We now know more than ever that diet has an incredible impact on our overall health, and it has been shown that food can either exaggerate inflammation or aid in the recovery.
Every food has a PH rating. It either sits as “alkaline” “neutral” or “acidic”. Our body naturally tries to keep a homeostatic level around neutral. Research suggests that the level of PH may impact our body.
If our food intake is high in acid forming ratios you may be inhibiting your healing. On the other hand, if you are consuming predominantly alkaline foods you may be aiding your recovery.
The PH reading of foods can differ from certain research data, however as an overview here are where some of our popular every day foods sit.
What are high acid forming foods?
Alcohol, all alcohol.
Soft drinks. All soft drinks i.e. cola.
Sugar, including sugary packaged goods i.e. lollies.
Coffee, black tea.
Wheat products, including bread, donuts, biscuits, pastries, pies etc.
Animal proteins i.e. beef, chicken, pork.
Packaged foods i.e. crisps.
Deep fried foods, chips, dim sims, spring rolls etc.
Tap water (due to chemical additives).
Aspartame – chemical sweetener
Sauces, barbeque, tomato, store bought premix stir fry/curry sauces, pasta sauces.
It has been shown that by consuming a healthy ratio of 80% alkaline to neutral foods and keeping the intake of approx. 20% acidic foods, this may have a positive effect on your inflammation and healing outcomes; however, many humans consume more acidic foods with respect to alkaline foods.
What else increases inflammation and inhibits healing?
In acute inflammation, cortisol (the stress hormone) is needed as part of the initial inflammatory healing response. The natural purpose of elevated cortisol is activation of the body’s immune defences and healing to eliminate the cause of pain and facilitate tissue recovery. However, if stress becomes a long term event ie. ongoing “chronic” then it starts to inhibit the healing process and aggravate the inflammation.
Is there anything else can we do to help fight inflammation?
On top of our overall alkaline/acid ratio intake and keeping our stress down, by eating the rainbow we also consume beneficial antioxidants. These are our power houses to help our body in recovery, fighting off free radicles and cell damage.
What types of antioxidants are there and where do I find them?
EPA/DHAs powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidants found in sea sources. A note to add, steer clear of deep sea fish such as sword fish, barramundi, shark, bluefin tuna as they are high in mercury, these are ok to consume only once in a while. Aim for low mercury containing fish such as salmon, sardines, squid, mackerel, prawns or whiting.
Zeaxanthin & Lutein, carotenoids that can be found in dark leafy greens, peas, summer squash, pumpkin, brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, carrots, and pistachios.
Beta carotene – carrots, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, rockmelon, pumpkin In general, the more intense the colour of the fruit or vegetable, the more beta-carotene it has.
Anthocyanins – are found in high concentrations in blackcurrants, blackberries and blueberries, as well as in aubergine (in the skin), red cabbage, cranberries and cherries.
Lycopene – is found in tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guava, papaya, sea buckthorn, wolfberries.