What Is the Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

      Inflammation is a set of symptoms that include pain, swelling, heat, and redness of an affected organ or tissue. It is the natural way the body's immune system responds to attack, infection, or injury. Recently, there has been discussion regarding another form of inflammation that is not aligned with pain and is referred to in the literature as chronic low-grade inflammation or “silent inflammation” (
      • Sears B.
      Anti-inflammatory diets for obesity and diabetes.
      ). The links between diet, inflammatory processes, and diseases are the topics of intense current research. A number of diseases, particularly chronic diseases of later life, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and certain cancers, are thought to be connected to chronic low-grade inflammation. The research to support specific interventions for the different medical conditions regarding inflammation is still lacking. The diet plan or the “perfect diet” for chronic low-grade inflammation is still unclear. In searching library collections using the WorldCat search engine (, nearly 300 books were listed for an anti-inflammatory diet. The eating plans from these books can range from general healthy eating guidelines for optimal health to extreme eating plans. Some of the extreme diets call for the elimination of large groups of foods or nutrients, such as wheat, corn, soy, dairy, eggs, red meat, and certain vegetables that are considered to promote chronic low-grade inflammation or are considered to be pro-inflammatory foods. Extreme eating plans that omit whole food groups are considered questionable by registered dietitians and other health professionals (
      • Lomangino K.
      Anti-inflammatory diets: Science or sales pitch?.
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        • Sears B.
        Anti-inflammatory diets for obesity and diabetes.
        J Am Coll Nutr. 2009; 28: 482S-491S
        • Lomangino K.
        Anti-inflammatory diets: Science or sales pitch?.
        Clin Nutr Insight. 2009; 35: 1-5
        • Palmer S.
        Putting the brakes on inflammation through diet and lifestyle strategies.
        Environmental Nutr. 2009; 32 (6) (Accessed August 27, 2010): 1
      1. Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.
        (Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion Web site) (Accessed August 27, 2010)

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