8 Natural Ways to Fight & Soothe Inflammation

how to heal inflammation
Article by ross

If you’re feeling tired, overweight, fuzzy-brained, bad moods, dull skin, have frequent pains, a clogged digestive system, low immunity or are battling with an ongoing health condition, read on…

Because by following the 8 simple steps in this guide, you could make a huge, and rapid, impact on your road to getting your health back by soothing inflammation and undoing the damage it has done.

In a moment I’ll walk you step-by-step and show you just how easy it can be, and how fast you can get noticeable results…

But first I want to explain why…

Because the steps I share in this article get to the root cause of almost every chronic condition people are battling with today.

It all comes down to understanding and addressing the underlying inflammation in your body.

It could be a slow, simmering inflammation that has been there, unnoticed for years…leading to conditions such as IBS, depression, fatigue and more…

Or it could be a harsh, sharp, painful inflammation-symptom that is very real and present such as chronic joint pain, arthritis or GERD.

Inflammation is the silent issue that very few people seek to address, but it is the #1 contributing factor to such a myriad conditions – and the best news?

Controlling, reversing and preventing inflammation can be incredibly simple, and the results incredibly fast.

Let’s get stuck in…

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How Inflammation is at the Root of Chronic Disease

Without inflammation most conditions we know of would simply not exist.

Inflammation is at the root cause of practically every chronic condition. Acidity and inflammation are like peas in a pod, one leads to the other and feeds the other. It’s like a vicious cycle, both fuelling each other and both triggering the symptoms of disease.

It is important to note: if you get rid of acidity and get rid of inflammation you are going to go a LONG way towards protecting yourself from chronic conditions.

Here are just a few ways that inflammation contributes to chronic conditions:

  • Insulin Resistance: when you eat inflammatory foods such as grains and sugar, this causes rapid blood sugar spikes, which in turn causes huge insulin release. However, inflammation itself causes insulin release too, rapidly compounding the excess insulin produced by the digestion of the inflammatory food in the first place. This creates a vicious cycle of: blood sugar spike, insulin release and inflammation which then causes more insulin release and so on. Inflammtion of the brain also blocks the brain from recognising leptin – which is the hormone that tells you you’re full, keeping you hungry 24/7. Not good.
  • Visceral Fat Formation: when inflammation is high in the body this sends a signal to the body to increase visceral fat to protect our vital organs from the toxins created by the inflammation. The irony is, the more visceral fat we have the higher our inflammatory signals to the brain are. Another vicious cycle.
  • Autoimmune conditions: when the gut is inflamed (where most chronic inflamamtion starts), it increases the production of a protein in your intestine called zonulin, which breaks up the walls of the intestines, leading to leaky gut. When you have leaky gut the bugs and partially digested food particles inside your intestine get across the gut barrier and are exposed your immune system – trigger the immune system to respond over and over and over – causing autoimmune conditions to emerge.
  • Arthritis: inflammatory cytokines destroy joint cartilage and synovial fluid, leading to weakened bones and pain.
  • Kidney Failure: inflammatory cytokines restrict circulation and damage nephrons and tubules in the kidneys
  • Gall Bladder Disease: inflammation of the bile duct or excess cholesterol produced in response to gut inflammation.

And a few ways that an overly acidic lifestyle contributes:

  • Osteoporosis: an increase in acidity produced by and left by the digestion of low pH and nutritionally devoid foods leaves an excess of hydrochloric acid which the body cannot neutralise with it’s natural alkaline buffering system, and so draws alkaline minerals (first from the bones) to neutralise the acidity.
  • Eczema: when the body has too much acidity that can be neutralised and/or stored away in fat, it becomes toxic, pushing these toxins through the body’s five main detoxifying organs – the skin being the most visual of these. Skin conditions almost always follow.
  • Acid Reflux: when there is too much hydrochloric acid produced in the stomach, during this phase of the digestive process, the body cannot quickly produce enough sodium bicarbonate to neutralise it and prepare the foods for the next phase of digestion in the pancreas. This excess acidity gets pushed back up the digestive system and you experience reflux. This doesn’t happen when you eat alkaline foods.
  • Fatigue: when we consume a lot of difficult to digest foods, the digestive system becomes compromised. The small intestine becomes clogged up with undigested matter, putting a thick layer over the intestinal villi. The villi are the small finger-like protrusions in the digestive system that extract nutrients from the foods we eat. If they are covered and impacted, then you are not getting the nutrients from the food you eat and thus are not going to extract the energy from those foods.

