Inflammation, in and of itself, isn't always a bad thing for your body. It's part of your body's natural reactions to things that help keep you healthy. That being said, like with anything else, too much inflammation might not actually be a very good thing. And there are little habits that can actually cause dangerous inflammation in your body that you might do on a fairly regular basis. Habits can be hard to break, and some of the things that you might think aren't a big deal in the long-run might actually be doing more harm than you may realize.
It's important to know what sorts of things you might be doing that are potentially causing more chronic inflammation in your body, because some of these habits only require slight adjustments or adaptations in order to lessen the potential negative effect. Unlike the inflammation that results when you roll your ankle, which helps your body heal, as a 2010 study published in The FASEB Journal found, chronic inflammation has been associated with a number of serious conditions. However, in an article that he wrote for HuffPost, biologist and author Jeff Schweitzer said that emphasizing generally healthier behaviors is more important than focusing directly on inflammation, but that doing so will have the benefit of decreasing inflammation as well.
Still, knowing what sort of habits might increase increase inflammation in your body is important, as it can help guide you in terms of which habits you may want to reconsider or give you an extra reason to give up things that you already may have had an inkling might not actually in your best interest.
1Sticking With Egg Whites
You may have thought that egg whites were the healthy choice, but if you're consistently tossing away egg yolks, you're missing out on a source of vitamin D, which is a really important nutrient. Science Daily noted that a 2012 study from researchers at National Jewish Health found that, in addition to boosting calcium absorption, vitamin D can also interfere with inflammatory responses. If you're worried that you don't get enough vitamin D, talk to your doctor about how to get more of it in your diet or about whether or not a vitamin D supplement might be appropriate for you.
2Lighting Scented Candles At The End Of The Day
Some products, including some scented candles, release VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, when burned, sprayed, or otherwise used, as the NIH's US National Library of Medicine noted. A recent study published in Environmental Health found that if you're exposed to "higher levels" of VOCs, you might experience some inflammation in your airways. Finding products that you enjoy that don't have that same potential effects might be a better choice.
3Neglecting Your Oral Health
Taking care of your oral health is really important and not just to ensure that you don't have to get painful fillings. Cleveland Clinic noted that research has found that the same bacteria that can cause periodontal disease (or gum disease) can also result in higher amounts of the protein that servers as an inflammation identifier in your blood vessels. However, the clinic also noted that there's some research that doesn't support a link between cardiovascular disease and gum disease. Still, you're likely better off flossing, brushing, and heading to the dentist regularly.
4Not Getting Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep each night is very important, but you may not have realized that not getting enough sleep consistently could increase inflammation. A 2008 study by UCLA researchers found that lack of sleep can also cause increased inflammation in the body, Science Daily noted. Everyone has periods of time where they might not get as much sleep as they should, but doing your best to address any sleep issues and making sure you're getting enough is certainly important.
5Feeling Stressed Or Unhappy About Your Job
Work-related stress can also potentially impact inflammation in your body. A 2005 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found a link between "low job control" and a higher level of a certain inflammation biomarker. Though there might only be so much that you can do about work-related stress, how much you enjoy your job, and how much control and support you have at work, knowing the effects of these things might spur you to make healthier changes in parts of your life over which you may feel you have more control.
6Regularly Indulging In Desserts
You likely already know that sugar isn't a health food, but if you're consistently overdoing it on sugar, that could have some surprising effects on how much inflammation with which you may be dealing. Healthline reported that a number of studies have found associations between diets higher in sugar and refined carbohydrates and more inflammation in the body. Being mindful of how much of these sorts of things you're eating on a regular basis might help keep inflammation lower overall.
7Camping Out In Front Of The TV For Hours After Work
Sitting for long periods of time might not seem like a big deal, but it could actually have real effects on the level of inflammation in your body. Men's Journal reported that those who sit a substantial amount of the day have more inflammation and are less sensitive to insulin. It doesn't mean that you can't sit and rest when you need to, but being aware of how much movement you're getting each day versus how much sitting you're doing might help you minimize sitting's detrimental effects.
Inflammation serves an important purpose in your body, but too much chronic inflammation has been associated with some serious chronic conditions. Working to develop healthier habits can help you be healthier in general, but it also just might keep potentially harmful inflammation in check.