Inflammation Diet by Sue Kira

by sue

Diet for Inflammation

by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist

About inflammation and anti-inflammatory eating

– Tests for inflammation

– The gut and inflammation

Acid forming pro-inflammatory foods, drinks & lifestyle factors

Histamine as a driver for inflammation

About an Anti-inflammatory alkaline diet

– Advantages of an anti-inflammatory alkaline diet

– Disadvantages of an anti-inflammatory alkaline diet

Guidelines to an alkaline anti-inflammatory diet

– Testing your pH

Diet for Inflammation 

– Anti-inflammatory alkaline foods

Case study: Pain and inflammation eased naturally

About inflammation and anti-Inflammatory eating

Inflammation appears to be one of the latest buzzword on the health scene, but the fact is that practitioners have been warning about the dangers of inflammation for decades.

Your immune system attacks anything in your body that it recognizes as being foreign such as invading microbes, plant pollens, or chemicals. Any damage to the body, such as injury, also triggers the same response. This process is called inflammation and is often associated with pain.

Inflammation can also be caused by numerous factors including constant stress, physical overload, food sensitivities, allergies, body imbalances, toxicity, diet, and lifestyle.

Short bursts of inflammation are there to protect your health, but when the inflammation persists day in and day out (even without foreign invaders in your body or any damage has partly healed) then inflammation can become your enemy. This can lead to numerous chronic health conditions and infections.

Although there are many drugs and herbal/nutritional anti-inflammatory supportive potions, lotions, pills and powders, you can assist their effectiveness and support the body during times of inflammation by eating the right foods.

But eating the wrong foods (the pro-inflammatory type) can make inflammation worse, and accelerate the inflammatory process to turn a simple inflammation into a disease. This is because inflammation has been allowed to get out of control and the immune system then creates ‘auto-antibodies’ to clean up the damaged body, but continue to keep attacking the body which can result in an auto-immune disease.

In general, a clean (no additives), natural, unprocessed, alkaline diet that is high in vegetables, fish, unprocessed oils and some nuts and seeds with a few good fruits is considered the best anti-inflammatory diet. Some people also need to look at histamine as a source of inflammation.

Tests for inflammation

If any of the markers in the tests below are even slightly elevated then you have inflammation in your body. These tests can be great for monitoring the changes in your body by reflecting reduced inflammation from the changes in your diet and lifestyle.

  • C-reactive protein (CRP)
  • Sensitive C reactive protein (sCRP) even better than CRP
  • Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)
  • Interleukin-6 (IL-6)
  • Interleukin-18 (IL-18)
  • Monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1)
  • Acute phase serum amyloid A (APSAA)
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
  • Histamine levels

The gut and inflammation

When we speak of inflammation, some may have recognisable pain in a joint, muscle or organ. Whereas for others there is not a direct relationship with pain and inflammation, or perhaps a little discomfort, but they know they have inflammation because they have, for example, a condition such as an auto-immune disease, high inflammation markers, allergies, cardiovascular disease or constant bloating.

These conditions and many more can have their root ill-health origins in the digestive system.

For some there may be dysbiosis, which means the gut bacteria are out of balance with insufficient good bacteria and dominating levels of bad bacteria.

Unhealthy levels of bad bacteria can promote parasites, candida yeast overgrowth or a virus which lurks around, sucking the life-force out of the digestive systems, stealing nutrients, and creating acids and inflammatory chemicals which are released into the bloodstream and generally create havoc.

The key to reducing inflammation is a healthy digestive system which comes from:

1. Avoiding inflammatory toxic foods and substances including foods you are allergic or intolerant to, and avoiding unhealthy lifestyle practices.

2. Adopting a healthy anti-inflammatory diet as specified in this article.

3. Restoring good bacteria and healing the gut. For help, you may need a health practitioner’s advice to provide you with extra support.

Acid forming/pro-inflammatory foods, drinks & lifestyle factors

Before we look at the anti-inflammatory diet, it is important to understand what creates inflammation.

Anything that is acidic is inflammatory.

The following foods and drinks are acid forming which can increase inflammation in the body.

– Processed foods: contain lots of sodium chloride (table salt) which can constrict blood vessels and create acidity.

– Cold cuts, processed and conventional grain fed meats.

– Eating too many animal sources of protein in general can contribute to acidity, not alkalinity. Beef, pork, chicken, cold cuts and shellfish can all contribute to sulphuric acid build-up in the blood as amino acids are broken down. Pasture raised and organic meats are less acidic for the body. Vary your intake of protein foods to best balance your pH level.

