The Alkaline Diet has been attracting lots of attention in recent years as people around the world are experiencing the amazing health benefits of eating more high alkaline foods. Not only do alkaline foods contain plenty of beneficial nutrients, but they also help the body better regulate and balance itself. The more in-balance your body is, the better it can repair itself and fight off disease. From my own personal experience, I’ve had injuries, aches, pains and skin blemishes clear right up after adopting the diet. But just what is all this stuff about alkalinity and pH, anyway? Keep reading to learn about the numerous benefits of the Alkaline Diet.
High Alkaline Foods and pH
When our body digests what we eat, it burns the food and leaves an ash residue. A food’s alkalinity is determined by how alkaline this ash is.
For example, citrus fruits are known to be acidic, yet are considered highly alkaline-forming because their ash residue has a high pH level. That means that if you’re a fruit lover, there are more than enough alkaline fruits to choose from. And pretty much all vegetables are also known to be alkaline-forming.
According to the theory, the more alkaline-forming foods one eats, the more one’s pH level will rise. A pH level of 7 is neutral while anything above is alkaline and anything below is acidic.
Things get a little bit more complicated from there, as there are a number of different viewpoints even amongst proponents of the diet. One camp theorizes that disease thrives in an acidic environment and therefore we must “alkalize” ourselves to eliminate the potential for disease and other health ailments to arise.
Others argue that the body is always self-regulating itself and that while the stomach, for example, must be very acidic to break down food, the blood always maintains a pH balance of between 7.35 – 7.45.
Even if our blood pH always remains at this level, working to maintain this pH balance can sometimes drain a high amount of energy and mineral resources from the body. By consuming more high alkaline foods, our bodies won’t need to work as hard to maintain this constant balance. Instead, more energy can be devoted to self-healing and disease prevention. This is one of the main benefits of the Alkaline Diet.
Disease Prevention and Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Adopting the Alkaline Diet is also one of the best ways to fight against various types of inflammation. These days it’s no secret that inflammation is a leading indicator for a growing list of chronic health conditions. Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders and even cancer, have all been linked to inflammation.
The good news is that awareness of chronic inflammation is growing, and with awareness comes solutions. Many have come to realize that high alkaline foods often also contain major anti-inflammatory properties as well.
Another huge component of the Alkaline Diet is simply avoiding the consumption of too many acid-forming foods, which are known to cause inflammation. Acid-forming foods can greatly overwhelm the kidneys, a vital organ for maintaining proper blood pH homeostasis.
The kidneys must draw from the alkaline mineral supply of our blood and tissue in order to neutralize excess acid. By avoiding acid-forming foods and eating more alkaline, we reduce the workload required by the kidneys to eliminate hydrogen atoms in their pH buffer process.
Other Nutritional Benefits of the Alkaline Diet
Putting all this stuff about pH aside for a moment, another great benefit of the alkaline diet is that pretty much all alkaline-forming foods are also good for you in many other ways. We all know that fruits and vegetables are healthy because they contain so many of those good vitamins and minerals your body loves and craves.
One high alkaline ‘superfood,’ spinach, contains what are known as glycoglycerolipids which have powerful anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects. Another highly regarded alkaline food, beets, have a high concentration of betaine, an amino acid that has been proven to ward off inflammation markers in healthy adults. Alkaline-forming flaxseeds are known to contain large amounts of the highly beneficial and anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acid.
The 80/20 Rule
Proponents of the diet uphold that the best way to achieve balance in our metabolic system is by eating 80 percent alkaline-forming foods and 20 percent acid-forming foods. The 80/20 rule strikes the happy medium to both acquire the minerals we need and to maintain pH homeostasis.
To reap the full benefits of the diet, it’s best not to consider your 20 percent acid-forming food allotment as a free pass for a full day of donuts and beer, with the rest of your week eating leafy greens. The best way to utilize the 20 percent acid-forming foods is by eating healthy proteins, fibrous beans and detoxifying mushrooms. But sure, treat yourself to some comfort food once in awhile as long as you’re keeping yourself in balance overall!
In general, the list of acid-forming foods includes most meats, sugar, processed foods and refined carbohydrates. Examples of alkaline-forming foods are nearly all fresh fruits and vegetables, a wide variety of nuts and seeds, salmon, quinoa, coconut oil and more. You can find some very comprehensive lists online, but keep in mind that some of them slightly contradict one another.
Some proponents of the diet advise against eating too much fruit on the diet due to fruit’s natural sugar content. Myself and others, in contrast, highly recommend eating lots of fruit. Fruit contains many beneficial nutrients and your body processes fruit in its whole form (which is full of fiber) very differently from how it would process something like a candy bar or sugary drink.
Getting Started With the Alkaline Diet
If you like what you’ve read so far and want to give the Alkaline Diet a go, or simply want to learn more about it, I have a couple of more in-depth resources on the topic. If you haven’t yet subscribed to our mailing list, you might be interested to know that we’re giving away a free alkaline recipe book to all subscribers. Inside you’ll find 20 delicious recipes, along with a detailed list of both alkaline-forming and acid-forming foods.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an inflammation-related disease or ailment, I’ve written a book which specifically addresses the anti-inflammatory benefits of the Alkaline Diet. Inside you’ll learn how not all inflammation is obvious and how some inflammation often remains hidden beneath the surface.
You’ll also learn about the differences between the Alkaline Diet and the basic Anti-Inflammatory Diet, and how to utilize both for amazing results. In addition, you’ll find information on how to test for both inflammation and pH.
Remember, even if you’re not suffering from a serious health ailment, eating more high alkaline foods can greatly increase your energy levels, mental clarity and overall wellbeing. And the best part? Everything you need for the diet can easily be found at your local supermarket!