Top 3 Most Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Chances are, you’ve probably heard the word inflammation thrown around in natural health circles. It’s a buzz word that’s gotten a lot of attention in the scientific community as we try to better understand the role it plays in human health.


If you’ve ever twisted your ankle, you know that pretty soon after the adrenaline and shock wears off, your ankle is in throbbing pain and very swollen. This is your body’s natural defenses kicking in— and it’s totally normal. The inflammation (or swelling) helps defend against injury and turns on a variety of healing mechanisms the body has to heal itself so it can return to a state of symbiosis, or balance.

So it’s not black or white— inflammation is not inherently bad. However— too much internal inflammation can be very bad. This type of inflammation might not be visible like a swollen ankle, and instead shows up on lab tests and in the many symptoms of inflammation, such as weight gain and some diseases. 

Inflammation can be caused by many lifestyle factors including:

  1. Toxicity — from misuse of drugs, the environment or bad habits like smoking.

  2. Diet — from a highly processed, standard American diet high in sugar.

  3. Stress — from unresolved emotional trauma, stressful work, and sleep deprivation.

Too many times, people who are experiencing inflammation will treat the symptom, without ever treating the underlying cause. This is why I tell patients trying to lose weight, to focus less on calories in and out or what the scale says— and focus more on adding powerful, anti-inflammatory foods that are both filling and healing.

Diet is an extremely powerful and effective way to treat inflammation. Below are our top three anti-inflammatory food recommendations to add into your diet starting today. Worry less on restriction or removing foods, and just focus on adding these. 

1. Turmeric 


Turmeric is an Indian spice, known for it’s strong, earthy flavor. It contains a nutrient called curcumin, a very powerful anti-inflammatory agent known to help with inflammation-caused issues like arthritis, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. It is a very trusted and effective remedy— even for acute conditions, like headaches or athletic injury.

When combined with piperine from black pepper— curcumin absorption is improved by up to 2,000%! While adding these to food can be very healthy, taking a concentrated, isolated supplement version can be much more effective.

Functional Supplement Recommendation — Turmero. A powerful blend of concentrated turmeric and black pepper, designed to give you the maximum benefit of these food pairings in a convenient capsule form. Available in clinic only to current patients, call to inquire.

2. Berries & Grapes

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Anthocyanins are an anti-oxidant found in berries like blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. They are known to be anti-inflammatory and reduce risks for certain diseases. Similarly, grapes are an excellent source of resveratrol, a similar compound which fights inflammation. 

Functional Supplement Recommendation — Resvero. A proprietary blend of Resveratrol, a powerful anti-inflammatory phenol founds in grapes, in a convenient capsule form. Available in clinic only to current patients, call to inquire.

3. Leafy Greens


Leafy greens, like spinach, mixed greens, kale, and broccoli contain vitamins A, C, E, K and many B vitamins. Greens also contain carotenoids antioxidants. These protect your body’s cells and can contribute to blocking early stages of cancer. Also, the abundance of fiber in greens, helps populate your gut full of balanced flora and keep you satiated longer and regular. Inflammation starts in the gut— so eating fiber rich, green foods is an awesome way to fight inflammation and stay healthy.

Functional Supplement Recommendation — Nourish Greens. A powerful blend of concentrated greens, designed to give you the maximum benefit of leafy greens in a convenient powder form. Available in clinic only to current patients, call to inquire.


At Deep Roots Natural Medicine, we employ various methods such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture and Functional Medicine to help patients transform their outcomes. If any of these foods or supplement recommendations feel right to you, contact us today at 312-759-7600 to schedule a consultation.

Yes- Even in the Summer, Your Vitamin D is Low!

Chances are, you need Vitamin D Supplements— even in the summertime!

Sunlight is the most common and efficient source of vitamin D. We often think were getting enough vitamin D (cholecalciferol) from the sun in the summer months alone but through clinical experience and testing vitamin D levels through the blood, it’s usually not enough! Ideally we want our functional levels of vitamin D at about 80 ng/mL and others with autoimmune issues at 100 ng/mL. Unfortunately most patients tested are falling below 30 ng/mL and supplementation through a good sourced, highly absorbable form of vitamin D is needed.

How Vitamin D Helps Us

  • Maintain the health of bones and teeth.

  • Support the health of the immune system, brain, and nervous system.

  • Regulates insulin levels and aid diabetes management.

  • Support lung function and cardiovascular health.

  • Influence the expression of genes involved in cancer development.

Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency May Include

  • Becoming sick or contracting an infected more often

  • Fatigue

  • Painful bones and back, muscle pain

  • Depressed mood

  • Impaired wound healing

  • Hair loss

Food Sources

The richest food sources of vitamin D are fish oil and fatty fish including cod liver oil, herring, sockeye salmon, sardines, tuna, and eggs. 

Left untreated, chronically low levels of Vitamin D can lead to issues of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis, and neurodegenerative diseases.

In a randomized clinical trial, sunlight exposure or vitamin D supplementation for vitamin D-deficient non-western immigrants: a randomized clinical trial.  States, “Vitamin D supplementation is more effective than advised sunlight exposure for treating vitamin D deficiency” Although several other research sources still support moderate amounts of sunlight in addition to vitamin D supplementation.

Sensible sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes is recommended 2-3 times per week allows most people to produce sufficient vitamin D, but vitamin D breaks down quite quickly, meaning that stores can run low, especially in winter.

What is the Right Amount of Vitamin D:

Each person should be familiar with their current vitamin D levels to know if they require maintenance or loading dose based on those levels. By working with a Functional Medicine Practitioner to check these levels and others can help you improve your quality of health. Also help you in choosing appropriate dietary recommendations and taking the correct supplements. 

Summer is Almost Here (And What That Means for your Health!)

As the days begin to warm, the spring showers turn into sunshine and the trees get their full canopy back, summer in Chicago has returned! Whether it’s the first BBQ of Memorial Day weekend or fun summer plans, you will soon find yourself back in the swing of summer.

Although this is a glorious change after a long winter and spring— sometimes in the excitement of the new season and amazing weather, we make choices that contradict our health commitments and wellness routines. A few examples come to mind…

  1. Overeating BBQ foods, under-eating vegetables…

  2. One (or two) too many alcoholic beverages…

  3. Forgetting to wear sunscreen…

  4. Not drinking enough water…

When thinking about a healthy lifestyle, it’s totally normal to follow the 80/20 rule. Meaning, 80% of your time is spent following “the rules” so to speak, of your health journey. The remaining 20% is spent being more flexible and lenient. Proponents of this philosophy understand that life happens— and sometimes we need to let go and have some fun! Which brings me to my first tip on how to stay on track this summer:

1. Plan your social calendar in advance!

Whether digital or with a pen and paper— get a calendar and plan out all the social events you have this summer. Getting organized about what obligations you have will provide clarity when planning the rest of your week. This way there’s no excuse not to pre-plan your workouts, grocery store trips, meal prepping and personal down time. When there is a plan in place, we can anticipate that 80/20 lifestyle and consciously make choices, knowing you’re still on your healthy life path.

2. Make an eating plan for social events, and stick to it!

Think about the events you’ll be at. Make sure you’re satiated and your hunger is stable throughout the day so you don’t make decisions from a ravenous mood! Is your friend (bless his heart) like a really bad cook? Maybe eat a small meal before those plans, and stick to the veggies, fruits and simple foods. Or on the flip side, are you totally looking forward to dinner at your favorite restaurant with your friends? Plan ahead— get your workouts in, eat accordingly and come a little hungry so you can really savor every single bite.

3. You know your limits, so honor them!

When it comes to alcohol— you know what your limits are. No one ever wants to be “that” person. So, if you’re going to be drinking, eat something before and keep track of your drinks. Have a plan, like two glasses of wine, and then cut yourself off. Or, just nurse a glass of your favorite drink while everyone else has several. Even with food— understand your limits. Maybe a scoop of your favorite ice-cream is ok this summer— but two scoops or more will hurt your stomach. Remember your boundaries and stick to them. Get friends and family together and hold each other accountable!

4. Treat yourself like someone you love and care about!

Self care is such an important topic these days. We seem to understand as a culture, that we need to prioritize self care, yet— when it comes to basic things like drinking enough water, wearing (non-toxic) sunscreen or getting enough sleep we sometimes fall asleep at the wheel. Imagine it’s your son, daughter, best friend or parent. Would you want them properly hydrated, protected and rested? Then treat yourself that way! This summer, make a conscious effort to slow down, get back to basics and make sure you are taken care of.

And as always— here at Deep Roots Natural Medicine, we’re ready to help you take strides this summer towards your natural health goals. We offer acupuncture, cupping and a variety of functional medicine services including lab testing (blood, stool, food allergy and hormonal) plus full lab evaluation, nutritional supplementation, health and lifestyle coaching and natural weight loss support. Call us at 312-759-7600 today or email to set up an appointment! We look forward to seeing you this summer.