– Processed packet breakfast cereals.

– Eggs: however a small amount of pasture raised organic eggs can be OK.

– Lentils: but are less acidic if soaked and sprouted and not cooked.

– All grains: even gluten free grains create acidity in the body.

– Pasta, rice, bread and packaged grain products

– Dairy products: are acidic in nature and some research show that populations that consume lots of dairy products have some of the highest rates of osteoporosis. That’s because dairy creates acidity in the body. When any part of your body becomes too acidic, your body will steal calcium (a more alkaline substance) from the bones to try to balance out the pH level. So the best way to help prevent osteoporosis is to eat lots of alkaline green leafy veggies that also contain calcium in a more bio-available (absorbable) form.

– Peanuts and walnuts are more acidic than all other nuts. But almonds are the only alkalising nut if eaten in moderation and preferably soaked to remove the enzyme inhibitors (intended to stop the nut from germinating too early if not in the ground with enough water etc). These enzyme inhibitors will also inhibit your digestive enzymes and make nuts difficult to digest unless they are soaked (or roasted) first.

Soaked is healthier than roasted in the oven. You can re-dry the soaked nuts in a dehydrator (or oven on lowest heat setting) to get the crunch back but they don’t keep as long, so just soak and dry a batch that lasts no more than a week. Or eat them soaked (and rinsed) and they taste like coconut flesh.

Acid forming habits and lifestyle factors

Poor chewing and eating habits
Chewing releases digestive enzymes and digestive acids which are needed to break down food, otherwise our body must become more acidic to compensate and break down the food after the food has left the stomach. The stomach acid needs to be acidic, but not the rest of the body

Chronic stress
This is very acidic on the body, which is why some people get ulcerations from chronic stress.

Alcohol and drug use
Both are acidic to the body.

Any caffeine consumption is acidic. A high caffeine intake comes from caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, soft-drinks/sodas).

If you need prescribed antibiotics, then use as directed. But compensate with an alkalising diet and probiotics to replace and repair the damage done to the gut by the antibiotics.

Artificial sweeteners
Sweeteners of any kind (except fruit) are acidic in the body.

Declining nutrient levels
In foods due to industrial farming.

Low levels of fibre
Low levels in the diet stagnates food waste departure and creates an acidic environment in the colon.

Lack of exercise
Movement clears stagnation and stagnation creates acidity.

Excess animal meats
Creates acidity, especially if grain-fed.

From foods, health and beauty products and plastics.

Exposure to chemicals and radiation
From mobile phones and microwaves, computers, household cleansers and building materials.

Food coloring and preservatives
Any unnatural additives are acid forming in the body.

Creates lactic acid in muscles.

Pesticides and herbicides
As well as any other chemical on our food and in our body.

Pollution is acidic for our bodies and the planet. If you find yourself exposed to pollution, then some green smoothies plus an alkaline diet can help to rebalance your body.

Processed and refined foods
Any food that has been processed is acidic to the body.

Shallow breathing
Breathing gives us oxygen which is alkalising for the body, but if we shallow breathe then we have more carbon dioxide in our body which is acidic.

Other things
It is advisable to look at other things that can increase inflammation such as cigarettes and excess weight. Ensure any medication you take best suits your body. Importantly, get good advice from a qualified health care practitioner.

Histamine as a driver for inflammation

Histamine in foods has been reported as a potential driver of inflammation in some people. I say some people, because you must have a histamine intolerance or high histamine in your blood for this to be an issue. If this applies to you, or you think it may because you get histamine reactions such as hay-fever or allergies, or if your inflammation doesn’t seem to settle despite a clean alkaline anti-inflammatory diet, then it is worth considering a low histamine diet. You don’t have to have other allergies to have an issue with histamine.

Histamine levels can be high in some foods naturally and low in other foods, but increase over time. For example, left over foods have more histamine than fresh foods. You may also have a level of histamine in foods that you are fine with, but you have a glass of red wine which is naturally high in histamines and whammo, the combination of the two takes you over your threshold, resulting in increased inflammation (or a headache).

For more information go to the Low Histamine Diet.

About an anti-inflammatory alkaline diet

Anything that is acidic is inflammatory and anything that is inflammatory is also acidic for your body. Eating an alkaline diet can help to reduce inflammation. But what is an alkaline diet?

