“Let Food Be Thy Medicine”: Fighting Inflammation

Last week I got a text message from a friend asking if I took blog-post requests. She told me she’d been struggling with chronic sinusitis and is trying to find more ways to incorporate foods into her diet that might help.

Another excuse to research food and health? Challenge accepted.

I did some reading about chronic sinusitis and discovered what I had already guessed would be the case. Like most diseases (and dis-eases) we experience in our body, it was a result of excessive inflammation. And as Kris Carr taught me, inflammation is a direct result of a diet that is out of pH balance. Put another way, inflammation is a result of a diet that is more acidic than alkaline.

What does that mean exactly? Well, as Kris explains:

“Proper pH varies throughout your body….Your body doesn’t just “find” the balance it works extremely hard to create it. When you make poor lifestyle choices or are burdened by a toxic environment, your body has to work harder to create a peaceful homeostasis.

For good health our bodies need to be slightly alkaline (with a pH of between 7.365 and 7.45).  Sounds simple right?  But this is not mathematical scaled based on arithmetic, pH operates on a logarithmic scale with multiples of 10.  Therefore, it takes ten times the amount of alkalinity to neutralize an acid.” 

And the best way to neutralize acid in the body is through the food we eat. And because it takes so much work, we need to eat a very alkaline diet to achieve good health.

I bet you won’t be shocked to find out what foods are health-promoting and which ones aren’t. Take a look at this chart:

acid-alkaline[source]

As you can see, this chart shows that a diet that is comprised mostly of fruits and vegetables creates the best foundation for an alkaline composition.

Here are some staples that you can easily add to your diet that are especially beneficial for anti-inflammation purposes. (An Alkaline Trio, if you will. tee-hee):

Turmeric: This potent medicinal spice is well-known for it’s brilliant yellow color, and for it’s anti-inflammatory benefits, which has been proven in studies of people with arthritis.

Ginger: Studies have also shown that people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly.

Lemon: More studies reveal that lemon produces a decrease in symptoms related to inflammation.

In fact, why not just combine all of those into a healing elixir, just as Kibby did here!

photo from the wonderful Kibby

photo from the wonderful Kibby

Transforming your diet into one that is more alkaline means creating new habits. For me, my life changed when I did my first cleanse through the CLEAN program. Practicing Dr. Junger’s elimination diet enabled me to change my pallet, and I started to crave alkaline foods. Now that my diet is comprised almost exclusively of alkaline foods, my body is much more aware when I eat acidic foods, and therefore I am not able to consume as much of that food without getting sick. And because of that, I almost never eat it. And when I do eat it, my body forces me to moderate because it just can’t handle too much of it.  I don’t even have to think about it, because my body does the work for me. Good work, body!

Here are some alkaline-friendly habits that have worked amazingly for me:

Warm water with lemon: If you don’t have time to make the aforementioned elixir, drink this simple combo every morning upon waking. Enjoy the alkaline benefits of the lemon and the transformation it’ll give your digestive system.

Green Juice: there are a gazillion bloggers that have written about the benefits of juicing, so you don’t have to take my word for it. Getting a full dose of spinach in my bloodstream every morning has been life changing!

Green Smoothies: Next best thing to juice. And, actually, if you’re concerned that you’re a little low on your fiber-intake, they are better than juices. Anything to start the day off with greens!

Snacking on raw fruits and veggies: I’m proud to say I’ve weened myself off of protein-type bars for snacks, and now rely almost solely on fruits and veggies. They are alkaline and give me so much energy!

Giant Salads: I have a giant salad for dinner almost every night. Eating a ton of greens is so important and creates such a good foundation for awesome health!

Want to mix it up a bit? Here’s a post from the Sprout Dietary Mediator with a really great round-up of anti-inflammatory recipes. (Note: there are a few meat items in here, so please know that I’m not promoting every single one of these).

I hope this helped my friend and I hope it helped anyone else out there that is suffering from pain, discomfort, or disease in their body. Hope your day is alkaline-tastic!

Do you try to adhere to alkaline diet? What is your favorite way to fight inflammation? Anything I left out?

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26 thoughts on ““Let Food Be Thy Medicine”: Fighting Inflammation

  1. Kibby@Kibby's Blended Life says:

    Raechel, another fabulous post and thanks for the link – <3! Very thorough and easy to understand. I eat a high alkaline diet too and yes indeed, isn't the body smart when we put something acidic in that it doesn't like – it will tell me in a heart beat. "No, sister-girl, don't do that again!" :) Listening to all the nuances of our bodies can tell us so much of what is going on if we just listen. So, like you, eat high alkaline, plant based diet, water with lemon juice in the morning, green smoothies, green salads, and MORE water through out the day. Have a grand day! :)

    • raechel says:

      Hi Julia, thanks for commenting. I too was a bit frustrated to find some discrepancies between the charts I looked at. For example, I found one that left off dairy entirely, and someone pointed out that it may have been created by Big Ag. It’s definitely important to assess these things critically to know if the creators may have had ulterior motives. The one thing that might be different about the link you shared is that those are nutritional facts for *roasted* chestnuts. If you buy into any of the raw food philosophy, that could definitely make a difference.

  2. nikki says:

    Super post! Love the “alkaline trio”. The more alkaline foods I eat/drink, the better I feel for sure. I’m going to try that elixir of Kibby’s. It looks healing and delicious. :)

  3. Arv says:

    This is so cool! Thank you for sharing, Raechel! I have a question, though: it seems counter intuitive to me that something like a lemon, which is obviously quite acidic, would be considered alkaline, while milk and cream, which are considered basic, would be in the acid group. What’s the deal with that? I mean I know my body agrees with this logic, based on how it reacts to different food groups, but I’m curious where I might find out more about this?
    Thanks for yet another thoughtful and inspiring post!

    • raechel says:

      Good question, Arv! Kris Carr covers this in her book, but here’s a quick thing I found for your immediate learning pleasure: “Citric Acid is a “weak” acid, meaning once it’s done it’s job in providing energy in metabolism it’s eliminated easily via sweat and respiration. It is alkaline forming in that it stimulates the formation of calcium carbonate in the body. Calcium carbonate then neutralizes the “Strong” acids in the body, acids that can only be gotten rid of through urination, including uric acid which is the end result of protein metabolism.” (phbalance.wikispaces.com/Lemons+Alkaline%3F). I know these sources aren’t all peer-reviewed, so like all info from blogs, take it with a grain of salt. : )

  4. Lou says:

    That chart is very helpful – I’m relieved to read I’m eating a pretty low acid diet, high in alkaline foods :) I love the way you have explained this so clearly (I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed!) – I’ve been told to avoid ginger at the moment (boo!) as apparently (however healing) it’s a very stimulating medicine (yes, a medicine!) and due to my healing process at the moment, it’s too powerful for my body to handle (!) I love food and it’s power, don’t you!?

  5. Gabby @ the veggie nook says:

    Thanks for sharing this Raechel! I am always so surprised when I read charts like this, since sometimes healthy foods are actually acidifying! Just goes to show you that moderation in ALL things is necessary sometimes and that variety is key!

  6. Pingback: What is “vagal tone” and why does it matter? | Exopermaculture
  7. Brandy says:

    I see you have blackberries on the acidic side… I have read that they are the least acidic fruit from other web sources? I am trying to find balance and love berries so I am just learning.

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