Inflammation is generally viewed as an enemy of the body but believe it or not, inflammation is the body’s way of protecting itself. When you fall and sprain your ankle or hit your knee on the side of the table, white blood cells are sent to the affected area to protect it while it heals. However, infections and a diet heavy in inflammatory foods can cause inflammation to become a chronic problem, leading to all types of discomfort and even dysfunction. You can reduce inflammation in your body by eating healthy through an anti-inflammatory meal delivery service, or even by consulting a physician about your health needs. Either way, it is important to know the signs of inflammation in your body so they can be addressed as soon as possible; prolonged inflammation can lead to issues like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more. Here are some things to look out for when assessing inflammation.
1. Poor Digestion
One of the telltale signs of inflammation is a decline in gut health. There is a reason dairy makes some people constipated or why eating a heavy meal might give you stomach cramps. Because the digestive system deals with the foods we consume firsthand, it often reveals the first signs of inflammation, showing up as either acute or chronic problems with bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Other foods with inflammatory indicators like breads, potatoes, and fried foods are known to irritate the system and fuel a number of digestive issues. Even certain drinks can cause problems in the gut: sodas, carbonated beverages, and sugary drinks to name a few.
2. Lack of Energy
It’s common to be tired after a long day or a good workout, but being tired all day can be a sign of overall depleted energy. Even with adequate rest, some people still experience continuous fatigue from day until night. This could be a sign of inflammation in the body. It takes additional energy for the body to constantly remain in a protective state, so experiencing chronic inflammation can leave you feeling tired and groggy. Not far behind this comes brain fog, making it difficult to function normally during your day-to-day. If you just can’t seem to think straight or keep nodding off no matter how early you get to bed, inflammation may be the cause.
Acne famously shows up during puberty due to oily skin produced by hormones. After puberty, however, acne is known to appear after eating junk food or drinking sugary drinks. But why? The answer: inflammation. Sugars and fats cause an inflammatory response once they are broken down in the body. Break-outs themselves are the visible manifestation of inflamed skin cells that become red and irritated. Managing your diet to reduce overall inflammation is crucial, but chronic inflammation can cause skin problems that require more attention. For heavy acne that won’t budge even with a steady skincare routine and balanced diet, chronic inflammation is usually the culprit.
4. Water Retention
Inflammation can cause certain parts of the body to retain water, most commonly the ankles, legs, and hands. Some people even hold onto water around their midsection. The lymphatic system is in charge of making sure this doesn’t happen by assisting the immune system with fighting against disease and infection. However, when the system is not able to function properly due to things like inflammation or blockages, fluid builds up around the area in the muscles and tissues. Swelling is expected with things like sitting for long periods of time or spraining a bone. However, if you are experiencing water retention in your body for a prolonged period, look to inflammation as a possible root problem.
5. Joint and Body Pain
Many people with arthritis know the role inflammation plays all too well. Inflammation in the joints cause swelling as well as overall pain and discomfort in the area. Sometimes caused by the onset of autoimmune diseases and chronic conditions, inflammation can affect your ability to live comfortably in your own body. Even if inflammation is only impacting one area, the entire body can still become sore and depleted of energy from constantly fighting the inflammation itself. Combating this inflammation with diet and the guidance of a physician is a great approach to addressing sore joints and body.
Inflammation isn’t always a bad thing, but when it gets out of control it can be a real drag. When it stays for too long, it could cause real disorder and disarray. If you notice that you are experiencing any of these—whether you always seem to be bloated or your body constantly aches—it’s time to make a change. That change could be somewhere in your diet, or it might even be at your doctor’s office. Either way, make the change that’s best for you and your health.