An alkaline diet is one that helps balance the pH level of your body. It has been stated many times that disease (inflammation) and health imbalances cannot take root in a body with a balanced pH.

pH is an abbreviation for the ‘potential of hydrogen’. pH is the measure that tells us how acidic or alkaline the body’s cells, blood, lymphatic fluid and organs really are.

pH is measured on a scale from 0 to 14. The more acidic something is, the lower the pH level – or closer to 0. The more alkaline, the higher the number – and closer to 14. A pH around 7 is called neutral (in the middle of zero and 14).

The optimal pH level for the human body is around 7.4. This means that we consider the healthiest pH to be one that is slightly alkaline. However, pH levels can vary in different parts of the body, so the optimal level for the stomach, being the most acidic, is around pH3.5.

Human life requires a very tightly controlled pH level of the blood of about 7.365–7.4 and our body will do almost anything to stay at this level to maintain life. Our body knows it can rob calcium (an alkaline mineral) from other parts of our body such as our bones to keep the blood in a safe pH range.

An acidic diet causes the body to release calcium from our bones as needed, potentially triggering osteoporosis and inflammation. The inflammation itself also creates acidity which then makes the body use even more alkaline minerals (calcium and magnesium) from our bones, further depleting us.

Since the agricultural revolution our diets have changed to be more about grains and processed foods than the traditional diets of meats, nuts, seeds, vegetables and some fruits. With this change, we now eat significantly less potassium and magnesium and consume more sodium (acidic), compared to diets of the past. These days most diets are also low in antioxidants, fiber and essential vitamins. On top of that, the typical Western diet is high in refined fats, simple sugars, sodium and chloride and is very acidic.

Normally, our kidneys keep our electrolyte levels (those of calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium) balanced. When we are exposed to overly acidic substances (from food, drinks and toxins) these electrolytes are used to combat acidity, but when these resources get low, the body breaks down bone and other tissue to get what it needs to maintain homeostasis (balance).

All of these changes to the human diet have resulted in increased ‘metabolic acidosis’ and inflammation. On top of this, many suffer from low nutrient intake and problems such as potassium and magnesium deficiency arise. High degrees of acidity force our bodies to rob minerals from the bones, cells, organs and tissues, which causes gradual loss of organ functions, degenerates tissue and bone mass, and accelerates the aging process.

Advantages of an Anti-inflammatory Alkaline Diet

Healthy bones and muscles
Most minerals (except sodium-salt) are alkalising, so your mineral intake via fruits and vegetables plays an important role in the development and maintenance of bone structures. Research shows that the more alkalizing fruits and vegetables you eat, the better protection you will have from decreased bone strength and muscle wasting as you age. Alkaline diets help to promote the production of growth hormones as well as vitamin D absorption which also helps to protect your bones.

Prevents magnesium deficiency 
An alkaline diet has been shown to increase magnesium in the body, as you can only get magnesium (in its natural state) from vegetables. Magnesium is required for the function of hundreds of enzyme systems and bodily processes and without adequate levels many experience heart complications, muscle pains, headaches, sleep troubles and anxiety. Magnesium is also used to activate vitamin D, which is important for overall immune and endocrine functioning.

Lowers inflammation and pain
Chronic acidosis has been found to contribute to chronic back pain, headaches, inflammation, joint pain, muscle spasms and menstrual symptoms. An alkaline diet has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation.

Healthy vascular system
Because an alkaline diet reduces inflammation and increases growth hormone production, this can also help protect against cardiovascular problems like cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), and stroke.

Healthy immune function
When cells lack enough alkaline minerals to clear waste or oxygenate the body fully, the whole body suffers. Vitamin absorption is compromised by low minerals, and toxins and pathogens accumulate. This weakens the immune system and increases the risk of cancer. Being a little on the alkaline side can help to reduce inflammation and the risk of cancer. An alkaline diet has also been shown to be more beneficial for some chemotherapeutic agents that require a higher pH to work appropriately.

Healthy weight
An alkaline diet is usually loaded with fibre to help satisfy your hunger and at the same time avoids many acid-forming foods. Inflammation makes your body store fat, so by reducing inflammation with an alkaline diet you will most likely store less fat.

Disadvantages of an anti-inflammatory alkaline diet

Because an alkaline diet has no grains, dairy, gluten, sugar or much in the way of meats, poultry or fish (small amounts are considered ok) then this does limit what you can eat.