Inflammation and acidity are intrinsically linked, which is why I always advocate incorporating a high level of anti-inflammatory foods (which are alkaline in their very nature) alongside restricting acidic-foods as much as possible.

I always suggest that taking it one-day at a time is a better approach to long term healthy living than trying to be perfect all at once, but when it comes to inflammation, it can be a very, very smart move to have a week of really clean eating, while incorporating as many anti-inflammatory meals as possible.

“The Drugs Don’t Work, They Just Make It Worse”…

To quote The Verve…

I’m being a little facetious (because I would never recommend stopping a protocol/prescription your specialist has suggested), but what I am really saying is that a lot of treatments for inflammatory conditions only focus on (surprise, surprise) treating the symptoms – not getting to the cause.

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Inflammation should be understood and treated in the same way as all of the diseases that it contributes to: by treating the root, underlying cause.

All sickness should be addressed in this way. I am all for doing things to give relief and comfort from the symptoms, but most medical approaches tend to stop there.

This is especially true with inflammation, where NSAIDs are prescribed (think naproxen, ibuprofen, piroxicam, diclofenac, celecoxib) plus more severe drugs (such as Methotrexate, Orencia, Enbrel, Humira, Remicade).

Most of these are simply tricking the body into reducing the outcome of the inflammation and the symptom, rather than addressing what is causing the inflammation.

It’s the same with the treatment of heart disease. Drugs are prescribed to widen the arteries, block the effects of adrenaline, effect the way calcium is moved in the cells of the heart and blood vessels. All there to mask the effect of the condition, but in no way addresses the cause.

With these types of prescriptions, the problem is not being addressed, it’s just being made more comfortable. It is often just masking the outcomes and make it more comfortable and take longer before the condition worsens and seriously inhibits your lifestyle.

In no way am I suggesting you stop taking a prescription you are already on or ignore the protocol you are on, I am saying while doing that, also look at addressing the root cause.

These drugs do not come without side-effects (many of which compound the problem while masking it). For instance, taking a steroid for inflammation such as dexamethasone reduces inflammation in the moment while heavily affecting adrenal functioning, which leads to fatigue, stress and and increased risk of serious infection – all of which cause inflammation.

8 Steps to Help Reduce Inflammation and Stop It At It’s Source

Inflammation in the body is a potent cause of so many conditions, but it is something that is completely manageable with lifestyle and diet.

What’s more – the steps to address and reverse inflammation are easy to understand, and when implemented properly (and followed through with) can lead to really strong results, very quickly.

Note, the power there is in implementing properly and following through – there isn’t a magic bullet here.

It takes getting informed, getting a plan and following through (with some delicious foods and recipes too!).

Anti-Inflammation Step One: Focus on Anti-Inflammatory, Natural, Healthy Meals

You should aim to eat as close to natural as possible. Generally speaking, man-made foods (refined, packaged foods) contain pro-inflammatory substances such as gluten, preservatives, colourings, sweeteners, flavourings and more.

Eating natural, whole foods, focusing on green foods, vegetables, salads, leafy foods, nuts, seeds, low-sugar fruits, fibrous foods, nutrient dense foods, these are all highly anti-inflammatory.

Foods like pasta, pizza, chips, oven meals, microwave meals, takeaways, cereals, breads, packet foods and so on are all generally pro-inflammatory.

It doesn’t mean you have to eat a perfect diet forever and never have a treat, but it does mean that for a week, you should have an intervention – cutting out all of the crap and eating an abundance of good stuff…

And from then on you should try to make the right choice 7-8 times out of 10.

Nobody has to be perfect forever, but learn to lean in the direction of healthy, natural foods and you’ll soon start to feel the benefit. And when you feel the benefit the motivation is there automatically.

