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How Your Diet Can Help Ease Inflammation

Maintain a healthy, balanced diet to reduce pain associated with chronic inflammation.

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Healthcare providers agree that inflammation may be the root of most diseases, including chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory gut disorders, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, obesity and certain cancers. So, what causes inflammation and how can you stop it?

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

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What causes inflammation?

Inflammation is your body's natural response to infection or injury, like a cut that needs to heal but may harbor nasty germs. Minor inflammation like this often leads to redness, warmth, swelling and pain as your immune system goes into action. But sometimes, your immune system can go haywire and attack your own healthy cells by mistake, which can lead to disease and pain.

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How is inflammation treated?

At this point, medicines may help calm symptoms, but what you really want is to prevent inflammation as much as possible. And that may mean considering a few lifestyle changes, including your diet. After all, why not make foods work for you, instead of against you?

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Choosing anti-inflammatory foods

The foods in this diet plan may help you keep inflammation at bay and better manage your health. That's because some foods contain chemicals that hold back inflammation, while other foods may promote it. This plan is not all-inclusive or a one-size-fits-all solution. It's simply a way to start taking advantage of healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.

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Holistic care for inflammation

Eating well is only one part of the big picture. Your healthcare provider’s care is crucial. Follow his or her guidance, especially if you've been diagnosed with a chronic disease. And make sure your doc is on board with this plan before you embark. Be sure you're getting enough rest, managing your stress levels, watching your weight, exercising regularly and avoiding bad habits, including smoking, excess drinking and eating processed foods. All of these lifestyle changes may help keep you on track toward a stronger, healthier you.

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