Inflammation And Chronic Illness: Why Am I Obese?

Inflammation and Chronic illness

Have you ever wondered what connection “Inflammation and Chronic illness” may have with your inability to lose weight? Well! You might be surprised to learn that inflammation is the underline factor of obesity. Inflammation is the cause of major non-communicable chronic diseases including obesity.


What is an inflammation?


Inflammation can be defined as the set of biochemical, physiological, and immunological changes in response to aggressive stimuli to the body. It is a natural response of the body that happens when the body is faced with an infection through infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses or parasites, poison or when there is some injury by heat, radiation, or trauma. In these situations, the body initiates the inflammatory response that aims to eliminate the cause of the injury, eliminate dead cells and damaged tissues, as well as start repairing them.


This response includes the release of antibodies and proteins, as well as increased blood flow to the damaged area. In the case of acute inflammation — like getting a cut on your knee or dealing with a cold — the whole process usually lasts for a few hours or a few days. Inflammation can happen in various parts of the body, such as the ear, intestine, gum, throat, or uterus for example and this can be acute or chronic, depending on how long the symptoms take to appear or the inflammation takes to be cured. In this post I will discuss the connection between inflammation and chronic illness including obesity.


What Is The Difference Between Acute And Chronic Inflammation?

Inflammation and Chronic illness

The difference between acute and chronic inflammation is the intensity of the symptoms felt and the time they take to arise, as well as the time it takes to be healed.


In acute inflammation the typical signs and symptoms of inflammation such as heat, redness, swelling, and pain are present and last a short period. On the other hand, in chronic inflammation the symptoms are not very specific and may take time to manifest itself or heal.


In chronic inflammation, we have a constant state of alertness in our body, the immune cells do not stop working, multiply and produce substances to call other cells, or to destroy the aggressing agent. So our own cells end up harming our body, which can cause us diseases such as:


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Arthritis and other joint diseases
  • Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
  • Active Hepatitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Chronic Peptic Ulcer
  • Cancer
  • Asthma
  • Allergic Rhinitis
  • Sinusitis and Allergies.


The causes and origins of these diseases is multifactorial, involving genetic and environmental factors, in addition to the intestinal microbiota and the immune response of the individual.


The Causes And Risk Factors Of Chronic Inflammation


In order to have an inflammation in an organ (be it a breast that developed a cancer or an artery that clogged and caused a heart attack or a stroke), you had to have before that an increased free radical formation in inflammatory molecules produced within your body, in an activated immune system which comes from activated genes and activated inflammatory enzymes. Chronic inflammation can be triggered by the following causes:


  • Sensitivity: inflammation occurs when the body feels something that should not be there. Hypersensitivity to an external trigger may result in allergy. Every allergy generates inflammation


  • Exposure: sometimes long-term, low-level exposure to an irritant, such as an industrial chemical, can result in chronic inflammation.


  • Autoimmune diseases: the immune system mistakenly attacks normal healthy tissue, such as in psoriasis.


  • Autoinflammatory diseases: a genetic factor affects how the immune system works, as in Bechet’s disease.


The process of inflammation may be activated by factors such as

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Low Sex Hormones
  • stress
  • Sleep Problems
  • Ischemia (or poor oxygenation)
  • Physical Activity
  • Inadequate Intestinal Microbiome (which can be altered by factors such as caesarean delivery, low consumption of fruits of vegetables, excess of refined foods, environmental toxins (i.e. pesticides, toxic metals and pollutants), derivative of a plastic (i.e. bottle, package, cup etc) or what migrates from pot to food. All this alters the intestinal microbiome.


The Relationship Between Chronic Inflammation And Obesity

Inflammation and Chronic illness

Among the chronic non-commutable diseases, obesity is a pathological state resulting from the accumulation of excess body fat, especially in the abdominal region. Obesity is a complex multifactorial chronic condition.


It occurs, in a view, due to the imbalance between energy intake and its expenditure and the excessive consumption of high-fat, sugar-rich and ultra-processed foods associated with sedentary lifestyle, leading the individual to develop excess adipose tissue to the point of negatively impacting their health.


There is an association between inadequate lifestyle and obesity that modifies the physiological response by increasing pro-inflammatory factors (adipocytokines), which are produced by adipocytes and through the destruction of adipose cells, allowing inflammation to become chronic, altering their functioning.


Obesity produces several inflammatory mediators in adipose tissue, implicated in the mechanisms responsible for the development of chronic diseases associated with obesity, including  insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic Hepatic Steatosis and metabolic disease.