But if you use the alkaline diet to help support your body while dealing with any health concerns (along with your practitioner’s support) then you may find the re-introduction of some of the above foods in small amounts may be fine for you.

Guidelines to an anti-inflammatory alkaline diet

Whenever possible, try to buy organic foods. Even a food that is considered ‘acidic’ such as meat, is more likely to be less acidic (more alkaline) when pasture fed and organic, rather than the meat from grain fed animals that is considered to be very acid forming.

The quality of soil that plants are grown in can significantly affect the vitamin and mineral content of our foods. pH not only affects our body but also that of soil. For instance, the best overall availability of essential nutrients in plants is where pH is between 6 and 7.

If soil pH is below 6 there is reduced calcium and magnesium available to the plant and hence to us. When soil is more alkaline – above a pH of 7, there is less absorption of iron, manganese, copper and zinc.

Soil that is well-rotated, organically sustained and exposed to wildlife or grazing animals tends to be the healthiest, which is why organic and spray free foods are good choices because the soil used for growing food this way is more mineral dense, which tends to be more alkalising and healthy for your body.

Testing your pH

Some people like to monitor the pH of their body by testing the pH of urine or saliva with test strips you can buy from your local health food store or chemist. Choose one fluid and be consistent, but whatever you choose to test, the ideal pH is between 6.8 and 7.2. Test an hour before, or two hours after a meal.

If your number is lower than 6.8 (say 6.2), then for every decimal point below the ideal you are effectively one hundred (100) times more acidic than you should be. If your number is greater than 7.2, you are either too alkaline or you have recently consumed an alkalising supplement (mineral) or vegetable juice etc. It is rare to be too alkaline.

Diet for Inflammation 

While a diet for inflammation is not considered a cure, the idea is to eliminate foods considered detrimental, and include foods that support your body to give it the best chance to heal naturally. That’s why it is so important to exclude antagonistic foods and drinks such as gluten, dairy, additives, sugar and high histamine foods.

As mentioned previously, histamine is part of the inflammatory process, so keeping histamine levels down can help to lower the inflammation in your body. If needed, you can consider a more restrictive Low Histamine Diet  for a period of time, then when pain and inflammation has settled, you can choose from a wider range of foods.

Important: Before you commence a new diet, see your medical or health care professional for qualified guidance about what foods and supplements are best for your body. While on the diet do not stop any medications or supplements previously prescribed unless advised otherwise by your medical or health care professional.

Note: During the early stages of a new diet, you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, headaches or body aches, which may occur because your body is detoxifying. However, if you are unsure about a symptom at any time, check immediately with your medical or health care professional.

Anti-inflammatory, alkaline foods

Following are recommendations of foods and drinks to help reduce inflammation in the body:

Olive oil
Olive Oil is best used raw and extra virgin for the best effects. Olive oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body and is a great oil to use on salads and vegetable. Not so great to cook with unless you only use low heat.

Green leafy vegetables
Leafy vegies such as spinach, collard greens, kale and cabbage are great, plus other excellent anti-inflammatory greens such as bok-choy asparagus, avocado (healthy alkaline fat), broccoli (organic is important) and Brussels sprouts. Kale and spinach are often considered as the most nutrient dense foods you can eat. Kale especially has high levels of Vitamin A and C so you get a big boost of antioxidants in addition to fibre.

But take care if you have issues with oxalates e.g. gout. Cooking reduces the oxalate content of these foods. These foods can have moderate levels of histamine, so if your pain gets worse on these foods do consider the low histamine diet.

Other great vegetables
Carrots, cauliflower, celery and cucumber. Fennel has a strong phytonutrient and antioxidant count, and this combination can help treat the symptoms as well as the cause of inflammation in the body.

Almonds and seeds such as flaxseed. The lignans, alpha-Linolenic acids and omega-3 content in flaxseed provide anti-inflammatory effects. Nuts can have moderate to high levels of histamine, so if your inflammation seems to get worse on some of these foods, consider the low histamine diet.

Quinoa has protein, fibre and lots of vitamins and minerals as well as being a great anti-inflammatory food. Quinoa is not highly alkaline but is a good source of vegetable protein.

Fatty fish
Salmon, anchovies and sardines have copious amounts of omega-3 fats, verified to have a strong anti-inflammatory effect. The consumption of salmon and other fish that are high in omega-3 fats can help combat over-consumption of foods containing omega-6 fatty acids. An improper balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fats can lead to inflammation, which can be supported by eating more omega-3 foods and cutting back on the omega-6 foods.

