Alkaline diet – Does it really work?
Alkaline diet, another diet that claims to be the ultimate health secret. Alkaline diet – does it really work? Before we get started you should understand what the alkaline diet is and what it claims to do. The idea behind the alkaline diet, is that your food can affect pH levels in the body. Your pH level, in turn, affects your overall health and well-being.
The Alkaline diet divides into three categories: acidic, neutral, and alkaline. All fad diets have benefits, or pros and cons, but as stated in my previous articles, a diet consisting of whole foods are always the best and healthiest choice when it comes to dieting. Although an Alkaline diet does have its benefits, I do recommend the alkaline diet to be used periodically, as I would recommend adding whole foods to your diet for life.
What does pH level mean?
pH is actually a spectrum, measured from 0 to 14. On the one end (0.0-6.9), you have “acidic”. On the other (7.0-14), you have “alkaline” or “base”. But what does this have to with your diet? When you eat something and digest it, your body doesn’t absorb everything. You produce what is called “metabolic waste” metabolic waste”, or as proponents of the alkaline diet plan call it, “ash”.
If you eat high acidic foods, the ash will be acidic. If you eat high alkaline foods, the ash will be alkaline. It’s important to maintain the relativity alkaline pH of our blood, at 7.365-7.4. The acid-ash diet theory believes that you can better manage your blood pH levels through an alkaline diet.
Alkaline diet good or bad
As with any diet plan there are always pro and cons. I guess we weigh them up to see if the diet is actually worth it. The alkaline diet comes with many benefits, but not because of a more alkalized blood pH level. Compared to most people’s diets, the alkaline diet has more fruits, veggies, and just overall healthier food. There’s just no proof that your diet can affect your body’s pH, or that an alkal
ine diet is inherently better than any other healthy, low-sugar, nutrient-rich diet.
And what about the alkaline diet’s side effects? While its good to reduce your intake of red meat and processed foods, restricting entire food groups like dairy and grains can negatively impact your body. There’s also a huge risk of malnutrition, especially if you’re not taking supplements or getting important nutrients like protein elsewhere.
Most of all, the alkaline diet just isn’t sustainable. For me and for most others. Shopping for fruits, veg, and protein powder can get quite expensive. And eating the same things over and over can get boring in the long run. With so many delicious wholefood recipes (Including meat and fish) out there it would be very difficult to stick to an alkaline diet for life. You can check out some delicious, healthy, low calorie recipes on my website.
Alkaline foods that will benefit your body
- Beet Greens: Beet greens the worlds most alkaline food. Although beet greens aren’t the most popular green in our diets, their high alkalinity score makes them one of the best additions to smoothies or stir-fries. In addition to being high alkaline, beet greens also have bitter quality that may help stimulate bile production to help better digest fats. Beet greens can replace any green in salads, soups or smoothies.
- Spinach: Spinach is another high alkaline food that is known to benefit bone health because of the calcium it contains. Because spinach is highly alkalizing, its often included in anti-cancer and cleansing juicing protocols.
- Kale: There’s are reason kale has been labeled as the new beef. It’s high in plant iron, calcium and vitamin K, which is said to help protect against many types of cancers. In addition to these health benefits, kale is another one of the world’s most alkaline foods.
- Swiss Chard: Swiss chard is another green that provides mega nutrition benefits with vitamins that support cellular health, such as vitamin K. Swiss chard also contains phosphorus and plant protein, and it leaves behind more alkalizing minerals than acidity when metabolised.
- Bananas: Bananas are another highly alkaline food that you won’t want to leave out of your diet. Bananas are also a great source of fiber, which help promote digestive regularity and sweep toxins out of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
- Sweet Potato: Although they’re higher in starch, sweet potatoes are an alkalizing food that provides your body with plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Because sweet potatoes are so high in fiber, they have less of a negative impact on blood sugar levels, since fiber helps slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream. Therefore, sweet potatoes are an excellent food when it comes to eating for energy and providing your body with a boost of alkaline nutrients.
- Celery: Aside from being alkalizing, Celery has additional cleansing properties. Since its mostly water, celery can easily help the body flush toxins. Celery is also a negative calorie food, which means it takes more calories to chew and digest than the total amount of calories it contains.
- Carrots: Carrots are high alkaline food that is famous for improving eyesight based on their vitamin A content. In fact, 1 cup of carrots contains more 300 percent of the daily recommended intake of beta-carotene, an antioxidant form of vitamin A. Beta-carotene can also help protect against cancer and help promote brighter, younger looking skin.
- Kiwi Fruit: Kiwi fruit is high alkaline food your cells won’t want to miss out on, because it also contains a plethora of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. And although oranges are famous for vitamin C content, kiwi fruit contains nearly five times the amount of vitamin C than an orange. Kiwi fruit is also a great source of fiber for improved digestion, as well as potassium for muscle function.
- Cauliflower: Cauliflower is an alkaline food that can also aid in hormone rebalancing when the body’s estrogen levels are too high. This is because cauliflower contains a nutrient called Indole-3-Carbinol (or I3C) that helps the body regulate estrogen levels. We come into contact with estrogen on a daily basis through estrogenic foods (such as soy), Chemicals in our environment (such as plastics) and pharmaceuticals drugs (such as oral contraceptives) High levels of estrogen are harmful to the body and can lead to weight gain, digestive symptoms such as bloating, as well as reproductive cancers and infertility.
The terms acid and alkaline water refer to the pH level of water-based solution. The pH scale runs from 0-14, with 0 being completely acidic, 14 being totally alkaline and 7 being neutral. Alkaline water has a pH level of up to 8 or 9. It can be naturally alkaline ( for example, spring water can contain minerals that make it more alkaline), or it can be ionised to make it that way.
The benefits of alkaline water can boost energy or hydration, aid in digestion, or strengthen bones because it neutralises acid in the body. One small study funded by an ionised/alkaline water company found that blood and urine pH increased after participants drank its water for two weeks compared with a non control group of people who drank non-mineralised bottle water. The values were still within normal ranges, however, there isn’t any evidence to suggest that these minor shifts would promote better health.
There is insufficient evidence to suggest that alkaline water helps protect you against cancer, or helps you with reflux, or bone health. Not only is alkaline water not helpful, drinking it may have drawbacks. Ionised or enhanced water isn’t necessarily purified. Make sure water you drink often is properly filtered and/or from a clean source without contaminants. Though enhanced water mat have some minerals or nutrients added to it, ionised or processed alkaline water that has been distilled or filtered via reverse osmosis may not contain any minerals, making it less nutritious.
Alkaline water isn’t necessarily better. Instead, you should focus on consuming water that’s filtered and contains minerals and making sure you’re getting enough of it. In most areas of the country, you can safely and inexpensively rely on tap water to fulfill your fluid needs.
Would I recommended an alkaline diet? yes and no. The alkaline diet just isn’t based on any scientific evidence. Eating healthy is a huge part of being healthy, but you don’t need to go the restrictive alkaline diet to reap the benefits. What an alkaline diet can do for you is get you to add more fruit and veg into your regular diet and can assist you in weight loss. Perhaps you can try the alkaline diet to shed a few quick pounds, and maybe incorporate the alkaline diet periodically to reap some benefits the alkaline diet can give you. But for overall health and a long term diet plan I would recommend a diet that consists of healthy fruit & veg, lean meats & fish, nuts & whole grains, beans & legumes and low fat dairy. Eat healthy and always control your calorie intake. If you have the time, please chime in with a comment.
Shawn founder of Weight Loss Pro