Which came first: the chicken or the egg? For a long time, research identified chronic inflammation as a symptom of many diseases, but only in the past decade or two has it been linked to the cause of many illnesses. The body’s natural inflammatory process is beneficial because it promotes healing in the case of tissue injury and infections—but when there’s a chronic unresolved issue, it turns destructive.

Chronic inflammation can occur for a number of reasons, including autoimmune conditions, obesity, and unresolved infections. Here’s a closer look at three conditions associated with chronic inflammation, followed by three powerful anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease—a generalized term that encompasses many diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels—is the number one cause of death in the United States, with stroke and heart attacks being two of the most common consequences of long-term cardiovascular disease. The underlying cause of cardiovascular disease can be high blood pressure, an unhealthy cholesterol profile, a high-sugar diet, obesity, chronic stress, smoking—and inflammation.