When we talk about what causes inflammation, we tend to focus on the unhealthy foods that are known to be triggers (and the healthy foods that can help reduce the condition).

Diet, after all, is at the core of chronic inflammation, a process that we now know is the root of most chronic diseases.

RELATED: A Simple Guide to the Science of Inflammation

But what you do and don’t put on your plate each time you sit down for a meal isn’t the only factor that affects inflammation.

These other common habits also contribute to the prevalent issue, so start working on them, now. (One at a time is fine…nobody’s perfect!)

What Causes Inflammation? 3 Triggers to Watch Out For

1. Chronic Stress

Studies have shown that stress (the ongoing, unrelenting kind) compromises the body’s ability to regulate the inflammatory response. This is because the hormone cortisol is involved in the regulation of inflammation, and you probably know it’s also referred to as the “stress hormone,” so when one’s out of whack, so is the other. Stress can also lead to weight gain, and guess what? The second cause of inflammation is…

2. Excess weight

This is a bit of a “which came first?” scenario, since inflammation can also lead to weight gain. But carrying a lot of extra fat can be stressful on the body and potentially lead to more inflammation. Studies have suggested different possible mechanisms: overeating may stimulate an immune response that prompts inflammation, for example, and excess fat tissue can secrete inflammatory compounds.

RELATED: 10 Smart, Healthy Ways to Lose 10 Pounds

3. Drinking Alcohol

Look, we love a margarita on Taco Tuesday, too. But drinking way too much alcohol impairs gut and liver function, which can lead to systemic inflammation. It can also produce toxic byproducts that promote inflammation as it’s broken down in the body. That’s one of many good reasons to simply keep your consumption in check.

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The Nutritious Life Editors are a team of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts who not only subscribe to — and live! — the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, but also have access to some of the savviest thought leaders in the health and wellness space — including our founder and resident dietitian, Keri Glassman. From the hottest trends in wellness to the latest medical science, we stay on top of it all in order to deliver the info YOU need to live your most nutritious life.

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