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Reversing Inflamm-Aging: Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle Hacks

Aging is an inevitable process that everyone eventually faces. While we cannot halt the progression of time, we can mitigate its effects on our bodies by reducing inflammation. 

Research suggests that inflammation is a strong contributor to many age-related illnesses. Experts have coined the term “inflamm-aging” to describe how chronic inflammation accelerates the aging process, impacting several areas of health ranging from our skin health to our joints, our energy levels, and cognitive function. 

Let’s take a closer look at inflamm-aging to understand its causes and symptoms, and how to manage and treat chronic inflammation to improve longevity.

What Is Inflammation? 

The word inflammation carries negative connotations, but it is important to know that not all inflammation is bad. Some degree of inflammation is not only normal but necessary for maintaining good health. When you are injured or sick, your body’s immune system triggers inflammation that helps fight off germs and speed healing. 

We run into problems when inflammation continues in the absence of infection or injury. Over time, chronic inflammation contributes to the breakdown of healthy cells and tissues. This can lead to accelerated aging and a heightened risk of illness. 

What causes chronic inflammation? 

There are several different factors that can trigger or increase chronic inflammation. Some of the most common include: 


Consuming ultra-processed, sugary foods can directly contribute to inflammatory processes. Studies have found links between frequent consumption of refined foods and sugary drinks to cardiovascular disease and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. Most highly processed foods also contain trans fatty acids, which have been associated with long-term inflammatory conditions such as obesity and diabetes. 

Skimping on whole foods and healthy fats? Turns out that may intensify inflammation in your body. Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants, which have been proven to lower inflammation and combat oxidative stress. Omega 3s found in foods like salmon, walnuts, and flax seeds are also essential for combating inflammation. 


Ever wonder how that extra drink might affect more than just your night out? Studies have found chronic alcohol use to impair gut and liver function, which in turn causes systemic inflammation. Researchers also believe that frequent alcohol consumption disrupts healthy immune function

Sedentary Lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for chronic inflammation. Lack of movement means reduced circulation, metabolic dysfunction, and altered immune responses. Studies have found that people who frequently exercise display lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers. 


Obesity is not just about carrying extra weight– it is a complex disease strongly associated with chronic inflammation. Experts have even noted that obesity may increase the biological age of some tissues and cells, or at least strongly influence the aging process.


While it may seem like stress is all in our heads, it can manifest as inflammation in the body. We all experience stress at times, but being in a constant “fight or flight” state can take a serious toll on your health. Considerable research has shown that psychological stress can increase inflammatory activity and accelerate aging. 

Poor Sleep

Sleep deprivation can also lead to inflammation – scientists have found that lack of sleep has a profound impact on the programming of immune cells and the rate of their production, causing them to lose their protective qualities, making infections and inflammation worse. 

Health Conditions & Hormonal Imbalances

Many autoimmune diseases are accompanied by some degree of inflammation. The symptoms will depend on which autoimmune disease a person has, but common signs include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, joint pain and swelling, skin problems, abdominal pain, digestion problems, and swollen glands.

Inflammation can also be a sign of imbalances in hormones such as estrogen and insulin. The inflammation can be thought of as your body trying to tell you, “Hey, something’s not right here!” Decreased estrogen levels seen in menopause have been associated with osteoporosis and can also contribute to weight gain and extra fat cells. An increase in insulin – a hormone produced by the pancreas in response to food – can lead to insulin resistance, creating oxidative stress and weight gain. 

An imbalance of the hormone cortisol is another risk factor for inflammation. Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone,” and it can amp up inflamm-aging in the body. Persistent inflammation damages cells and tissues, breaking down collagen and elastin, which leads to wrinkles and sagging skin. Elevated cortisol also increases the production of free radicals, causing oxidative stress that harms cells and DNA, further speeding up aging. Additionally, chronic inflammation weakens the immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and diseases, which can age your body faster. 

Symptoms of Inflamm-Aging

Now that we’ve covered several root causes of chronic inflammation, let’s look at some of the ways it presents itself. Normal or “acute” inflammation tends to be easier to spot. For instance, the skin around a wound becomes red or an infected area swells up. With inflamm-aging, symptoms can be much easier to overlook. A few signs to look out for include: 

  • Accelerated skin aging –  including fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of elasticity and firmness. 
  • Joint pain –  which may present as stiffness or reduced mobility and swelling. 
  • Fatigue – you may experience persistent tiredness despite getting adequate rest, or have difficulty performing everyday activities. 
  • Cognitive decline – chronic inflammation increases your risk for neurodegenerative disorders. You may experience difficulty concentrating, and reduced memory. 

Turning Things Around with Dietary Changes 

At all stages of life, the foods you choose to consume can make or break your overall health and impact longevity. Certain foods contain anti-inflammatory compounds like antioxidants and polyphenols which can prevent accelerated aging. I recommend the following: 

  • Fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, such as berries and spinach. 
  • Healthy fats found in foods like olive oil, avocados, and nuts. 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts. 
  • Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats. 

The most research-backed diet for reducing inflammation and reversing premature aging is one that resembles the Mediterranean Diet – packed with healthy fats, proteins, and veggies. Avoiding heavily processed foods, trans fats, excess sugars, and limiting alcohol intake is also vital. 

Lifestyle Changes Needed to Combat Inflamm-Aging

A healthy diet can only go so far at combating inflammation if you are chronically stressed or physically inactive. Regular exercise, stress management, and hormonal balance are crucial ingredients to aging well. Try these easy lifestyle tips:

  • 30 minutes of light to moderate physical activity per day. This can be as simple as walking in nature, or as intense as a strength training session at the gym. The important thing is to keep your body moving!
  • Practice mindfulness techniques and make them a habit. Studies show that individuals who frequently performed yoga or meditation had lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers. 
  • Prioritize sleep and maintain a regular nighttime routine. 
  • Monitor your hormone levels. You may seek medical advice for hormone replacement therapy or natural supplements to balance estrogen or insulin levels – I can help! Managing cortisol through stress-reduction techniques is also recommended. 

Understanding inflammation and its varied causes and symptoms holds great potential for promoting healthy aging. While these tips offer a starting point, consult a trusted natural health practitioner for personalized advice on managing inflamm-aging and promoting optimal health! 


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