The Alkaline Diet: What Is It, and Is It Healthy?
Our bodies are naturally a slightly alkaline environment, and thus maintaining an overall blood pH of 7.36 is an essential part of leading a healthy life.
Unfortunately, the modern diet is increasingly rich in acid-forming foods, such as meat, dairy produce, grains and caffeinated drinks, all of which can adversely impact our bodies' overall pH levels.
The Importance of pH Balance
Upsetting our delicate acid-alkali balance by consuming too much of these foods – as well as inadequate amounts of alkaline-forming foods – can lead to a variety of problems.
Many leading experts in this field recommend that our diet consists of 80% alkaline residue foods and 20% acid residue foods. Unfortunately, our typical Western diet is probably in excess of 80% acid-forming and 20% alkali-forming.
Even a small deviation in blood pH towards acidity reduces the amount of oxygen being carried in our blood, inhibiting our ability to properly oxygenate our cells. The result of this can often be tiredness, poor immunity and a general feeling of being below par.
More importantly, inhibiting cell oxygenation by acidifying our bodies encourages harmful micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi to thrive. These harmful microbes – of which candida (thrush) is the best known – flourish in the lower oxygen conditions, feeding on sugars and dumping their toxic wastes in our body, further increasing acid load.
The smallest pH imbalance can wear us down, stressing the buffer systems that are often cited as fool proof countermeasures responsible for preventing blood pH from falling outside a very narrow band, leaving our bodies exhausted and weakened.
There is now an increasing belief that our body acid alkaline buffer systems are being severely stretched due to excessively acidic diets, high levels of stress and environmental pollution.
The toxic environment created by consuming large amounts of acid-forming food is also thought to play a part in encouraging the development of many serious health issues, such as osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, arthritis, kidney problems, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and many other health challenges.
Focusing on restoring and maintaining your body pH at the optimum value can provide you with significant benefits as far as your health and lifestyle is concerned.
Can the Alkaline Diet Drastically Improve Health?
The alkaline diet is a diet rich in essential alkaline nutrients, and low in acid residue foods. It helps balance your body’s pH levels, and aids elimination of the toxins which leave you feeling lethargic and sick.
Most people following the alkaline diet notice three immediate changes:
- Firstly, they notice increased energy levels and an improved sense of wellbeing. This is because the alkaline diet detoxifies your cells, ridding your body of the harmful acidic compounds created by stress, pollution and the over consumption of acid-residue foods.
- The second thing most people on the alkaline diet notice is that they are less prone to illness, and have a much greater resistance to colds and bacterial infections. This is because adopting the alkaline diet balances your body’s internal pH, enhancing oxygenation. A properly oxygenated body is not an environment that viruses, fungi and harmful bacteria can thrive in. By increasing your consumption of alkali-forming foods, you can help your body fight infection and boost your immunity.
- Many people also notice that adopting the alkaline diet results in loss of excess weight. Excess weight is regarded as an ‘acid’ problem and, as we balance our inner biochemistry, the body can then process the excess acid stored in fat deposits, resulting in weight loss.
The alkaline diet cleanses your body; it improves the health of the digestive tract and the urinary tract.
It takes the stress off natural pH buffers and balances your body’s pH helping to maintain a high level of wellbeing. It also promotes healthy, clean skin.
According to Susan Brown Phd, a medical anthropologist and New York State certified nutritionist who has written several books on the subject, following an alkaline diet reduces one's risk of developing osteoporosis.
In short: most people will benefit from the alkaline diet. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, fight a serious health problem or just lead a healthier, more productive life, the alkaline diet can restore your body's optimal pH balance and leave you feeling refreshed and re-energised.
Adopting the Alkaline Diet Couldn't Be Simpler
Following the alkaline diet simply means cutting down on acidic foods such as meat, dairy products, grains and sugars and focusing instead on alkaline produce such as green vegetables, nuts and fruit.
It does not mean ‘going vegan’ despite what you might read elsewhere. In fact, it doesn't really involve much in the way of sacrifice at all. Simple gradual changes to a more alkaline diet will bring significant rewards.
Typically, an adoptee of the alkaline diet would replace acid-forming foods with more healthy alternatives such as:
- Green Beans
All of which leave an alkali residue when metabolised, and help to balance the body’s pH: Balanced body pH brings many benefits when our blood and cells are properly pH balanced and oxygenated. Many of these foods are cruciferous vegetables, which also act as source of fibre, ensuring that your digestive system remains healthy.
A healthy digestive tract is essential for a healthy body. Nuts and seeds, a good source of alpha-linolenic acid, which is an important omega-3 oil, help us to remain healthy and ensure that we maintain high energy levels throughout the day.
Essential fatty acids are necessary to maintain the permeability and flexibility of cell membranes. Of course, a key part of an alkaline diet is proper hydration with good water. This is vital to keep the body properly hydrated, flush out acidic toxins and help the body’s energy at a very fundamental level.
It is generally recommended that for proper balance you should consume a diet of 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% acid-forming foods.
However, you should gradually reduce the worst offenders and substitute alkaline-forming foods in their place.
Alkaline Diet for Better Detoxification
The key to successfully detoxifying the body and optimising your pH levels is balance, and while many people claim we should completely cut chicken, fish and red meats from our diets in order to re-oxygenate cells and increase energy levels, we believe some small amount of these foods are still necessary for many people. Our metabolisms are all different and a one-size-fits-all approach is not sensible or appropriate.
Everybody is unique, and some people might need more protein than others, but we believe that this ratio of acid to alkaline foodstuffs will provide most people with all the essential nutrients they need, while making sure that harmful acidic compounds do not build up in the bloodstream and in the tissues.
Your body will need support with good water, plenty of green foods and healthy oils. New advances in these areas makes the adoption of an alkaline diet much, much easier and allows people to turn their biochemistry around quicker.
Recent advances in the understanding of body alkaline balance, and what people can do for themselves to achieve higher levels of wellness, offers a sensible approach to improve health, immunity and energy levels.
Interested in pursuing an alkaline diet? Feel free to contact us with any questions you might have.