Try to buy fish that has been wild caught, as fish that has been fed pellets in fish farms may not have the same beneficial levels of the important Omega 3 fats. If not available, then ensure your fish is fresh or snap frozen to reduce potential histamine levels that increase as fish age.

Strawberries, blueberries and cherries contain anti-inflammatory phyto-nutrients. Lemons and limes contain antioxidants that help the body combat free radical damage, which can lead to inflammation. Blueberries are anti-histamine, so are particularly good. Pawpaw (papaya) and pineapple have anti-inflammatory effects and are best when slightly under-ripe to increase the anti-inflammatory effects, increase digestive enzymes, and keep histamine levels lower. Green mango and papaya are great in salads (particularly when shredded).

Herbs and spices
Basil, parsley, rosemary and pretty much all herbs and spices have some anti-inflammatory attributes. Take care with chilli type spices with arthritis where there’s sensitivity to nightshades or salycilates. To keep histamine levels down, fresh herbs and spices are best.

Garlic is a favoured anti-inflammatory food that can battle inflammation and as a bonus is low in histamine.

Known as a ‘super spice’ that helps reduce inflammation and histamine.

Animal proteins
If you like to eat animal proteins but want to keep your body slightly alkaline, it is important to eat pasture fed organic produce which is less acidic and inflammatory than grain fed meat. However, pasture fed organic produce can still be somewhat acidic to your body, so it’s best to eat only small amounts (particularly as it’s more expensive).

Chicken is not exactly anti-inflammatory, but I’ve added it because many will not be able to cut all meat out of their diet, so chicken and other white meats are a good compromise over red and other inflammatory meats. Select organic chicken and/or pasture raised chicken when possible, particularly chicken that contains the least amount of antibiotics and other additives.

If eggs are free range, grass fed organic they will be higher in Omega 3 essential fatty acid. Eggs are not so much an anti-inflammatory food but a food that can help to replace other pro-inflammatory proteins such as some meats. Egg white is high in histamine, so if you are affected by histamines, then keep eggs to a minimum. Duck eggs have lower levels of histamine.

Plant proteins
Protein from plants are definitely more alkalising and anti-inflammatory than animal proteins. Almonds are the most alkaline of the nuts, but other nuts and seeds that have been soaked and sprouted are still quite alkalising to the body. Navy beans, lima beans and most other beans are good choices.

Kelp helps to keep the body on the alkaline side of the acid/alkaline equation, with plenty of iodine and high in fibre. The fucoidan in kelp gives it its anti-inflammatory effects.

Coconut oil
This is a great source of energy that is naturally anti-inflammatory due to its special kind of fat called medium chain fatty acids or MCFAs which can help to stimulate your body’s metabolism, leading to weight loss and reduced inflammation. Coconut also contains another great substance called lauric acid. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-protozoa properties, which is part of the reason why it is anti-inflammatory.

Raw foods
Ideally, try to consume a good portion of your produce raw as it has more enzymes and vitamins won’t have been cooked out. Cooking foods depletes alkalizing nutrients. If you want to cook your produce, lightly steamed or lightly stir-fried are the best options. Although there are certain nutrients that can handle heat and still give you many alkalising minerals e.g. slow cooking a hearty winter stew, soup or broth.

Aim for around 50-80% raw foods, more in summer months and maybe less in winter if you are cold. Here in northern Australia, we only have a few weeks of cold weather so it is easy to have raw breakfasts and lunches and a cooked dinner, but if it gets icy where you live then this might not be a good option. A sunny warm lunchtime may be the only time a raw salad can work for you.

Even though there are many virtues of raw foods, having a cold damp body from raw foods when your body is cold is counter-productive. Variety between raw and cooked is a great balance.

Alkaline water
Alkaline water has a pH of 9 to 11. Distilled water is also fine to drink. Water filtered with a reverse osmosis filter is slightly acidic, but it’s a much better option than tap water or purified bottled water. Bottled water is often quite acidic. Adding lemon or lime juice to purified water can boost its alkalinity. Lemons and limes are acidic but they have an alkalising effect on your body.

Green drinks
Drinks made from blended green vegetables and vegetable grasses like wheat grass, alfalfa, barley grass, spirulina and chlorella algae are loaded with alkaline-forming, anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in chlorophyll which is highly alkalising for your body.

