Inflammation is complicated, and the triggers for it differ for every person. Research on inflammation is ever-evolving and complex — diet is just one of many triggers that could cause it. Sleep, for instance, can play a role, as can stress, physical activity or other aspects of your health. Certain foods and dietary patterns have also been linked to inflammation.

Before we get into all that, it’s first important to understand what inflammation even is. Here’s some background on it, as well as some foods that might make it worse.