In fact, if you do the totally Anti-Inflammatory seven days you’ll get such a benefit that you’ll find sticking to it all a LOT easier going forwards.

I’ve listed the most anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory foods in this guide here. I recommend clicking that link (to open it in a new window) and going through the list, but ONLY after you’ve finished this guide.

It will all make a lot more sense if you read this one first.

Anti-Inflammation Step Two: Get an Abundance of Omega-3 Fats

Most people are chronically deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. Not only is omega-3 a powerful anti-inflammatory, but being deficient in omega-3 is pro-inflammatory.

You should be aiming to get around 2-3 tablespoons of omega-3 daily.

Sounds a lot, and I do recommend you use a good quality supplement.

But if you are eating lots of salads and vegetables, always be sure to use an omega-3 based oil (flax, almond, chia, walnut etc) in your salad dressings, in smoothies and just get in the habit of drizzling omega 3 on everything!

I also recommend adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to your daily diet too, which is easily added to pretty much anything!

Anti-Inflammation Step Three: Get a Lot of Turmeric & Ginger Every Day

Turmeric & ginger are both incredibly, unbelievably anti-inflammatory. This is absolute scientific fact. There is almost nothing as anti-inflammatory as turmeric (especially) and ginger.

The trick is to incorporate a lot of meals into your diet that include these ingredients. This is something I have done to incredible effect in the past couple of years.

In fact, you might have noticed turmeric suddenly appearing in a lot of my recipes on this site and in my recipe books already!

But you can’t just chuck turmeric in anything! It has to be the right blend of ingredients or it will ruin your meal and make you sick of the taste of it!

It can work in the right smoothies, juices, soups, stir fry, curry and so on, but you have to give it a little thought.

Here’s my cheat’s guide to eating turmeric every day

Anti-Inflammation Step Four: Focus Fresh Juices & Smoothies

There is almost nothing more alkalising and anti-inflammatory than fresh vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables. This is why I encourage you to make it a habit to have a fresh green juice or smoothie every day (where possible).

Do not juice fruits (fructose without fibre is highly inflammatory and acid-forming) and keep fruits to a minimum in all juices and smoothies. The fructose is acid-forming and inflammatory – so it should only be in there in tiny quantities if at all, to add a little sweetness.

At most keep it to half a serve of fruit per person. Ideally, 1/4 of a piece of fruit per person. And really ideally none.

The more you have 100% veggie juices the more you will get accustomed to the taste.

Plus you can always soften the flavour with almond milk, coconut water etc.

Here are a few of my most popular juice recipes to get you started:

The Orignial Live Energized Green Drink
The Powerhouse Juice
The Liver Regenerating Juice
The Metabolism Boosting Fat Flush Juice

Anti-Inflammation Step Five: Eliminate Grains & Sugar

This could be (and is) a whole guide in itself.

The short story is this: there is nothing more pro-inflammatory than gluten. So I strongly advise you to avoid all gluten containing grains.

Buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, brown rice and a little oats is great. But avoid wheat, kamut, rye, spelt and all of the other grains as much as you possibly can.

And once you’ve finished this guide I recommend that you read through this guide to cutting out wheat here

And my 9 Reasons to Quit Sugar guide here.

Anti-Inflammation Step Six: Get & Stay Super-Hydrated

Being de-hydrated not only zaps your energy, but it’s also another way to increase and encourage inflammation in the body. The body NEEDS water.

This, too, is a whole topic in and of itself, but I recommend for most people that you drink between 2-4 litres of good quality, filtered water on a daily basis…without fail.

Not all waters are created equal and you can get my guide to water & hydration here.

When I tell people they should be drinking up to 4 litres of water a day they usually have two concerns:

1) HOW will I drink that much
2) Will I need to pee all the time!

Both are perfectly valid questions, but should be without concern. Firstly, drinking that much is a lot easier than it sounds.

I found it easiest to coach people to their hydration target by linking drinking water to already existing habits. Some of the most popular are: cleaning their teeth, preparing food, getting to work, waking up, getting ready for bed (not necessarily in that order!)

