What is inflammation? Is it bad for you? How can you stop inflammation? See more at my "What Is" series on Chop Chop Chew.

What is Inflammation?

I feel like every time I log into Pinterest, there’s something on the homepage like “Foods to Fight Inflammation,” or “Ways to Heal Gut Inflammation,” (as a side note, the word “gut” tends to really gross me out). What is inflammation, exactly?

Your body’s response to its environment

Think of inflammation as swelling. As Paleo Leap puts it, it’s “your immune system essentially rushing help to the area to fight any viruses or bacteria.” Your body can have this swelling reaction to anything from allergies to food to just plain stress.

Is inflammation bad for you?

Yes and no. Inflammation is what helps your body heal itself of colds, cuts, and infections. But if your body is putting out more inflammation than it needs, it can cause symptoms like upset stomach, muscle pain, fatigue, and weight gain. Autoimmune diseases like lupus or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are often associated with increased inflammation.

What do you do with a problem like inflammation?

It depends on the cause. Things like keeping hydrated and taking turmeric tend to help (again, I am not a doctor, but those things help me). Reducing stress and whatever environmental factors are causing inflammation are huge, but there are certain foods that are claimed to intensify immune reactions. Milk, sugar, and wheat top the list.

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