Lots of people are talking about it. It is being blamed for all kinds of physical ailments – even serious ones like diabetes, heart problems, and even cancer. Its more and more common for the mid-life doctor’s appointment to include discussions about weight gain in the mid section accompanied by this strange lurking problem called “Chronic Inflammation.” What’s going on exactly?

Science is telling us that the normal and helpful response of the body for inflammation (like in response to an injury) is being put on over-drive. Its as if the body is in constant repair mode, to the point that things are out of control and ultimately unhealthy. Stress and lack of sleep are also compounding the problems.  But, carrying extra weight in the belly seems to be a top indicator of inflammation. Belly fat, or visceral fat, is quite dangerous for your health – so when there is a linkage to another symptom, we want to pay close attention.

Chronic inflammation can be undetected but still doing harm. Chronic inflammation is the body’s response to unwanted substances and it doesn’t turn “on” and “off” – but stays activated for long periods. Excess fat cells in the belly area is an “unwanted substance” for the body. As excess fat cells accumulate, the body responds by producing excess insulin and then its a hormone evil cycle from that point on. The glucose builds up in the blood and the body shifts into overdrive to produce more insulin – then we face issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, leaky gut and cardiovascular issues – and guess what – with these conditions, the body again protects with – you guessed it – MORE INFLAMMATION and more weight gain in the middle!

Losing the belly weight is so important for getting rid of chronic inflammation. Diet and exercise is key and if you have struggled to lose weight by eating the same old American foods (even when you eat less and less of it) then its time to break the cycle. There are actually some foods that bring some healing effect for chronic inflammation. These foods provide a bit of a “counter balance” in fighting inflammation and should be a regular part of healthy diet. Here are a few of the best: Broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, pineapple, apples, walnuts, almonds, dark chocolate, whole grain oats, red peppers, wild Alaska salmon, beets, eggs, plain yogurt, canned white tuna, blueberries, green tea, black beans, and extra virgin olive oil.

And of course, you should know the foods to steer clear of when fighting inflammation, so here goes  – FRIED FOODS, refined carbohydrates and added sugars, artificial sweeteners, processed meats (yes, that’s bacon!), trans fats found in packaged and processed snacks and sweets, and gluten.

Changes take time and many of the foods we enjoy are part of our heritage and culture. But, science teaches us new lessons all the time and we are wise to heed them. My thought is that it’s time for all of us to redefine the ALL AMERICAN diet to one that gets ALL AMERICAN’S HEALTHY! Won’t you try a few of these changes today for a healthier tomorrow?