For the uninitiated, an “anti-inflammatory” diet might sound as if it’s designed only for those with ongoing swelling feet, or perhaps abdominal bloating. But in fact, there is evidence that the increasingly popular eating plan can help reduce problems associated with a number of health problems, from aching joints to diabetes and cardiovascular issues.

How Changing Your Diet Can Help

Researchers believe that some people who are prone to chronic inflammation may be predisposed to a type of cell reaction that signals tissues to swell, when there hasn’t been an actual injury. For those people, certain foods can trigger damaging inflammation.

Among the disorders linked to chronic inflammation are diabetes, asthma, heart disease, Crohn’s disease, swollen gums, arthritis and other joint pain. In layman’s terms, it’s all a matter of where these affected cells are located in each individual, that dictates where chronic inflammation may do the most damage.

In addition, because the anti-inflammatory diet calls for lean proteins, healthy fats and vitamin-rich veggies — while eliminating bad fats and empty calories — many people also lose weight when following the general guidelines.

Is the Anti-Inflammatory Diet Complicated?

In a word — no. If you’ve heard of the Mediterranean diet — or practically any other diet based on lean proteins and plenty of healthy produce — the anti-Inflammatory diet certainly won’t seem foreign to you.

If you want to start with supplements, consider omega-3 fish oil capsules, flaxseed oil, green tea and devil’s claw — after checking with your doctor to ensure they won’t interfere with current medication.

Fish and nuts that are rich in Omega-3 are excellent anti-inflammatory foods, according to the Mayo Clinic. Specifically, include more tuna, salmon, trout, pecans and walnuts into your meal plan.

In terms of produce, look for rainbow” spices, fruits and vegetables known for their intense hues, such as avocados, berries, carrots, kale, turmeric and ginger. These antioxidant-rich plants protect you from the kind of tissue damage that can lead to inflammation.

What to Avoid

In general, foods that you already know you should limited or eliminate from your diet have inflammatory properties — among their other pitfalls. Red meat, sugary snacks and drinks, white bread and fried foods top the list of no-nos once you get serious about the anti-inflammatory diet.