Another theory for the cause of inflammation is an unbalanced pH level. [Refresher: pH ranges from 0-14, anything under 7 is acidic, anything over 7 is basic/alkaline, 7 = neutral]. Human blood maintains a slightly alkaline pH level of 7.35-7.45.
(Researching the alkaline diet has proven to be one of the most frustrating things because there seems to be very little consensus when it comes to the specifics. Please understand that I am going to do my best to convey my understanding on the topic. I think the main idea is very important and could be extremely valuable.)
Different foods have different pH levels. Whenever we eat foods that are highly acidic, our bodies have to work extra hard to regain the proper pH level. It actually takes ten times the alkalinity to neutralize a 1-point jump on the pH scale (ie. from 6 to 7). Looking at it this way, it's not hard to imagine the toll it could take on a body that is full of acidity. (And yes - you can have a pH that is too basic. The important thing is to keep a balance between the acidic and basic foods.)
Now this is where it gets tricky. There are many many charts floating around the internet that cannot seem to agree on what foods fit into what category, acidic or alkaline (besides that a cucumber is neutral). It makes it hard when you are trying to create a 80/20 or 60/40 alkaline/acid diet. However, the basics are this:
Acidic foods tend to be dairy products, grains, meat, salt, sugar, processed foods, alcohol, etc...
Alkaline foods include vegetables, fruits, nuts, tubers, legumes, leafy greens, wheatgrass, sprouts, avocados, fresh juice, green smoothies, low sodium soups, and so on.
There are also special water filters and water drops available to make your water slightly more alkaline. They tend to be expensive, but many people claim that they help immensely. Just remember to do your homework.
When you get down to it, it's common sense. Chocolate bar or apple? Soda or water? We know which is better for us, and now we know why. I think it's important to make more healthy choices more often, rather than try to re-structure your entire lifestyle all at once. Give your body a little help so it doesn't have to work so darn hard!