Chlorophyll’s chemical structure is so similar to our blood that I have recommended these drinks many times for people needing more iron but are vegetarian and don’t eat iron-rich red meat. Chlorophyll also contains good amounts of magnesium – a potent alkalising, anti-inflammatory mineral needed for so many tasks in our body. Yet magnesium is one of the most deficient minerals in the majority of people.

Antioxidant foods 
Deeply colourful fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, acai berries, spinach, beetroot, rainbow chard, red cabbage, pumpkin/squash and beans are foods rich in antioxidants, which are by nature alkaline and anti-inflammatory.

Gut healing foods
Many of the anti-inflammatory foods I have covered are gut healing just by being anti-inflammatory. In addition to these it is worthwhile to have some specific gut healing foods such as: bone broths; jellies made from gelatine and cherry juice; probiotic rich foods such as fermented coconut milk, coconut kefir or sauerkraut.

Be aware that these foods are also high in histamine, so if you have elevated histamine or histamine intolerance, then leave these out of the equation.

Case study: Pain and inflammation eased naturally

Client name and identifying information changed

Judy, a women in her 60’s, had chronic inflammation with associated aches and pains all over her body. Diagnosed with osteoarthritis, gout, fibromyalgia and metabolic syndrome – which included obesity, high blood pressure, high blood triglycerides, low levels of the good HDL cholesterol, and insulin resistance, Judy felt a mess.

Her doctor tried putting her on various medications which her body reacted to strongly, so she decided to see me for help.

I looked at Judy’s diet and on the surface it appeared she was eating what most consider a healthy diet. But a closer look showed me she was eating foods that may have stimulated her immune system too much. Because we only had a narrow window of time to do some work between medication trials before her doctor wanted her to try ‘something else’, we had to go in strong and make some radical changes.

Judy was placed on a strict anti-inflammatory diet that removed gluten, dairy, all grains, all sugar, all nightshade family foods and all high histamine inducing foods. She was encouraged to get her fats from coconut oil and fresh wild caught fatty fish (we temporarily stopped all other meats for the first 6 weeks) and she basically ate seafood with salads and stir-fry or steamed vegetables for her lunches and dinners. Breakfast was a smoothie made of certain vegetables, blueberries, coconut oil and chia seeds.

Meals were simple and drinks were mostly water, but Judy was determined to change her situation. Initially the radical changes in her diet created a detox reaction with headaches and digestive changes (more visits to the loo) but these symptoms soon settled within a few days and Judy felt much better.

Within three weeks her pain level decreased from an overall 8/10 level to 4/10 and she lost 10kgs of weight.

By this time, Judy had re-visited her doctor and instead of putting her onto a different medication he said to keep doing what she was doing for a while longer and then he would re-check her inflammation and cardiovascular markers. Because her doctor was impressed with the changes, Judy was keen to continue her diet for another three weeks in which time her pain dropped to 3/10 and she lost another few kilos.

When she returned to her doctor after more blood tests, he said that she was now out of the critical range for her levels and he encouraged her to continue with her diet.

By this time, Judy was getting sick of eating fish and seafood so we introduced some fresh pasture raised organic chicken and turkey to the menu and some of the starchier vegetables (steamed only) were re-introduced. This gave her more variety and freedom to eat foods she enjoyed but we kept her away from foods that could have triggered more inflammation.

She wanted to bring back her Earl Grey tea, but as it is high in histamine I encouraged her to drink Rooibos (red-bush) tea instead, as it is lower in histamine and has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory properties. Judy still loved coconut oil and had a small spoonful whenever she wanted something sweet tasting.

Because her pain had reduced, we discussed gentle exercise to help her body shift toxins from her lymphatic system and to support her hormones and cardiovascular system. But Judy was one step ahead, as she had recently started to walk around the block. Initially this was a struggle because she was keen and over did it which created more pain.

We discussed how to increase her movement gradually so as not to trigger lactic acid build up, muscle damage and subsequent pain and inflammation.

Over the next few months Judy slowly increased her exercise, with water aerobics twice a week, walking most days for an hour and lifting some small hand weights to an exercise DVD she bought on-line.

Six months after Judy first came to see me, she was clear of her metabolic syndrome, lost 25kgs of weight, had nearly no pain and felt great. Occasionally she would go back to eating foods that are on the high inflammation list and says that she can ‘get away with it’, provided she only does it about once per week or so. She was happy with that.

Overall…a great result, and all from lifestyle changes of diet and exercise.


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