quality sleep
Sleep is one of the best things you can give your body at any stage of life. Regularly sleep leads to better overall health, a stronger immune system, and many other benefits. It can also help to reduce inflammation.
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