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How Obesity Causes Inflammation in the Body & How to Reduce It

We all have immune cells in our bodies that are meant to maintain health. But what if those cells start doing the opposite, leading to disease and inflammation in the body? Let’s look at the connection, why this can happen, and what we can do about it.

The Obesity and Inflammation Connection

Everyone has immune cells in our fat tissues called adipose tissue macrophages, or ATMs.

In lean tissues, these cells maintain health and balance in the body. But in an obese body, the cells can become harmful, causing bad inflammation and insulin resistance.

In a recent study at the University of Virginia Health System, researchers were finally able to explain why these cells can become damaging [1]:

  • Harmful free radicals in our bodies can react with substances called lipids inside fat tissues.
  • This is known as lipid oxidation. And when it happens, the lipids produced an immune response leading to inflammation.
  • Sometimes, these oxidized lipids reprogram immune cells to become abnormally active, spurring bad inflammation in the body.

Researchers found the bad inflammation happened when longer, “full-length” oxidized lipids were present versus shorter ones in healthy tissues. When they compared obese tissue with healthy tissue, they found higher ratios of longer lipids in the obese tissue.

It’s believed these longer lipids are responsible for inflammation that causes diseases connected with obesity, such as diabetes. Plus, research shows long-term inflammation is also a big risk factor for diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome [2].

How to Reduce Inflammation in the Body

Some inflammation in the body is normal, since it’s an immune response and you need healthy immunity to stay healthy.

But we want to reduce the bad, disease-causing inflammation in the body and brain. Here are some natural ways to help reduce it.

Lose Weight Healthfully

Since we know obese tissues tend to contain more inflammation-causing substances—and long-term inflammation is bad for health—weight loss is the most natural, direct way to reduce disease risks and address weight-related health concerns.

(The Keto Zone diet is a fantastic solution for fast weight loss because it’s fat-burning, low-carb, and anti-inflammatory.)

Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Load up on foods that help fight inflammation, including:

  • Leafy greens vegetables like kale, collards, bok choy, and spinach
  • Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, and mackerel
  • Healthy oils like extra virgin or virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and MCT oil
  • Nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, and flax seeds
  • Berries like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries
  • Anti-inflammatory herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, and rosemary

And as much as possible, focus on organic, grass-fed meat and dairy options.

On the flipside, be sure to avoid foods that cause inflammation like sugars, refined grains, processed oils, and packaged foods.

Replace Bad Habits with Good Ones

Smoking, avoiding exercise, and having fast food for dinner are all lifestyle choices that contribute to disease and inflammation in the body. See where you can replace each bad habit with a healthier one, like going for a walk and finding easy keto recipes to make.

Reduce Stress and Stay Connected

Don’t underestimate the detrimental effect of stress on your health! While we can’t avoid stress completely, taking time to unwind and do activities you enjoy can help relieve stress and anxiety.

Also, make time for important relationships to avoid unhealthy levels of loneliness. Stay connected with friends, family, and God to deepen the richness of life. Love, laugh, and spend time with others away from social media.



  1. http://www.pnas.org/content/115/27/E6254
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5507106/

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