So with those habits in place a simple hydration plan could be – presuming a standard glass of water is 330ml:

  • Upon waking: drink big glass of 500ml of lemon water
  • Cleaning teeth: drink 330ml of water
  • Get to work, sit at desk: 330ml of water
  • Two (herbal) teas during the morning: 660ml of water
  • Before lunch: glass of 330ml water
  • Another tea in the afternoon: 330ml
  • Before preparing dinner: 330ml water
  • After dinner tea: 330ml water
  • Before cleaning teeth at night: 330ml water

Total: 3.5 litres of water

And you didn’t have to carry a bottle around all day constantly swigging at it. You just had a glass at certain milestones in the day and had some nice cups of tea.

Easy.

Anti-Inflammation Step Seven: Eliminate Stress as Much as Possible

Stress is the worst. It’s so shockingly bad for your health and is literally directly linked to so many conditions – and likely because high stress hormone levels (cortisol for instance) leads to the release of excess inflammatory chemicals.

It’s really important you have a few simple, non-time-consuming tools in your toolkit to be able to manage your stress.

Practicing mindfulness meditation is something I’ve found incredible useful. And here’s a link to a super-fast meditation you can do (ideally daily, but you can simply use when you’re feeling stress too).

And if meditation is not your thing – have a thing, something you can bank on to help reduce stress (running, yoga, breathing exercises, walking – whatever it might be). Just make sure it contributes both to your stress levels AND your health (i.e. a glass of red and a block of chocolate don’t count).

Ultimately, we know stress can have more of an effect on our body and health than poor food choices, but this video REALLY opens your eyes as to how it affects your brain too – this is must-see stuff:

How Stress Affects the Brain

How chronic stress can affect the brain's size, structure, and how it functions:

Posted by TED-Ed on Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Anti-Inflammation Step Eight: Get Plenty of Vitamin D

Most people don’t really realise how very important vitamin D is and how it can have a profound impact on your health.
Make it your business to put some focus on getting adequate Vitamin D every day.

Your best source of vitamin D is through your skin being exposed to the sun. However, I realise I am very lucky to be living in a sunny country, and it’s not that easy for everyone.

In the wintertime or in a non-sunny country like the UK(!), however, you may need to take an oral supplement. Just make sure you’re taking the right form of vitamin D in the appropriate amounts to reap the benefits.

How to Get Started

It can be really easy to incorporate all of the above into your daily life (right now), but you need a plan. Simply telling yourself you’re going to have a juice every day, make turmeric tea every morning, cut out bread and grains, eat lots of good foods and stress less…

It sounds like a plan…

But it ain’t gonna work. We both know that.

You need an actual plan.

And simply saying you’re going to eat healthy from now on sounds like a smart idea…

But you need actual recipes that are going to be easy to make and taste really good (and ideally recipes your partner, husband/wife, family, kids will eat too so you aren’t cooking twice every meal time or eating on your own!)…

In my 12 years experience of coaching and teaching this to thousands and thousands of people – one of the simple ways to guarantee success is to do this:

Make a menu plan of the meals you plan to eat, don’t overcomplicate it, make sure you cover all of the most important nutrients (i.e. don’t eat the same meal over and over)…and then write a shopping list for those exact meals. Then you can simply shop, follow the plan and get the result!

Yes, it can be that simple: make the plan, execute the plan, enjoy the result.

Plus you don’t end up with a bunch of soggy, wilted food left in the fridge at the end of the week.

So Here’s What I Recommend…

Take 1-2 hours out of your day and research recipes, create a menu, go shopping and make a commitment.

Research the foods that you like, that fit with the suggestions above. Find the recipes for your breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks and so on that are alkaline, anti-inflammatory and delicious.

Make sure they don’t include gluten/grains.

Get ready and set it in your diary when you’re going to start. If next week has got a weekend away with the kids, a birthday party, a stressful work week and your parents coming to stay…maybe put it in the diary for the week after…

But make a commitment, put it in the diary, block it off and get clear about it.

Here’s a sample day’s menu with recipes to get you started:

Upon Rising: a large glass of warm lemon water
Breakfast: Chai-Infused Quinoa Porridge
Snack: Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie
Lunch: Gut Soothing & Healing Soup
Snack: Veggie Sticks with Red Pepper Dip
Dinner: Alkaline Green Stir Fry
Drinks: turmeric tea, Redbush (rooibos) tea or other herbal teas, lots of water etc.

