The alkaline diet: What is it and does it work?

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The alkaline diet: What is it and does it work?

The alkaline diet is making news headlines. Why? Because the modern diet is increasing the acid content of our bodies. threatening our pH levels – the delicate but vital balance of alkali and acid in our systems. Let’s discuss the alkaline diet, how it works and if it’s worth it..

If you’re getting through your day on coffee, sweets, snacks, fast foods and after-work wine or beer (come on, we’ve seen those queues!), think twice. Your amazing body is, as they say, ‘a finely tuned machine’. It’s quite capable of maintaining that fine-tuning, and that includes the delicate job of balancing the levels of acid or alkaline (the pH levels) in its fluids and tissues.

Your body needs a tightly controlled pH level of 7.365 to 7.4 in its blood to function properly. If you eat poorly, the levels of acid in your system increase. That weakens your body’s defences against degenerative diseases such as bone loss, arthritis and muscle wasting, and even tumours. ‘Even very tiny alterations in the pH level of various organisms can cause major problems,’ says natural health practitioner Dr Josh Axe.

So what is an alkaline diet?

An alkaline diet helps balance the pH level of the fluids in your body, including your blood and urine. Your pH level is partially determined by the mineral density of the foods you eat, so eating an alkaline diet can help to:

  • Improve the ratio between potassium and sodium, which may benefit bone health, reduce muscle wasting, and ease other chronic diseases such as hypertension and stroke.
  • Increase magnesium – needed to activate vitamin D.
  • Improve the production of growth hormones and vitamin D absorption, which also help protect bones and ease other chronic diseases. Growth hormones also promote cardiovascular health, memory and cognition.
  • Help fight inflammation, and possibly help benefit certain chemotherapeutic agents that require a higher pH.

Wonder what ‘pH level’ means?

What we call pH is short for the potential of hydrogen, and is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of our body’s fluids and tissues. It’s measured on a scale from 0 to 14. The more acidic a solution is, the lower its pH (battery acid is 0; bleach has a pH of 13). The more alkaline, the higher the number is. pH levels vary throughout the body (the stomach is the most acidic area), but the optimal human body tends to be around 7.4.

We are what we eat

In the past two centuries, mass industrialisation of our food supply has disturbed the mineral balance in our diet. So the food we eat contains less potassium, magnesium and chloride, but far more sodium (salt) than before. Normally, our kidneys keep our levels of calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium stable. But a diet of overly acidic foods places a strain on this function.
We’re simply eating too many refined fats, simple sugars, sodium and chloride. And the result? We’re ageing faster, our organs are battling to work properly, our muscle strength is declining, and we’re losing bone mass. High acidity levels are robbing our bodies of vital minerals. And you know what? These conditions are avoidable…

Take our advice to improve alkalinity in your body:

  • Get fresh. Eat seven to nine servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. (You’ll find a comprehensive list here.)
    That includes all our favourites: avocado, baby potatoes, broccoli, bananas, ginger, garlic, lemons (yes!) and olive oil. Look to that perennial favourite – the Mediterranean diet.
  • Raw foods are the best. Most fruit and veg can be used fresh in salads – in fact, cooking depletes foods of their alkalising minerals. Tired of salads? Try steaming foods lightly. Juicing is good too, especially when you add fresh or powdered grasses – they’re a great source of chlorophyll, which helps alkalise the blood.
  • Up your intake of plant proteins. Eat nuts, especially almonds, seeds such as raw pumpkin seeds, and beans.
  • Exercise daily, but don’t spend hours at the gym.
  • Breathe deeply. You inhale oxygen and exhale acidic carbon dioxide. And relax too!

Foods to avoid

These foods contribute most to acidity and inflammation – cut them out if you already have acidity related conditions, or eat them in moderation to support your wellness:

  • High-sodium foods such as processed meats and cheeses.
  • High sugar / refinded carbohydrate containing processed breakfast cereals such as corn flakes, rice crispies, etc.
  • Eggs.
  • Caffeinated drinks and alcohol.
  • Pasta, rice, bread and packaged grain products. All grains, whole or not, create acidity. (Although barley and oats are only mildly acidic.)
  • Artificial sweeteners.
  • Trans fats, sugar, refined salts, refined foods, fast foods, takeaways, alcohol, tobacco, pizza, chips, chocolate, ice cream. You know the drill!

Chronic stress, not enough fibre, lack of exercise (or over-exercising), pesticides and pollution can also increase your body’s acid levels.

Support your body with whole-herb products

Whole-herb products may help balance your body naturally – in conjunction with a healthy diet, exercise and the recommendations listed above.

  • Turmeric may help alkalise your body, and has natural anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps your liver, digestion and metabolism. Get Turmeric capsuleshere.
  • Cayenne is highly alkaline, with natural anti-inflammatory properties. Get Cayenne capsules here.
  • Turmerynne™ combines both turmeric and cayenne with a shot of black pepper to aid absorption – perfect if you’d rather take just a single capsule. Get Turmerynne™ capsules here.
  • Ginger has a pH of 5.6 to 5.9, similar to that of figs, fennel, leeks, parsnips and romaine lettuce. Ginger also improves digestion and boosts blood flow. Get Ginger capsules here

Flora Force wishes you a healthy, energetic spring!

CAUTION

Consult your health practitioner before taking any herbal supplements.
  • Always consult your health practitioner before taking any herbal supplements, especially if you are taking other medication, and especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Acknowledgements & Photo credits

Article compiled for Flora Force by Judy Beyer.

References

  1. Axe, J. Alkaline diet: The key to longevity and fighting chronic disease? https://draxe.com/alkaline-diet/
  2. New Life Nutrition.
  3. Schwalfenberg, G.K.The alkaline diet: Is there evidence that an alkaline pH diet benefits health? Journal of Environmental and Public Health. 2012. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3195546/

Photo credits

    Photo courtesy of Congerdesign / Pixabay.com
By | 2017-10-03T14:29:03+00:00 October 3rd, 2017|General health, Immunity|