Your diet plays an important role in your health. The effects of poor dietary habits don’t always take years to appear. Sometimes, you can feel the results within a few hours of eating.

Certain foods prompt your body to release inflammatory messengers, raising levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of many chronic conditions. Fortunately, changing your habits can help. Here are six reasons to try an anti-inflammatory diet.

1. It May Ease Chronic Pain

If you have a chronic pain condition like arthritis, adopting an anti-inflammatory diet could significantly improve your daily comfort levels. Such diets include delicious foods like spinach, blueberries and strawberries, all shown to reduce inflammation levels.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

In one double-blind study, 50 patients with rheumatoid arthritis followed an anti-inflammatory diet for 10 weeks. By the study’s conclusion, those who adhered most closely to the suggested meal plan had fewer tender and swollen joints when compared to the control group.

Endometriosis

Roughly one out of every 10 women suffers from this painful condition, but it often goes untreated despite its prevalence. Unfortunately, it can interfere with fertility. However, research indicates that your body’s inflammatory response plays a role, meaning an anti-inflammatory diet can ease many of your symptoms.

Migraines

Researchers still don’t understand the exact mechanism causing migraines, but they suspect vascular inflammation plays a role. Recent research indicates that adopting an anti-inflammatory diet can reduce migraine frequency.

2. It May Lower Your Heart Disease Risk

Heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of men and women worldwide. Most cardiovascular and stroke events are caused by a buildup of fatty cholesterol plaque.

Your body recognizes plaque as a foreign substance and launches a full-out attack against it, flooding the area with white blood cells and chemicals that cause redness and swelling. This inflammatory response further narrows your blood vessels, decreasing the supply reaching your heart or brain and increasing your risk of a cardiovascular event.

Researchers are currently investigating the role various anti-inflammatory medications may have in preventing heart disease and stroke. However, it wouldn’t hurt to adopt a healthy diet to protect this vital organ. These meal plans are rich in fruits, vegetables and healthy fats, so you’ll benefit your ticker with the nutrients it needs for optimal functioning.

3. It Might Decrease Your Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Type 2 diabetes increases your heart and kidney disease risk. Researchers now implicate various inflammatory response pathways in this disease’s development.

An anti-inflammatory diet slashes your risk of developing this condition. It might even help get you back under control if you’re already venturing into prediabetic territory. That’s because it reduces or eliminates many of the foods implicated in the development of Type 2 diabetes. You should limit the following foods on such a meal plan:

You should replace these substances with more of the following:

These foods have lower calorie counts and won’t spike your blood sugar as ultra-processed meals do. You give your pancreas a break from overproducing insulin, bringing your body back into balance.

4. It May Stave Off Dementia

Dementia robs many older adults of joy in their golden years. Researchers continue to search for the underlying cause, but they implicate inflammation in the disease’s development.

Researchers have drawn associations between dementia and other inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. They’re investigating anti-inflammatories in treating this condition, but you can do your part in avoiding it by improving your diet.

5. It Can Help You Control Your Weight

You can be beautiful at any size. However, carrying too many extra pounds can increase pain, put extra strain on your back and joints, and make your heart work harder to circulate blood.

The goal of an anti-inflammatory diet is pain relief — but you’ll probably shed pounds anyway. Most plant-based, natural foods contain far fewer calories. Furthermore, your body processes them more slowly, preventing blood sugar swings that can leave you famished.

6. It Can Ease Depression Symptoms

Your diet can affect your mind. An anti-inflammatory diet contains high levels of nutrients like zinc, magnesium and selenium, all critical for mental health. Some magnesium-deficient individuals recover better from a supplement than a tricyclic antidepressant.

Additionally, you’ll consume plenty of fresh vegetables rich in antioxidants. Eating plants in various colors ensures your brain has the right blend of phytonutrients to function at its best.

Boost Your Health With an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Scientists implicate inflammation in nearly every health condition plaguing humans. What you eat can increase or decrease redness and swelling.

Consider the six reasons above to try an anti-inflammatory diet. You have nothing to lose but extra weight and oodles to gain in improved health.