A Silent Fire: The Story of Inflammation, Diet, and Disease (Paperback)

A Silent Fire: The Story of Inflammation, Diet, and Disease By Shilpa Ravella Cover Image
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“Fascinating.…[Ravella’s writing] breathes life into biological functions.” —Grace Wade, New Scientist

A riveting investigation of inflammation—the hidden force at the heart of modern disease—and how we can prevent, treat, or even reverse it.

Inflammation is the body’s ancestral response to its greatest threats, the first line of defense it deploys against injury and foreign pathogens. But as the threats we face have evolved, new science is uncovering how inflammation may also turn against us, simmering underneath the surface of leading killers from heart disease and cancer to depression, aging, and mysterious autoimmune conditions.

In A Silent Fire, gastroenterologist Shilpa Ravella investigates hidden inflammation’s emerging role as a common root of modern disease—and how we can control it. We meet the visionary nineteenth-century pathologist who laid the foundation for our modern understanding of inflammation, the eccentric Russian zoologist who discovered one of the cells central to our immune system, and the dedicated researchers advancing the frontiers of medical and nutritional science today. With fascinating case studies, Ravella reveals how we can reform our relationships with food and our microbiomes to benefit our own health and the planet’s.

Synthesizing medical history, cutting-edge research, and innovative clinical practice, Ravella unveils inflammation as one potential basis for a unifying theory of disease. A paradigm-shifting understanding of one of the most mysterious, buzzed-about topics in medicine and nutrition, A Silent Fire shows us how to live not only long but well.

About the Author

Shilpa Ravella is a transplant gastroenterologist with expertise in nutrition and an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. Her writing has appeared in the Atlantic, New York magazine, Slate, Wall Street Journal, and Discover, among other publications.

Praise For…

A fascinating, case-oriented story of inflammation, diet and disease.
— Andrew Robinson - Nature

Compelling, thoughtful and rigorously researched.
— Rhys Blakely - Times

As gripping as a mystery story and as useful as a self-help book.
— Bee Wilson, author of First Bite and The Way We Eat Now

Controlling inflammation is the key to good health, and this beautifully written and researched book is the best way to understand it.
— Tim Spector, author of Food for Life

Shilpa Ravella’s deeply researched, far-ranging book shows us how inflammation links the pathologies of modern life. Even better, it lets us in on a practicing gastroenterologist’s insights on the role of diet and what we can do to stop or even reverse the effects of ‘inflammaging.’ This necessary book has the power to change the way we think and eat.
— Amit Majmudar, MD, author of What He Did in Solitary

Ravella’s fascinating, poetic, exploration of the body, food, and history will sweep you up sentence by sentence. A book that could not only reshape readers’ understanding of their own systems and choices but possibly medicine itself.
— Lauren Sandler, author of This Is All I Got

Inflammation is a double-edged sword that heals and destroys; it has already saved your life, but most likely will contribute to ending it…Shilpa Ravella takes us on a grand tour of the medical science and…the whys and ways of this fundamental process.
— Martin J. Blaser, MD, author of Missing Microbes

A must-read for anyone interested in cutting-edge medicine. It is no exaggeration to say that low-level inflammation may be an insidious factor contributing to numerous diseases of aging, and Shilpa Ravella, a gastroenterologist with a writer’s gift for translating complex science into clean, beautiful prose, is the perfect person to tell this gripping tale.
— Kathleen McAuliffe, author of This Is Your Brain on Parasites

A spellbinding tale taking us from the early Greek physicians to the COVID-19 pandemic.… The insights Shilpa Ravella reveals point to a pathway that can enhance both our personal well-being today and that of the planet we pass on to our grandchildren.
— Walter C. Willett, MD, DrPH, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Critical to our health is understanding how to stave off inflammatory diseases.… Shilpa Ravella makes this complex topic accessible and engaging, winding together a wonderful historical perspective with cutting-edge science.
— Justin Sonnenburg, coauthor of The Good Gut
Product Details
ISBN: 9781324074328
ISBN-10: 1324074329
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: January 2nd, 2024
Pages: 352
Language: English