Is Healthy Weight Loss Possible?


For many of us our goal in the New Year is to lose weight and start feeling healthy again. Unfortunately, many people will become frustrated as these fad diets give us false energy, starve us from needed nutrients and never address the underlying root of the problem. Healthy weight loss is possible—but we need to look deeper and gain a better understanding of what’s going on inside.

It could an underlying issue related to hormones, a weakened immune system, toxicity in the liver, metabolic system or decreased “good” bacteria in the gut and micro-biome. Deep Roots Natural Medicine takes a deep dive into all of this and educates you on exactly what’s happening with your body, why it’s happening and how we can help you achieve healthy weight loss and a happier you! 

 The United States contains one of the highest percentage of obese people in the world. An obese person in America incurs an average of $1,429 more in medical expenses annually. We want to continue helping others find their way to better health for the long term and reverse these statistics. 

 Here are a few easy tips to help get you started:

1)  Increase your fiber consumption by eating a large portion of vegetables with every meal.

2)  Eat healthy fats earlier in the day to help keep your brain sharp and focused for the day.

3)  Have fruits or carbs later in the day to help you sleep.

4)  Exercise when you wake to boost your cortisol levels naturally, 15 minutes or more and can be a simple walk or going to the gym.

5)  Drink more water. Mix it up by adding lemon, lime, cucumber or basil.

6)  Limit your intake of dairy, bread, sugar and processed foods.

 Our personally customized plans are for motivated patients looking to lose weight naturally, safely, and effectively. Our treatments include acupuncture, functional medicine, health coaching, dietary recommendations, Chinese herbal medicine and high-quality whole food based supplements. Combined, these modalities work by reducing unhealthy cravings, anxiety, irritability and instead, increasing your energy. All of this makes it easier to achieve your goals toward a healthy lifestyle.

 Please reach out to us to schedule a consultation or get more information. Deep Roots Natural Medicine 312-759-7600

Finding Stress Relief with Natural Medicine

Acupuncture can naturally relieve stress

Acupuncture can naturally relieve stress

Stress is something we deal with on a daily basis. When we don’t manage our stress well it may begin to interfere with our lives and relationships. There have been studies showing the relationship between high stress levels, especially over long periods of time, may cause poor health, illness, inflammation and poor immune health.

Some common symptoms you may experience are:

  1. Anger

  2. Depression

  3. Anxiety

  4. Poor concentration

  5. Heartburn, digestive problems

  6. PMS, hormonal imbalance

  7. Insomnia

  8. High blood pressure

  9. Low energy

  10. Weight gain

Acupuncture works to manage stress by releasing endorphins and serotonins within the brain to create a deep relaxing affect on the body. Neuroimaging studies have shown that acupuncture calms areas of the brain that register pain and activates those involved in rest and recuperation. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we produce this effect by moving qi and blood in the body.

Functional lab testing allows us to view your overall health, an in-depth look at how all your organ systems are functioning .We look for patterns that give us more context about what's going on in your body. We understand how all of your body's systems influence each other and educate you in the process. We work to give you the appropriate herbal medicine, supplements and treatment to give you the most effective treatment strategy.

Quick relaxation techniques:

  1. Focusing on your breath- Close your eyes slightly, take a slow but deep breath in through your nose count to 3, hold your breath count to 6, breath out through your mouth count to 7. Repeat this 2 more time and use as often as needed.

  2. Take a short walk- the fresh air and movement will get the circulation flowing again. Don’t forget to breath in that fresh air along the way.

  3. Take a hot Epsom salt bath- add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt along with ½ c. apple cider vinegar, or your favorite essential oils. Soak for 20-30 minutes.

  4. Use a foam roller/ ball to work out the tension- start with the back, shoulders, legs and then hips. It’s a nice way to squeeze that tension out.

  5. What do you enjoy? Running, swimming, painting, crafts, etc. Make more time for this, we all deserve it!

How to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

It is possible to enjoy the holidays without sacrificing your health.

It is possible to enjoy the holidays without sacrificing your health.

‘Tis the season… for cookies, cocktails and home-cooking delights. The holidays are many things— inherently healthy is not one of them. The average American adult consumes a whopping 22 teaspoons of added sugars each day — pretty far off from the recommended 6 for women and 9 for men. It is the opinion of many healthcare professionals that even the recommended number of teaspoons is too high. If that’s the national average throughout the year, imagine how much it peaks during the holidays!

