An alkaline diet, also known as an acid alkaline diet, is one that is designed to balance pH in the body. All foods have an acidic or basic effect on the body, which can alter the body’s pH.
A pH of less than 7 is acidic, while a pH greater than 7 is basic, or alkaline. The body’s natural pH is slightly alkaline; the theory behind the acid alkaline diet is that eating too many acid-forming foods can disrupt the body’s natural processes and lead to detrimental health effects.
Many of the foods found in the standard Western diet are acid-forming. Reducing the formation of acid in the body and consuming more foods that are alkaline in nature is said to help individuals lose weight and reduce their risk of serious health conditions, including heart disease and cancer.
What foods can you eat on an acid alkaline diet?
To keep the body’s pH neutral, the acid alkaline diet recommends eating a plant-based diet high in fruits and vegetables. Most fresh fruits and vegetables are alkaline in nature. Some of the highest alkaline foods include tomatoes, avocados, limes, cucumbers, kale, wheat grass, radishes, beets, and grapefruit.
Other alkaline foods include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, berries, oranges, peaches, pears, nectarines, pineapple, and watermelon. Alkaline forms of protein include almonds, chestnuts, fermented tofu, and whey protein powder. An alkaline diet may also include spices such as chili pepper, cinnamon, ginger, herbs, and curry.
Foods such as dairy products, meat, sugar, refined carbohydrates, canned foods, frozen foods, and other forms of processed, packaged foods are acidic and should be minimized or completely removed from the diet. Many advocates of acid alkaline diets also recommend eliminating alcohol and caffeine. Soft drinks, cocoa, coffee, and vinegar should be avoided, as well as aspirin, over-the-counter drugs, and other chemicals. Dietary sodium should also be kept to a minimum.
This type of diet may be difficult for many people to adopt due to its emphasis on fresh foods and the elimination of meat, dairy, and processed foods. You may need to spend more time planning, preparing, and shopping for meals than you are accustomed to.
What are the benefits of an acid alkaline diet?
Proponents of an alkaline diet claim that too much acidity, or acidosis, is a contributing factor to many major health conditions, including chronic fatigue, poor digestion, weight gain, aches and pains, and many other symptoms commonly associated with aging. Acidosis is also associated with heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and even cancer.
When your body contains too much acid, it will attempt to stabilize blood pH by releasing stores of alkaline minerals, including calcium and magnesium, from the bones. This can lead to bone loss and increase the risk of osteoporosis over time. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables has numerous health benefits. Phytochemicals, or nutrients found in plant foods, can help your body build healthy cells and protect against disease.
Decreasing your intake of animal-based proteins and dairy products can reduce the risk of kidney stones. A diet high in fruits and vegetables can help improve bone strength and heart health, while reducing your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates such as pasta and white bread can help with weight loss or weight management.
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