Weekly Wellness: Foods that fight inflammation

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COLUMBIA - Last week, we talked about inflammation and how it can contribute to weight gain. This week we’re going to talk specifically about foods that can help your body to fight inflammation. When it comes to inflammation in the body, it can manifest in many ways: aches and pains, stiffness, headaches, indigestion, stomachaches, yeast imbalances, viruses, low energy, weight gain. Most of the time, these icky manifestations are due to acidity and inflammation.

To understand how acidity plays a role in producing bodily inflammation, you first have to understand pH (the measure of a solution's acidity or alkalinity). Our bodies need a very specific pH balance to function and maintain homeostasis. Even slight changes to the pH in our body can be very problematic.

Our regular diet tends to include things that are highly acidic: caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, sugars, refined flours, pasteurized dairy, animal proteins, etc. Even natural processes of the body produce acidic byproducts. Oh, and let’s not forget stress, which also contributes to an acidic environment.

But there is hope. Just as some foods contribute in a negative, acidic way, other foods can reduce inflammation and create a healthier body. When reviewing our daily diet, our goal should be to consume 80 percent alkaline foods and 20 percent acidic foods. Not all acidic foods are unhealthy; however, extremely acidic foods should be consumed minimally. Fresh fruits and vegetables that have been lightly seasoned and cooked should be the focus of your diet.

Below is a list of some of the most anti-inflammatory foods that can be added to your grocery list, kitchen and plate:

Leafy Green Vegetables: Leafy greens are full of nutrition, loaded with alkalizing minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. Kale, chard, spinach, lettuces, bok choy, etc, daily.

Turmeric: The main compound responsible for turmeric’s anti-inflammatory benefits, curcumin, has been used to fight simple colds and flus, Alzheimer's disease, liver damage, prevent cancer, and of course relieve inflammation. Put it in your smoothies or make golden milk (find recipes online).

Fish Oils: Rather than eating the actual fish (since some of us don’t care for it), fish oils can be taken as a supplement.

Berries: Berries are lower in sugar than most fruit and contain large quantities in inflammation-reducing antioxidants. Blueberries and dark-colored berries are especially anti-inflammatory.

Walnuts: Walnuts are not only an excellent source of protein, they are also a source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E.

Bone Broth: Bone broth is full of essential nutrients and alkalizing vitamins and minerals (i.e. calcium, magnesium, silicon, phosphorus, collagen, hyaluronic acid, protein, and more). It can reduce inflammation and support your joints, skin, and bones.

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a highly anti-inflammatory fat that is made up of mostly MCFAs (medium-chain fatty acids) which are easier to digest and not readily stored as fat. Coconut oil also contains antimicrobial and antifungal properties from caprylic, lauric, and capric acids, aiding in reducing inflammation, lowering high blood pressure, improving energy, and boosting the immune system.

Figure out how to incorporate some of these items into your daily diet and see how you feel after a few weeks! I’ll bet you notice a difference…