Chronic inflammation may last for weeks, months, or years — and may lead to various health problems. That said, there are many things you can do to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health. As part of the inflammatory response, your body increases its production of white blood cells, immune cells, and substances called cytokines that help fight infection. On the other hand, chronic long-term inflammation often occurs inside your body without any noticeable symptoms. This type of inflammation can drive illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease, and cancer 1, 2, 3, 4. Chronic inflammation can also happen when people are obese or under stress 5, 6. Inflammation is a protective mechanism that allows your body to defend itself against infection, illness, or injury.
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. On one hand, it helps your body defend itself from infection and injury. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and disease 1. Although dozens of varieties exist, some of the most common include. Berries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins. These compounds have anti-inflammatory effects that may reduce your risk of disease 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Your body produces natural killer cells NK cells, which help keep your immune system functioning properly. In one study in men, those who consumed blueberries every day produced significantly more NK cells than those who did not 5.
Inflammation helps the body fight illness and can protect it from harm. In most cases, it is a necessary part of the healing process. However, some people have a medical condition in which the immune system does not work as it should. This malfunction can lead to persistent or recurrent low level inflammation. Chronic inflammation occurs with various diseases, such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma. There is evidence that dietary choices may help manage the symptoms. An anti-inflammatory diet favors fruits and vegetables, foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, lean protein, healthful fats, and spices. It discourages or limits the consumption of processed foods, red meats, and alcohol.