Inflammation refers to your body’s process of fighting against things that harm it, such as infections, injuries, and toxins, in order to heal itself.
When something damages your cells, your body releases chemicals that trigger a response from your immune system.
The reason to eat a healthy diet and to lead a healthy lifestyle is not only to avoid inflammation in the body but also to fight it swiftly when it occurs.
I very much believe in finding a balance so that you can still enjoy your favourite foods and lead a healthy life. When I work with clients, I don’t want them to feel they are constantly giving up what they love.
The most important thing is to be active, drink lots of water, eat fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, fish and healthy oils.
If your diet is 80% processed foods, alcohol, fizzy drinks and refined carbohydrates and sweets with none of the good foods and activities I mentioned, then you are opening the door for inflammation which can lead to autoimmune diseases, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and even cancer.
For example, if someone suffers from colitis or IBS and has constant inflammation, it can lead to bowel cancer. My husband suffered from bouts of cystitis his entire life and the doctor told him to monitor his PSA levels as he could get prostate cancer, and he was diagnosed with prostate cancer four years ago.
In this blog I am going to talk about how to keep your body alkaline and inflammation free.
An alkaline body
The acid-alkaline balance is important in our bodies. This is because many functions in the body occur only at a certain level of acidity or alkalinity.
Eating a poor diet typically leaves our bodies very acidic and when the body becomes too acidic, it leads to inflammation and an increased risk for other diseases and disorders. Whereas an alkalizing diet helps to balance your pH level, ultimately reducing acidity. When you have a more alkaline environment, your body can function at optimal levels.
Foods to Avoid
There is a lot of information about an alkaline diet and it can be confusing.
It’s important to realise that just because a food is ‘acid forming’ it is not necessarily unhealthy.
For instance, proteins are acid forming, but they are also essential for good health. The problems occur when we eat too much animal protein. So if you eat two meat-based meals daily, reduce it to one. Make the other a fish-based meal, or eat pulses such as soya, aduki, butter beans, haricot beans or chickpeas (also in Hummus).
All animal produce and egg yolks are acid-forming. Duck, venison, grouse and pheasant, lamb, beef and pork are all acid-forming. Fish, turkey and chicken are also acid forming, but do not contain such high levels of uric acid as red meat.
Milk and yoghurt are alkaline before digestion but become acid-forming once digested. This is why milk products are calming to an over-acid oesophagus if you suffer from an acid-type reflux after food. But in the long term this would exacerbate arthritic type conditions. It’s just a case of getting a balance.
All nuts are acid forming except almonds, fresh coconut, and chestnuts.
All grains are also acid forming except for millet, buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa. Whole grains are a healthy food so you don’t want to eliminate them from your diet, you just need to be aware of what acid is forming and limit your intake.
All refined sugars found in cakes, biscuits, pre-packaged desserts, whips and so on are acid forming. Milk chocolate is a truly acid-forming treat, it’s high in oxalic acid which is linked to kidney stones, so, don’t overdo it!
Wine, beer, spirits, coffee, tea, fizzy drinks and sweetened fruit juices are all highly acid forming. As are all drugs, prescription and social, including cannabis.
Cranberries, plums, prunes and rhubarb are highly acid-forming. But these foods are also healthy, in fact prunes (dried plums) are very anti-ageing, so remember, everything in moderation.
Mass-produced malt vinegar, a waste product of the brewing industry, is also acid forming in the body.
Friendly Foods to include
Start your day right! One easy way to balance your pH levels is to drink fresh lemon water. You can drink it daily, first thing in the morning upon awakening. Just squeeze half of a fresh organic lemon into warm water then wait 30 minutes before you eat or drink anything else.
If you have a sweet tooth then good natural honey (not the supermarket kind), organic agave and brown-rice syrup are alkalising. But don’t overdo these foods, they are still sugar! If you eat too much of them, the sugar converts to fat and lives on your hips. Again just find a balance. The plant extract Xylitol is a useful natural alternative to refined sugars.
All vegetables are alkaline but the best are wheat grass, alfalfa, kelp, seaweed, parsley, watercress, cabbage, celery, broccoli, carrots, and endives. All green foods are high in chlorophyll, which is rich in magnesium, a major alkalising mineral.
Cabbage, kale, broccoli, spring greens, green beans and asparagus are all great alkaline foods. Spinach contains oxalic acid, but it breaks down into an alkaline residue.
All fruits are healthy, and you should eat them freely, but be aware that cranberries, plums, prunes and rhubarb are highly acid forming and to a lesser degree so are blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries.
The most alkalising fruits are cantaloupe melons (and all melons), papaya, dates, especially dried dates, mangoes, lemons, limes and figs. In case you are wondering, it’s the alkaline mineral content and not the sugar content that determines whether a food is acid or alkaline forming in the body.
Pineapple, cherries, kiwi and tomatoes contain acids, but they make an alkaline ash within the body after they are digested. If you suffer from indigestion immediately after a meal, and say these types of foods make the problem worse, it’s because they are acidic on contact and until digested. However, they make an alkaline residue once they reach the small intestine.
Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, with a little honey and warm water, helps to re-alkalise the body and reduce symptoms of arthritis and inflammatory conditions. Take 1 tsp of each twice daily.
Use a little organic sea salt, which is rich in alkalising minerals.
Drink more Green and White tea, with a little added Agave Syrup (a natural extract derived from cactus which will not raise blood sugar so is OK for diabetics).
Organic Apple cider vinegar has an alkalising effect within the body. It also helps increase stomach-acid production as it is acidic on contact, but alkalising after digestion. You want to choose one which has ‘with Mother’ on the label as it also has strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria which are all beneficial to the body.
If you are a chocoholic – then ask at your health shop for a raw chocolate bar. Dark pure chocolate is usually sugar free and is not as acid forming.
Remember to stay hydrated! Water flushes toxins and other irritants out of the body. Aim to drink at least 2 litres a day!
Exercising for 20 minutes a day can reduce inflammation. I always start with walking - aim to get in 10,000 steps a day and include some aerobic exercise to get the heart pumping.
Ask at your health shop for powdered organic formulas that contain wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella, alfalfa, broccoli and green foods and take them daily.
Turmeric is a great anti-inflammatory spice, you can add to meals, drinks or take as a supplement.
Magnesium fights inflammation, you can take it as a supplement or as a spray rubbed into your body.
I hope you have found this blog post useful. I have a whole range of blogs on health and lifestyle so if you are looking to improve your weight, energy levels and overall health then have a browse through.
If you really want to improve your health with support and accountability, then I can help then please get in touch and we can talk about the different options.