We heard the word, we know it’s not a good thing but can inflammation cause weight gain? And what does it really mean?

Short-term (good) inflammation is an incredibly important process of body’s natural defense activity. It’s responsible for fighting off infections, healing wounds and recovering from injuries. But, the long-term (bad) process sets our immune system in overdrive. The so-called “slow burning” problem has damaging consequences.

Outcomes of chronic inflammation

We can live years and not know about harmful activities going inside our body. But, when toxins build up, it’s a matter of time before our own immune system becomes damaging. Hence, cells that are supposed to protect us begin to destroy healthy arteries, organs and joints. This long-term action causes serious consequences – lupus, fibromyalgia, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. That’s not everything:

 Putting on pounds

woman weighting herself

You cut calories, hit the gym and never eat after 7 p.m. But, the scales don't seem to be showing any difference? Your body might be fighting against your high efforts to lose pounds because you consume too many foods that cause internal inflammation and weight gain. These two processes are closely connected, because when immune system is regularly switched on, we become resistant to leptin – the hormone responsible for hunger. The result – a failure to detect satiety followed by weight gain.

Risk factor for heart disease

Our heart sets the rhythm to which our life unfolds, powering us through a long work day. However, the fact that often gets neglected is that we should protect this vital organ before the damage is done. Inflammation contributes to the buildup of fatty deposits in the lining of the heart’s arteries. These deposits can form a clot which blocks an artery and can end up in a heart attack.

Type 2 diabetes

Chronic inflammation and weight gain cause hormonal imbalance and resistance to insulin which pushes us towards developing type 2 diabetes.

Detoxify your body

We certainly can prevent chronic body inflammation and weight gain by changing diet and embracing active lifestyle.

Foods to eliminate:

fast food

  • Refined flour – it’s stripped of slowly digestible fiber and nutrients. These carbs are broken down very quickly which causes a spike in insulin (white bread, flour tortillas, breakfast cereals, crackers, pizza, bagels).
  • Dairy products – besides being a common allergen, full-fat dairy products decrease levels of good gut bacteria.
  • Trans fat foods – our body doesn’t recognize hydrogenated oils and can’t break them down. The immune system sees them as foreign objects or as a threat which results in inflammation.
  • Omega-6 oil – we do need omega oils because our body doesn’t produce them – but keep the intake of Omega-6 on the low (corn, sunflower seeds, soy, canola, peanuts).
  • Artificial sweeteners – alter our gut microbiome and enhance the risk of glucose intolerance. Both natural and artificial sweeteners make your blood sugar spike which causes increased production of insulin and results in inflammation.
  • Alcohol – while some researchers claim that red wine and beer can lower C-reactive protein (that causes inflammatory process), others insist on the opposite concept. Actually, both theories have merit. Limit your consumption to less than one drink a day. It can’t be stressed enough – everything is good in moderation. So, next time say "pinot-no-no" to that refill!


Modern lifestyle can be described with one word – STRESS. Our days are filled with long work hours, nerve-wracking conditions and lack of adequate sleep – all make immune system work over-time as well. Yes, we often don’t have enough hours in a day to complete all tasks. So, what do we do? Right, reduce sleep hours and work even harder. Sleep is time when our body recharges, regenerates, regulates hormones. Better cut on screen-time – watch less TV, put away your phone and get an extra hour or two of indispensable rest.


There’s a reason why you keep hearing that water is good for you. Yes, staying hydrated is important. Plus, it helps to flush toxins from the body, decreases bloating and prevents colon diseases.

Diet can counteract chronic inflammation

  • More Omega-3 - These fatty acids protect body from the harmful processes. Include in your diet salmon and tuna, tofu, walnuts, soy beans and flax seeds. Omega-3 can help decrease your levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

omega3 acids

  • Fruits and vegetables – especially leafy greens have high levels of antioxidants.
  • Add blueberries to your breakfast or snack time. They are rich in bioflavonoids – antioxidants responsible for reducing free radicals.
  • Build meals around lean proteins and whole grains.
  • Cinnamon and turmeric – miracle workers – suppress an immune-regulating protein that triggers inflammation.

Chaga mushroom

Honestly, it surprises me that gastroenterologists and oncologists never mention this phenomenal natural medicine.

Chaga – a fungus that mainly grows on birch trees – is “The Diamond of the Forest”. This pure gift of nature is widely spread in the northeast states, including Minnesota and Michigan and is easy to find online or in your local co-op store. Chaga is proven to carry a plethora of fundamental qualities:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Improves skin repair
  • A free radical hunter – anti-cancer
  • Contains 7 different antioxidants
  • Supports healthy blood pressure
  • Source of vitamin K, riboflavin and niacin
  • Supports digestion and healthy gut

Some people drink it as tea, others add powder to smoothies. Chaga’s powerful health benefits come from absorbing nutrients from birch trees. This is why this mushroom is so potent.

birch forest

It’s never just physical!

While physical maintenance is the key to a healthy body, we need to address mental fitness too. Constant worrying and repetitive negative thoughts, depression and anxiety lead to elevated cortisol levels which increase susceptibility to viruses and bacteria. Elevated cortisol also leads to long-term fat storage and water-weight gain.

“Fight or flight” reaction, also known as stress, is the body’s response to dangerous situations –  causes internal inflammation and weight gain. Deep belly breathing, meditation, yoga, aroma therapy – all excellent choices that will lead towards healthier mind. Stop dwelling on past mistakes and let go of what could have been. Let go of the past that makes you feel depressed. Studies prove – depression and anxiety often cause obesity. Extra pounds are regularly the result of coping mechanism – we turn to comfort food to deal with stress and negative emotions.

There’s cause-and-effect relationship between inflammation and weight gain. Don’t wait until it hits you hard and think that you are in power to prevent dangerous outcomes. Exercise more, eat right and listen to your body. By preventing chronic harmful activity, you are at much lower risk of gaining pounds.

Written by Dasha Yarmolenka
Dasha is a freelance writer and a proud University graduate from Midwest. She is an outdoor lover who embraces mindfulness to find calm in the chaos. Dasha...
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