You’ve probably heard your health-obsessed friends talk about avoiding foods that cause . You may even be well-informed about health conditions linked to inflammation. You might even depend on anti-inflammatory meds to help relieve pain caused by a variety of issues, from menstrual cramps to arthritis.

But what exactly is the deal with inflammation? And what does it do to your body? 

For starters, inflammation is your body’s natural defense against outside threats like , infection, or toxins. When your detects any of these invaders, it fights back by triggering proteins that are meant to protect your cells and tissue. Doesn’t sound like such a bad thing, right? In situations like this, it’s totally not, and can act as a useful line of defense for your body. 

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However, too much of a good thing can be bad. In some cases, the body can go overboard with inflammation, often referred to as chronic inflammation. When this happens, it puts you at risk of a number of health problems such as , , and . But why exactly does the body get overzealous with inflammation? It can be caused by any number of factors, from an autoimmune disorder to diet choices to a bacterial infection. 

Watch this video to learn more how inflammation affects your body.

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