June 13, 2018

Calling all athletes, weekend warriors and humans! It's time to address one of the major and oft hidden health issues plaguing so many of us: Inflammation. As you read on, you'll discover tips to address inflammation and how to fight it. Remember, this is an overview of a large and diverse issue. There is no one size fits all here… so see what resonates for you and your body. Proper nutrition, fitness, breath work, and reducing stress will help jump start your spring/summer season and shakeup your overall health!  


So, where do we begin? 


The Importance of PH Balance – An Alkaline Body!  


Even the smallest changes in your routine can have a big impact on your health. The place I like to start is to alkaline the body.  

What does this mean? Alkaline represents the pH levels of our blood. Low-grade pH imbalances can be a result of the standard American diet, which is often high in refined carbohydrates and meat. Think “comfort foods” which are often heavy and acidic and leave the body more vulnerable to disease and colds. The key is balance! Keep in mind, everyone and every BODY is different. Finding out what works best for you and getting in touch with your mind and body and inner sense of HEALTH is the key.  


I find one quick and easy way towards an alkaline body is to start consuming lemon water. Start with one fresh squeezed lemon in 10-12 oz of water 2X per day and then once a day will make a big difference. Lemon water flushes out the toxins in your body by enhancing enzyme function, stimulating your liver and alkalizing your body.   

Further, Individuals presenting with a disease state, inflammatory condition, or skin issues, will greatly benefit from this one addition into their daily routine. Lemon water decreases the acidity in your body, which is how disease states occur. It also removes uric acid in your joints. This is one of the leading causes of inflammation.  


Lemon Water:  This one easy tip also helps hydrate the body for those of you who “forget” to drink enough water every day… bonus!   



Inflammation Fighting Foods  

The Good News is:  the most powerful tools to combat inflammation do not have to come from the pharmacy! Think grocery store, farmers market, or your own back yard garden. Yes - real food! We need to be aware of our choices – not be, obsessive or even restrictive - just aware. Then you can pull from your “tool box” when it feels right for YOU.   

Not surprisingly, the same foods that contribute to inflammation are generally considered bad for our health. Of course, this includes the obvious like sodas and refined carbohydrates, as well as processed meats.   


When consumed in greater quantity, or without the balance of proper nutrients, “unhealthy foods” also can contribute to weight gain which is in itself a risk factor for inflammation. In addition to lowering inflammation, a more natural, less processed diet can have noticeable effects on your physical and emotional health as well. And, although the goal is to optimize health, many people find they also lose weight or are able to maintain weight as they age by following an anti-inflammatory eating pattern.  

While it’s helpful to know what foods to avoid, it can quickly lead to feelings of restriction or deprivation ... not a sustainable way to live in my opinion. So, let’s focus on big impact foods that are easy to find and ADD to your diet!  


If you are trying to reduce inflammation in your body, incorporating these foods into your day can be powerful:  


  • Leafy Greens: Greens like kale and spinach are both high in vitamin K, A, C, calcium and manganese. Kale is high in flavonoids which provide ample antioxidant benefits, namely anti-inflammatory and possibly even anti-cancer benefits! Dark greens also tend to have higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals, like calcium, iron, than those with lighter-colored leaves. Ideally, opt for organic, locally grown veggies that are in season and consider eating a fair amount of them RAW! Juicing is an excellent way to get more greens into your diet.  


  • Cucumbers: They contain an impressive water content of nearly 97 %, which can help relieve fluid retention. Phytonutrients in cucumbers play a key role in providing these antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, supporting overall health alongside conventional antioxidant nutrients (including vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese) of which cucumbers are an important source. Cucumbers are also super hydrating for the skin. BONUS for all of us salty water and sun worshipers!  


  • Ginger Root: Most well known as a digestive-aid, this spicy root is also a powerhouse anti-inflammatory. The properties of ginger are thought to provide pain relief in a number of ways, from halting migraines to easing the aches of arthritis and other joint pain.  


  • Turmeric:No one can argue that turmeric packs a lot of punch and is a powerful inflammation fighter. And as an added bonus, turmeric has been shown to support memory and ligament health. You can get curcumin in supplement form, but it can also be easily incorporated into your diet. Try adding it to your soups, salad dressing, juices or smoothies.   


  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: omega-3s demonstrate potent anti-inflammatory properties and might be useful when it comes to chronic inflammation and autoimmune disease. If you are vegan, (or just don't like fish) flaxseed oil is a great alternative.   


  • Green Tea or Matcha Tea: Matcha is the most nutrient-rich green tea and comes in the form of a stone-ground unfermented powder. It has up to 17 times the antioxidants of wild blueberries, and seven times more than dark chocolate! Tulsi is another tea loaded with anti-inflammatory antioxidants and other micronutrients that support immune function and heart health. 


There are so many amazing and natural ways to combat chronic inflammation in the body. These are just some of basics to get you started.  


Fighting Inflammation with Physical Activity is Key!  


Aside from shifting the foods you consume, keep moving your body! Consistent exercise or physical activity is one of the best ways to keep inflammation at bay. The best part? It doesn’t matter how you move – just get out and go! 


Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise have been shown to lower levels of C-reactive protein, or CRP (the body’s marker for inflammation). The lower the body’s CRP, the less inflammation is present. Activities that calm the mind, such as meditation, guided imagery, and breath work, lower CRP levels. Better yet, try combining a meditative focus with physical movement in a practice like yoga!  


Know who you are underneath it all 

When you identify the underlying sources of inflammation you can heal the body. These might include stress, hidden infections, food allergies or sensitivities, genetic predisposition, nutrient deficiencies, and leaky gut. Finding and eliminating the root cause of chronic inflammation requires detective work, trial and error, and patience; but, the results (and YOU) are worth it!  


Written by Amy Field 

 Amy Field is a private nutrition counselor in Massachusetts with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Health Sciences, and also teaches Juicing workshops. She is certified by the World Paddling Association as an instructor, a Paddle into Fitness Ambassador and paddle board yoga instructor and is considered among the leading experts within her field. You can reach out to Amy on Facebook with any questions or follow her on Instagram @amyfield1 





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