How to Combat Chronic Inflammation

Written by: Ryah Nabielski, MS, RDN

Inflammation is a word you often hear in the health space, whether it’s inflammation in your joints, an anti-inflammatory diet, or the benefits of the latest supplement. But what exactly is inflammation? And why should you care about inflammation in your body? 

Today’s article will answer these questions and more as we dive into this fascinating topic. Keep reading to discover more about:

  • What is inflammation?
  • Acute vs. chronic inflammation 
  • Causes of chronic inflammation 
  • Inflammation and your joints
  • How to reduce chronic inflammation with nutrition and lifestyle tools

Let’s get started! 

What is Inflammation?
Imagine you stepped on a nail. You’ll experience redness, pain, heat, and swelling at the injury site. Acute inflammation is the body’s normal response that helps resolve the damage after an infection or injury. 

Inflammation is a complex immune system process that allows for increased blood flow and immune activation. A critical part of inflammation is its resolution. When the site has healed, inflammatory symptoms (redness, pain, heat, and swelling) normalize, and the body returns to balance. 

In this context, inflammation is a good thing. It’s necessary for healing.  

Chronic Inflammation 
Inflammation becomes unproductive and unhelpful when it becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation refers to inflammation that doesn’t shut off properly. It persists and negatively affects health. 

Chronic inflammation may be apparent and appear as rheumatoid arthritis, gastritis, thyroiditis, or any other condition ending in “itis,” meaning inflammation. 

However, in many cases, chronic inflammation may be silent. You may not experience overt symptoms, but under the surface, the inflammation drives aging and chronic disease. 

Inflammation is a factor in most, if not all, chronic diseases, including: 

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Autoimmune diseases 
  • Cancer

Inflammaging is the term used to describe how inflammation pushes biological aging and triggers chronic disease.

What Causes Chronic Inflammation? 
To recap, acute inflammation is a normal and needed immune process, but chronic inflammation can’t shut off. Some causes and contributors to chronic inflammation include: 

  • Inflammatory diet – Ultra-processed foods, added sugar, and nutrient deficiencies typical of a Western diet contribute to inflammation.
  • Sedentary lifestyle – Sedentary behavior correlates with increased inflammation. 
  • Blood sugar imbalances – Periods of high blood sugar contribute to inflammation, metabolic syndrome, and other metabolic disease.  
  • Infections – Chronic infections lead to unresolved inflammation. Gut infections are a common source. 
  • Environmental toxins – Exposure to environmental toxins such as air pollution, pesticides, heavy metals, and more contribute to inflammation in the body. 
  • Stress – Imbalances in adrenal hormones and a stressed nervous system can play into inflammation. 

Inflammation and Joints
Many people experience joint inflammation because of chronic disease, aging, autoimmunity, and other factors. You probably know someone with rheumatoid arthritis (autoimmune joint inflammation) or osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis where the joints deteriorate, producing friction, pain, and inflammation. 

What different types of joint inflammation have in common is a dysregulated immune system and an inflammatory response that doesn’t shut off. It’s also an example of inflammation that we can feel and often see, altering us of the problem. 

For more on joint health and solutions, read Nutrition for Bone and Joint Health


How to Cool Inflammation 
Whether you are aware of inflammation in your body or not, keeping chronic inflammation at bay is essential to living a long and healthy life. Here are some lifestyle tools to combat the root causes of inflammation: 

  • Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Over time, the American diet has become more processed, sugar-filled, and inflammatory. Reduce inflammation by choosing whole, unprocessed foods, increasing vegetables and other plant foods, and working to meet your daily nutrient needs. The Mediterranean diet is an example of an anti-inflammatory eating plan that encompasses local, seasonal, and organic food. 

Using your eating pattern to balance blood sugar, avoiding food sensitivity triggers, and supporting gut health are other ways to manage inflammation. 

  • Balance your omegas. A modern diet is more inflammatory because it promotes an imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3 fats. Omega-6s tend to be pro-inflammatory, while omega-3s are anti-inflammatory. Each category is critical for health, yet most of us need to reduce the omega-6s while increasing the omega-3s. 

For more on finding your optimal omega balance, read Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fats. Increasing cold water fish in the diet and taking Twenty2 Nutrition Omega 3 Fish Oil are helpful strategies. 

  • Get back to health basics. The latest health hacks are alluring, but you’ll get the most anti-inflammatory benefits when the foundations are in place. Your health foundations include consistently getting enough sleep, managing stress, and moving your body. 

If you need strategies in these areas, read Tips for Better Sleep and Lifestyle Habits for Stress and Anxiety

  • Take care of toxins. With thousands of toxins in the environment, you can’t eliminate them all. Still, you can significantly reduce your exposure by educating yourself and making smart choices about what goes in your home and body. Some simple ways to reduce toxin exposure include:
    • Filter drinking water
    • Filter indoor air or open windows when outdoor air quality is good 
    • Choose organic food as possible 
    • Choose non-toxic cleaning and personal care products
    • Research consumer goods for toxins before purchasing 
    • Choose clean, uncontaminated supplements like those from Twenty2 Nutrition 
  • Amplify your anti-inflammatory lifestyle with herbs and supplements. Many herbs and spices (and their extracts) contain bioactive compounds with anti-inflammatory properties. Some examples are:
    • Ginger
    • Turmeric
    • Garlic
    • Resveratrol 
    • Cinnamon
    • Boswellia 
    • Black pepper
    • Ashwagandha 
    • Beta-glucans

You’ll notice many anti-inflammatory ingredients in Twenty2 Nutrition formulations. For example, Twenty2 Nutrition Joint Pill contains Boswellia, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and black pepper to target inflammation and support joint health. 

Not all inflammation is harmful. If you step on a nail, you want inflammation to show up and help you heal. And you want it to resolve when the crisis is over. We don’t want inflammation that sticks around for months, years, and decades. 

How you live your life dramatically influences the inflammation in your body. The bad news is that the modern lifestyle promotes inflammation. But the good news is you can manage and prevent the chronic inflammation that drives disease by shifting your habits. 

The next time you sit down for a meal, plan a family activity, or go supplement shopping, make an anti-inflammatory choice. Your future body (and joints) will thank you.  



This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider before changing your diet or beginning a new supplement, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, take medication, or have a medical condition. 

Ryah Nabielski, MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian, functional nutritionist, writer, and recipe creator. Ryah helps clients use a natural, food-as-medicine approach to improve fertility, pregnancy, hormone balance, autoimmunity, and discover a healthy relationship with food and body. Learn more about Ryah and her private practice at