The Role Of Functional Nutrition In The Prevention And Control Of Inflammation and Obesity

Inflammation and Chronic illness

Nutrition is an important determinant of human health, providing the essential elements for the growth, development, and maintenance of a healthy status throughout life, being considered the modifiable risk factor of greatest relevance for inflammation and chronic diseases including obesity.


Anti-inflammatory medication such as corticosteroid, medication to lower cholesterol or blood pressure may block inflammation, however they don’t deal with root cause of the inflammation.


Several functional foods contain components/nutrients that can improve the functioning of the organism. The consumption of a healthy diet can reduce the levels of inflammatory markers, favouring the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, contributing to the prevention or control of insulin resistance, dyslipidaemias and other metabolic conditions related to the manifestation of chronic non-communicable diseases.


In addition, fruits and vegetables contain bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, carotenoids, isoflavones, resveratrol, catechins and flavonoids that are beneficial in the treatment of obesity. These compounds should be consumed daily, to meet the needs and have multifactorial action.


List Of Functional Food That Are  Anti-Inflammatory!


The functional foods which can be used as a nutritional strategy for the prevention and treatment of obesity include turmeric, green tea (Camellia sinensis), pomegranate (Punica granatum), oats (avena sativa) and olive oil (Olea europaea).


  • Turmeric contains a polyphenol (curcumin), which has antiangiogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-obesity characteristics. Curcumin is the main bioactive compound of turmeric and presents as an ally to the treatment of various inflammatory diseases.


  • Green tea contains polyphenols, catechins and caffeine, which play an important role in reducing and maintaining adequate weight. This food has anti-inflammatory property and can be used as a strategy to modulate inflammation and oxidative stress.


Among the catechins of the green tea, the epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is considered the most important due to increased oxidation of fatty acids. The consumption of green tea for eight weeks decreases body weight and waist circumference in individuals with obesity and metabolic syndrome.


  • Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) is used to treat infections and has anti-obesity effects due to the varieties of bioactive compounds found. The anti-inflammatory effects of pomegranate and its biologically active compounds reduces oxidative stress by inhibition of NF-Κβ28,29. The bioactive compounds (punicalagin) of pomegranate juice suppressed the activation of NF-kβ30.


  • Oats are a source of soluble dietary fibre (β-glucan) that has anti-obesity effects. Short-chain fatty acids (acetate, propionic and butyric), produced during bacterial fermentation, are substrates for the intestinal microbiota and play an anti-inflammatory role in white adipose tissue, by reducing fat concentration.


  • Olive oil is the oil extracted from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea). The composition of olive oil polyphenol is related to fruit glycosides. The intake of olive oil reduces inflammatory markers by inhibition of NF-kβ35.


Therefore, these properties on olive oil have great influences on the characteristics of anti-inflammatory mediators, reducing levels ofINF-ư,IL-6,TNF-α,COX-2 in plasma, which will have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory functions, improves insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular protection, by antiatherogenic, neuroprotective, and anticancer.


  • Other actions also contribute to the treatment such as a good night’s sleep, reduced alcohol consumption, avoiding drug use, consumption of probiotic, proper water intake and regular physical activity.


Chronic Inflammation And Obesity: Final Thoughts! 

Inflammation and Chronic illness

Chronic inflammation is the main characteristic of obesity, resulting from the release of pro-inflammatory adipokines by adipocytes, which attract macrophages to the affected area, triggering the inflammatory process and oxidative stress. Thus, foods with functional properties that act on the modulation of inflammation and oxidative stress stand out.


The consumption of these foods that present, in their composition, bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, catechins and flavonoids, contributes to homeostasis and the normal functioning of the organism. some foods are important in preventing and in the treatment of obesity as they help to modulate inflammation in obesity.


Above all, remember that there is not a single miracle food, the variety of the diet is the most important. Preferably, consume fresh and organic food. If you must consume processed foods read the label carefully, avoiding foods with higher content of chemical additives.


Knowledge of the functional properties of foods is important to assist in planning strategies for the prevention and treatment of chronic inflammation and obesity. Seek the help of a functional nutrition professional to better lead you in the prevention and treatment of obesityClick here to book a consultation.


I hope you find this post helpful and if you have any question about Inflammation And Chronic Illness: or want to leave your own personal opinion, leave me a comment below. And if you liked what you’ve read, share this post with your friends and family.


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Living life to the fullest means having a great state of wellbeing with a healthy diet as one of the most important pillars. I love functional nutrition and the benefit it brings to our overall health. As Qualified Functional Nutrition Coach, my passion is to inspire and help others to make healthier lifestyle choices. My goal is to teach about the healing power of food and how to use it to obtain optimal health and achieve permanent weight loss.

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