Before my son was diagnosed with autism, I had never heard of chronic low-grade inflammation.
Even in the early days of his diagnosis, I didn’t consider how his diet was contributing to his nonverbal and antisocial behaviors.
I didn’t realize how the food I was offering him was directly contributing to his inability to learn what he needed to thrive in society.
Only when I began researching ways to cure my son’s autism did I uncover the truth about low-grade inflammation and how it was harming not just my son, but countless men, women, and children presenting with a myriad of symptoms.
So many conditions, ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to ADHD, are worsened or entirely caused by chronic inflammation.
So why is it that so few of us have even heard of this condition?
When I first created Amrita bars, I did it with my son’s medical needs in mind. The earliest versions of Amrita bars were a chewy, sensory-friendly snack designed to treat low-grade inflammation.
Over the years, though Amrita has expanded, I’ve continued to design snacks that help people recover from chronic inflammation.
In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about chronic low-grade inflammation, from symptoms of low-grade inflammation to how to treat low-grade inflammation and reclaim your health.
What is Low-Grade Inflammation?
Before discussing chronic low-grade inflammation, let’s first discuss the body’s acute inflammatory response.
When you get hurt or sick, your body releases white blood cells and other chemicals that flood the area as a defense response to keep foreign objects secured from the rest of the body.
In this way, acute inflammation is a good thing. It’s your body’s way of staying healthy and safe.
Inflammation becomes problematic when, instead of being a response to a specific foreign object or a specific infection, it instead becomes your body’s natural state of being.
When your body responds poorly to the foods you consume on a daily basis, for example, it can become chronically inflamed.
In these cases of chronic low-grade inflammation, the inflammation winds up doing more harm to your body than good.
Symptoms of Low-Grade Inflammation
One of the reasons low-grade inflammation is rarely diagnosed is that it can present with an array of symptoms, and is only in recent years being understood as a contributing factor to many chronic conditions.
One reason that low-grade inflammation is so hard to recognize is that it can have different symptoms depending on what part of your body is inflamed.
For example, chronic gut inflammation can present with numerous gastrointestinal symptoms, while chronic inflammation in your joints may lead to body aches and pains.
For that reason, people suffering from chronic low-grade inflammation may experience a few or many of the following symptoms of inflammation:
- Body aches and pains
- Stress and/or anxiety
- Depression, sadness, or apathy
- Gastrointestinal problems like gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Trouble sleeping
One of the major issues with diagnosing and treating low-grade inflammation is that because the symptoms are so varied, the condition often gets disguised by another underlying condition.
It’s sometimes hard to tell how many of your symptoms are due to inflammation versus another medical condition.
Some medical conditions that are frequently misdiagnosed instead of inflammation or that seem worse than they are due to underlying inflammation include:
- Depression and Anxiety
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
How to Treat Low-Grade Inflammation
Doctors will tell you that conditions like autism and ADHD can’t be cured.
However, underlying low-grade inflammation can be cured, and when you consider the numerous symptoms low-grade inflammation can cause or worsen, treating your low-grade inflammation can have life-altering results.
Consider my son, for example. He was diagnosed with autism when he was just two years old. Only after we dealt with his inflammation could he reap the benefits of the other therapies we had him in.
Today, he no longer meets the diagnostic criteria for autism. We’ve been able to mainstream him, and he is thriving both academically and socially.
So how do you treat low-grade inflammation? Changing your diet and adopting a low-inflammation diet is the biggest factor in reducing inflammation.
In addition to dietary changes, certain exercises and lifestyle adaptations can help you reduce inflammation in your body.
What to Eat on a Low Inflammation Diet
The best way to counteract low-inflammation is to change your diet. Chronic inflammation is an allergen-like response to common chemicals, preservatives, and substances found in everyday foods.
Avoiding foods that cause inflammation while eating foods that reduce inflammation can cure your low-grade inflammation even without any other lifestyle changes.
Foods to Avoid on a Low Inflammation Diet
More important than what you should eat on a low-inflammation diet is what you shouldn’t eat. These foods lead to inflammation in your body and should be avoided:
- Meat, especially red meat
- Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese
- Chemicals and preservatives found in boxed foods or fast foods
- Sugary drinks
Foods to Eat on a Low Inflammation Diet
One easy trick when deciding what to eat on a low inflammation diet is to consider how close a food is to its source material.
Whole foods like fruits and vegetables are going to be significantly better for inflammation than heavily processed foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables are going to be better for you than canned fruits and vegetables, for example.
In addition to this trick, there are certain foods proven to be especially good for reducing inflammation. They include:
- Berries, especially blueberries
- Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and arugula
- Beans and lentils
- Spices, especially cinnamon and turmeric
- High Fiber Foods
Exercise and Inflammation
In addition to dietary changes, exercise is one great way to reduce inflammation in your body. However, if you’re struggling with aches and pains in your joints caused by inflammation, exercising may cause increased pain.
That’s why it’s important to focus on low-impact exercise options. These include:
Recovering from Chronic Inflammation
There’s no easy answer to how long it takes your body to recover from chronic inflammation.
Inflammation builds up in your body over time, and it can take just as much time to flush that inflammation out of your system.
The more strict you are about sticking to your low-inflammation diet, the faster you’ll see results and reclaim your life.