Instead of demonizing sugars and unhealthy foods, let’s keep them in perspective. It’s OK to have one of grandma’s famous Christmas cookies or toast champagne on the stroke of midnight— but the holidays shouldn’t just be about comfort eating and drinking. Focus on what truly matters to you. Is it being together with family, friends, or pets? Or is it about relaxing and taking a few well deserved days off work?

Remember to find ways to manage your stress around the holidays and follow these five tips to stay healthy.

1. Make greens and proteins a priority.

Between holiday office parties, ugly Christmas sweater parties and family dinners, there’s going to be many holiday foods (I’m looking at you mashed potatoes) that are delicious but have very little nutritional bang for your bite. Do yourself a favor during the day and load up on leafy greens, vegetables and clean proteins. That way, you’ve given your body nourishment, fiber and protein to keep your blood sugar stable and appetite in check. Scared of getting sick? Double up on your greens and ask us about herbs and supplements.

2. Feasting in the evening? Don’t show up starving.

The hungrier you are and the lower your blood sugar, the more disappointing hors d’oeuvres you’re going to eat. Eat normally during the day incorporating healthy fats to improve your satiety. Then, show up to your feast slightly peckish. Instead of overeating, load your plate with a variety of samples from each dish you love, instead of large entrees-sized portions. That way you get the experience of the fun holiday foods, without a massive commitment to them.

3. Carve out time for your workouts.

Fail to plan or plan to fail when it comes to exercise. The holidays are the most stressful and busy time of year so give yourself permission to go easy on yourself. Just showing up is half the battle. Schedule times before work, or on morning weekends to go to a class, do some cardio or weight lifting. Be realistic about how much sleep you need or how tired you are after work. Find three to five times in the week you can go and commit.

4. Get creative about replacements.

Don’t be afraid to start new traditions! Experiment in the kitchen with added sugar-free sweeteners, healthier ingredients and nutritious spins on traditional dishes. There are so many ways to recreate your favorite comfort foods and desserts while slashing their calories in half, drastically reducing sugars or replacing unhealthy ingredients with healthier ones. Start Googling recipes and stocking up on ingredients. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes — it’s the thought that counts.

5. Play the tape forward.

Savor the sweets and rich foods while you eat them. Remember to chew, taste and really be in the moment. So many times we inhale what’s on our plates without really taking time to enjoy the experience. When we savor our food, it lasts longer and so does the enjoyment. But if you find yourself wanting more and more, play the tape forward. After your fifth cookie, how are you going to feel? One minute after eating it? Ten? Twenty? One hour? Tomorrow? You already know how it tastes and you can always have more later. Sometimes thinking ahead to how it will make us feel brings us back to the moment. Get up, take a walk or clear the table and make a hot cup of tea.

Follow these tips and this holiday season and I guarantee that you’ll wake up in the new year relieved you put your health first. Have a happy holiday season and healthy New Year!

Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

Acupuncture can relieve low back pain and get you back to doing the things you love.

Acupuncture can relieve low back pain and get you back to doing the things you love.


Lower back pain can be triggered by structural injuries such as poor posture, trauma, overworking the muscles from physical activity and even long-term emotional stress.

It affects nearly 80% of the population at sometime in their life. For most it’s likely to develop gradually over time through poor body mechanics or may have started after an emotionally stressful time in your life. Acupuncture can help diminish and eliminate your lower back issues. It is a safe, nonsurgical, drug free approach and can also be used in conjunction with other therapies like cupping, gut sha, local electrical stimulation and/or customized herbal medicine.

Your acupuncture practitioner can go over what combination of therapies will work for you. If stress is a trigger, additional acupuncture points can be used to help treat stress or anxiety. Acupuncture has been shown to increase the circulation of blood in the area treated, decrease inflammation, calm areas of the brain that register pain and release endorphins (our bodies’ natural feel-good chemicals). The symptoms each patient is experiencing can be looked at differently person to person, as pain frequency, intensity, location and quality can differ in each patient.

After an exam, we will give you a comprehensive treatment plan developed for your unique symptoms as we gage your response time to treatment. Many patients start noticing relief after 1-2 treatments. Herbal formulas can also be recommended at this time. Other home recommendations will be given to further assist you in achieving a strong, healthy back and prevent further injuries from occurring. Recommendations may include exercise regimens, proper stretching and lifestyle adjustments.