Inflammation inside the body occurs when your immune system leaps into action to heal an infection or injury by sending in an army of white blood cells. If you have a cut, the area around it may turn red or swell as this healing process occurs. But once the problem is under control, inflammation recedes, and your body returns to normal.
Chronic inflammation is not so helpful to your body. If you are under chronic stress, are obese, or have an autoimmune disorder, inflammation doesn’t go away. It persists, damaging the body and potentially leading to problems such as arthritis, heart disease, or cancer.
Eating the right diet may help to switch off this inflammatory process, protecting your body from harm. There are still many unknowns about how the food you eat relates to the levels of inflammation in your body. But evidence of a potential benefit is growing.
“When researchers first started looking at diets that produced anti-inflammatory effects, they were interested in whether they could reduce heart disease and cancer. But over the years, other benefits have emerged,” says McCormick. This includes the protection that these diets may afford the joints.