More and more information is accumulating that indicates inflammation plays a major role in the development of many diseases from arthritis and Alzheimer's disease to heart disease, psoriasis and even stroke. That is because inflammation represents a very basic response by the body to alterations in the cellular environment, whether the cells line the gums (gingivitis), skin (sunburn), arteries (atherosclerosis) or joints (arthritis). The body's most basic purpose for inflammation is to repair itself, as well as defend against clear and present dangers. While the inflammation associated with arthritis or psoriasis is usually quite obvious, the inflammation of most concern in modern life often goes unnoticed. It is the low-grade, chronic inflammation that triggers hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), Alzheimer's disease and cancer and that threatens most people's real quality of life. Your diet can either promote or prevent inflammation. Through a complicated process your body breaks down foods into in ammatory compounds or anti-inflammatory compounds. Overcooking food or foods cooked at high temperatures (including French fries, blackened and barbecued foods, fried chicken- high heat frying or deep-fried foods) incite the inflammatory response because they create advance glycation end products (AGES). As the body tries to break these AGES apart, immune cells are activated which secrete inflammatory compounds. Depending on where the AGES occur, the result can be arthritis, heart disease, cataracts, memory loss, wrinkled skin or diabetes complications, to name a few. To prevent inflammation, eat at least six servings of vegetables and one serving of fruit every day. These are foods that are the best choices for reducing inflammation. Avoid all foods containing partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated fat, and processed foods of all types. These foods should be labeled "Warning inflammation will occur if you eat this". Using certain spices in cooking will also help reduce inflammation. Turmeric, ginger, and cu y are a few examples of spices that have been shown to reduce the inflammatory response. Omega 3 fatty acids found in cold water fish and flax seeds are very beneficial in reducing the inflammatory response. There are many other wonderful foods that are beneficial in reducing inflammation, but they will not be found in restaurants, or fast food. The first step in reducing pain and arthritis is to prepare food at home from fresh produce, and good quality meats, and proteins.