Inflammation: How to prevent it from the inside out

Inflammation: How to prevent it from the inside out

Author -  Good Health

First of all, let’s talk about what inflammation actually is…

Inflammation is part of the natural healing process – when you tear a muscle or catch a cold, your immune system kicks into gear, sending your white blood cells to fight off infection, bacteria and viruses. In recent years it has been found that some foods can trigger an inflammatory response where the immune system starts attacking healthy tissues. Inflammation can occur anywhere in the body and is not just isolated to joint and muscle pain. Other inflammatory symptoms can include digestion problems, chronic fatigue, headaches, migraines and sinus problems.

Inflammation: How to prevent it from the inside out

So, can following an anti-inflammatory diet help with signs of inflammation?

The short answer? Yes… though we prefer to think of it as a guideline rather than a strict diet plan. The reality is that some foods can cause a chronic state of inflammation due to their acidic nature or pH. Changing the body’s tissues to a more acidic nature actually draws minerals from bones and tissues, particularly calcium, potassium and magnesium in an attempt to buffer the acidic environment and restore the body to its preferred alkaline state. Alkaline bodies feel energetic and free from pain most of the time whilst acidic bodies endure inflammation much more often.

Interestingly, cultures that have a diet of fresh vegetables, fish, nuts and grains have very few arthritis sufferers. On the flip side, in countries where processed foods are plentiful and diets consist of high amounts of sugar, meat, dairy, refined carbs and saturated fats, inflammation is very common. The Mediterranean diet follows this rationale, consisting of a high intake of antioxidants (berries, broccoli, carrots and spinach), monounsaturated fats (extra virgin olive oil and avocado), and omega 3 fatty acids (fish, flax seeds and walnuts).

Inflammation: How to prevent it from the inside out

Anti-inflammatory Guideline:

To restore and maintain your body’s pH balance, it’s recommended that you eat a diet containing 60 to 80 percent of alkalising foods. Below is a list of some foods that really help to create an alkaline environment for your tissues, joints and blood. 

Anti-Inflammatory (Alkaline) Foods: 

  • Leafy greens
  • Vegetables
  • Beans and legumes (soaked)
  • Plant-based protein powders
  • Superfoods
  • Green powders (kale, barley grass, wheat grass, chlorella, spirulina)
  • Raw nut butters
  • Seaweed 
  • Herbal teas
  • Raw apple cider vinegar (with the mother tincture) 
  • Fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir)
  • Water
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Sprouts
  • Lemons and limes (while they seem acidic, once they are metabolised in the body, they have an alkalising effect)

Inflammation: How to prevent it from the inside out

On the other side of the pH scale is the list below. These are foods that can increase the body’s inflammation because they are acidic in nature; therefore they cause the body to become more acidic too. With that said, the key to health is balance so when you do eat something from the acidic list, try to offset it by eating something from the alkaline list. Everyone is different, so monitor how these acidic foods make you feel after eating them. If you start feeling achy, tired, moody or you experience cravings – then it might be worth cutting them out completely. 

Inflammatory (Acidic) Foods: 

  • Refined carbohydrates – white bread, pasta, rice, sugar
  • Red and processed meats
  • Omega 6 vegetable oils – canola oil, sunflower oil
  • Nightshade vegetables – potatoes, tomatoes, capsicum
  • Caffeine – energy drinks, fizzy drinks, coffee, tea
  • Dairy products (in excess)
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Gluten and wheat (with the exception of sprouts and wheat grass)
  • Excessive amounts of fruit (due to the sugar content – it’s recommended that we only eat two pieces of fruit per day)
  • Bad fats – saturated, trans fatty acids, hydrogenated
  • Peanuts and cashews
  • Alcohol
  • Refined grains
  • Processed soy
  • Fried food 

Inflammation: How to prevent it from the inside out

The effects of inflammation are never fun, so protect yourself where you can. By exercising a little more, awareness around what you eat and what kind of environment you’re creating inside your body, you can put up some pretty solid barriers against muscle pain, joint pain, headaches, chronic fatigue and a range of other unpleasant ailments.

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