Previous research has shown that nutrients and certain food items influence inflammation. However, little is known about the associations between diet, as a whole, and inflammatory markers. In the present study, we examined the ability of a FFQ-derived dietary inflammatory index (DII) to predict inflammation. Data from a Belgian cross-sectional study of 2524 generally healthy subjects (age 35–55 years) were used. The DII is a population-based, literature-derived dietary index that was developed to predict inflammation and inflammation-related chronic diseases. The DII was calculated from FFQ-derived dietary information and tested against inflammatory markers, namely C-reactive protein (CRP), IL-6, homocysteine and fibrinogen. Analyses were performed using multivariable logistic regression, adjusting for energy, age, sex, BMI, smoking status, education level, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, blood pressure, use of oral contraceptives, anti-hypertensive therapy, lipid-lowering drugs and physical activity. Multivariable analyses showed significant positive associations between the DII and the inflammatory markers IL-6 (>1·6 pg/ml) (OR 1·19, 95 % CI 1·04, 1·36) and homocysteine (>15 μmol/l) (OR 1·56, 95 % CI 1·25, 1·94). No significant associations were observed between the DII and the inflammatory markers CRP and fibrinogen. These results reinforce the fact that diet, as a whole, plays an important role in modifying inflammation.