Again, I normally don’t suggest aiming for perfection with your diet straight out of the gate. Rather I prefer people to take it a bit more slowly and take it a day at a time and build habits.

But if you have pain or a condition with inflammation as the underlying cause, I strongly recommend hitting it with a week of abundant nutrition like this, with no inflammatory foods.

Next Step: Make a Shopping List with the Ingredients in Your Week of Anti-Inflammatory Recipes
It takes a while to go through the recipes and note down how many carrots, tomatoes, bags of quinoa, cucumbers and so on you’ll need, but doing it is critical.

Then you can get shopping and really enjoy the experience. You can even have a little smile as you go around the grocery store knowing what is about to go into your body in the next seven days.

You could even break the list down into two – so you shop for the first half of the week and then the second. This way your fridge isn’t overwhelmingly full and the foods you are eating in the 2nd half of the week are much more fresh.

Now You’re About 3000x More Likely to Succeed and Stick to It!

Having the foods in the fridge and pantry you need, and the menu plan to eat by takes away all of the hard work, the temptation to cheat, the thought of what to cook when and the risk of getting home from work, knackered, hungry but with nothing in the fridge.

It’s almost impossible to fail!

And if you want all of this done for you, have a read below.

Alkaline Base Camp Member Extra

Access Your Anti-Inflammation Menu Plan, Recipes & Itemized Shopping List in the Member’s Portal:

The Anti-Inflammation recipes in your Menu Plan will sooth and cool inflammation, and help regenerate your body and undo the damage caused by inflammation – repairing the immune system, reducing soreness and pain, healing your digestion and so much more. Your kit includes your anti-inflammation menu plan, recipes and shopping list (to follow the menu). Every meal planned out for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks – with a menu for beginner’s and advanced.

MEMBERS: Click here to access your Anti-Inflammation Menu Plan

Not an Alkaline Base Camp member? Click here to learn more about the Alkaline Base Camp

Removing the inflammation from your life will be the most powerful thing you can do to eliminate:

  • Excess body fat
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Aches & pains
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Rosacea, eczema and other skin conditions
  • Low libido
  • Mental fatigue & cognitive decline
  • And so much more!

I truly hope you’re able to start putting some of these eight steps into action right away and get that meal plan and shopping list done!

Any questions? Ask me below.

Here’s to your abundant health and energy
Ross

Ask Me a Question or Leave a Comment Here - I'd Love to Hear from You

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  1. Julie Reply

    I have inflammation with copd and could use a list of anti-inflammatory foods. if you have any idea where I can get the list of anti-inflammatory foods and inflammatory foods could you let me know…. The pharmacies and doctors are too much stress and duress for me to deal with and the more I can cut them out of my life the better… causing Stress is more harmful than smoking itself. Thanks

  2. Onda Reply

    I sent an email a few minutes ago, but will also put it here: At step 8, the link for the easy meditation and the video explaining stress effects are both missing. I’d love to check them out. Thanks.

    • ross Reply

      Hey Onda – just put the link in for the meditation – thanks for pointing that out. The video seems to be working OK though?

      R

  3. Henry Boamah Reply

    I have an inflammation in my gut. I think it came about by eating the bad food like eating whole wheat bread and bagel.The inflammation was triggered after taking antibiotics for six weeks. It has been a painful 5 months. After reading about this problem i have been avoiding a lot of inflammation food .although i am not over yet i have been having less pain when i eat. I need to develop the habit of eating more green vegetables. Any advise on food, snacks, smoothies?
    Thanks

    • JCee Reply

      In addition to this great advise above..
      After a course of antibiotics, I believe it’s a great idea to buy a bottle of
      good probiotics in a health food store since the antibiotics not only wipe
      out the bad bacteria, but some of the good bacteria also, which the
      probiotics will help restore.

      Good luck and feel better!

    • ross Reply

      Hi Henry – I’ve got a post on snacks here: http://liveenergized.com/alkaline-diet-tips/11-high-protein-portable-alkaline-snacks/

      Cheers
      Ross

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