When you think about inflammation, you might imagine the acute kind that springs up whenever you have an injury or illness, such as a swollen ankle or a stuffy nose. These minor situations are a result of the body healing itself, and aren't cause for concern. But the same can't be said for ongoing or chronic inflammation, which can contribute to certain health problems over time.
"Inflammation is often a root cause of many different illnesses," nutritional psychologist Dr. Margaret Paul, tells Bustle. "When there is too much inflammation, which is a natural way the body’s immune system fights disease, the immune system can become short-circuited and start to attack itself, or can break down in various ways."
There are steps you can take, however, to lower the inflammation in your body, so it doesn't spiral out of control. You can start by adding more fresh and natural foods to your diet, Dr. Paul says, as well as fermented foods to keep your gut full of healthy bacteria — all of which can help lower inflammation.
"Another way is to make sure you get enough sleep and exercise," Dr. Paul says, "and [...] learn to manage your feelings in a way that brings peace rather than stress. Stress is a major factor in creating inflammation." So you'll want to make your mental wellbeing a priority, too, by finding ways to relax and de-stress.
If you have too much inflammation, your body may be more susceptible to the health issues below, according to experts.