Chef Ellen


The Effects of Chronic vs. Acute Inflammation on Health

Inflammation is a natural and necessary response of the body’s immune system to infection, injury, or irritation; however, these responses should be short-term and brief.Short-term or acute responses to inflammation enhance healing in certain situations. This feedback we receive from our body aims to regenerate and repair, while the chronic intensity of symptoms can be harmful and contribute to various health conditions.


I’ve broached the subject of inflammation many times, but as life has it, we tend to ignore or normalize symptoms, and at times, our aches and pains can get out of hand. Addressing concerns starts with awareness. 


What does lingering inflammation look/feel like? Some of the most common signs of chronic inflammation in the body are:

· Muscle stiffness or discomfort

· Insomnia
· Oxidative stress (frequent infections, memory loss, decreased eyesight, headaches  sensitivity to noise)
· Weight gain/weight loss
· Fatigue
· Acne

· Painful periods


· Eczema, rashes


· Gas/bloating/reflux/GERD


· Swelling/itching


· Food sensitivities


· Constipation/diarrhea


· Anxiety/depression


Over time, immune dysfunction occurs with repeated threats or triggers. Our immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, compromising blood flow, cellular damage, and digestive health. Snowball effects develop because there is no resolution in sight. Therefore, the threat never neutralizes, resulting in a hostile environment.


Addressing the root of chronic inflammation may start with a baseline with your yearly physical. Supportive advanced examinations and digging deeper with functional therapies are methods to consider when specific health markers can provide more insight into underlying causes.


Typical testing: Complete blood counts (CBC) and blood chemistry panels supply necessary information on the components and substances of and in the blood.


Advanced testing: Upgraded testing measures specific panels of inflammatory responses, antibodies often associated with autoimmune disease, and genetic variants correlated to inflammatory conditions. MRI, CT, and PET scans also provide visual inflammation in specific tissues and organs.


Functional testing: This involves digging deeper often with a more holistic approach to treatment by addressing lifestyle factors, diet, stress, and environmental exposure. Underlying imbalances are addressed with a more personalized approach, leading to preventative care that optimizes one’s best health. For example, food sensitivities, gut permeability, and nutritional and hormone testing aid in identifying underlying imbalances.


Resolution looks different for all of us, but persistent inflammation doesn’t have a chance when you advocate for your best health and address lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, regular movement, stress management, and a balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods. Knowing your body and developing solid, sustainable habits builds a foundation equivalent to lifestyle medicine’s benefits. Decoding what is natural and short-term vs. persistent concerns is within your grasp as becoming more in tune is ultimately in your best interest for overall health and well-being.


Please check out one of my newest recipes incorporating delicious, warming and anti inflammatory chai spices. Chai Sweet Potato Blondies! This recipe is a must-try for a satisfying healthier alternative to keep in your rotation.

In good health!


Chronic Inflammation