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How Does An Alkaline Diet Keep Us Healthy?

Health

How Does An Alkaline Diet Keep Us Healthy?

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hollywood actressJust like the craze for the latest spring collection every year, the world of nutrition seems to have its own food fads.

The craze has doubled with each celebrity opting for one diet or another to suit their upcoming movie’s look or may be, just to stay fit.

One such food fad that has been up voted by scores of Hollywood celebrities is the alkaline diet.

The A-list celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Victoria Bekham, Chris Hemsworth are all happy to sing praises about this one. They say it fantastically normalizes the ph balance of your body and boosts weight loss.

Now, with so much fuss around, its essential that we know how far does an alkaline diet live up to its claims and help you and me to stay in the health and fitness track.

alkaline diet healthy

The Science Behind This Diet

For this, we need to know a little bit of chemistry here. Since this diet basically claims to maintain the ph balance of our body, we need to know exactly what it is.

The ph balance is basically the acid and alkaline balance in our body. It is measured on the scale of 0 to 14, with zero meaning the highest acidic content and 14 meaning highest on the alkaline side and 7 indicates a neutral level.

Like everythinph scaleg else, our body needs to maintain this balance so that it doesn’t become too acidic or too alkaline. Each of these situations can affect our health otherwise.

The former condition can lead to a condition medically termed as acidosis, which results due to too much acid in the body fluids, and it affects the lungs and the kidneys, causing severe damage of your body cells.

Research reveals that the human body needs to maintain the ph level within the spectrum of 7.35-7.45 which means, slightly on the alkaline side.

Now, all kind of food are classified into two categories on this basis- acidic and alkaline. According to the proponents of this food fad, the type of food we eat, based on the ph level claims to affect the ph balance of your body. According to them, it is probably in your best interest to eat more alkaline foods and cut down on acidic foods to decrease your chances of several diseases.

Now, this is partly true, but not true in the sense that following this diet will help to maintain your ph balance, according to research.

What Does Research Say?

The opponents of this theory acknowledge that the type of diet can affect the ph balance in one’s urine but not the ph level of blood. According to them, the ph level of the blood remains static in the body. Even a slight shift of the ph balance between the range mentioned above, can prove to be fatal.[1][2][3]

Researchers remark that, since the ph level in our stomach is very acidic, so no matter what food we intake, it is broken down by stomach acid, which restores the body ph to its regular levels. So, whatever kind of food we intake, its ph level is irrelevant once it reaches down the intestine for absorption, irrespective of whether the food is acidic or alkaline.

Researchers, however, acknowledge that foods do leave an alkaline or acidic ash behind, which gets determined by the relative content of acid forming components such as sulphur and phosphate and alkalis such as magnesium, calcium and potassium.

Studies, though maintain that, an alkaline diet does not help in changing our blood ph levels. Research reveals no significant difference in the acid base of the blood when healthy individuals are fed mixed diets, both containing excessively acidic or alkali producing food.[4][5]

High doses may shift ph levels temporarily, but that too, not without causing gastrointestinal symptoms.[6]

So, Can This Diet Help Us After All?

So, what is the point of taking recourse to this diet if it doesn’t affect your ph levels.

Well, the bottom line is that, irrespective of what health advocates and researchers say, going for an alkaline diet wouldn’t be a bad idea after all.

asparagus broccoli saladAs a matter of fact, alkaline foods literally include all the healthy foods on the chart, that means if you follow this diet, you are automatically cutting out on the unhealthy.

And you get a chance to include the greens in your diet. That is because, majority of foods in the alkaline chart include green vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains.

So, any day, unprocessed food that naturally comes from the earth contributes to better health than dead meat, sugary and highly processed foods. Plus, they are low fat and contains less number of calories. Most alkaline foods are cholesterol free, have high water content and are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin A and C.

Hence, it is a no big surprise that the A-list celebrities chose this diet to stay lean with their greens. Following this diet would undoubtedly lead to a slimmer body and good overall health.

Alkaline Food List

To help you recognize the benefits that alkaline foods contain, I’d like to list out a few of them.

vegetables on the tableBrussel sprouts and Cabbage: Rich in antioxidants, vitamin A and C, and high in fiber content, these green foods are a must eat for everyone. Brussel sprouts are also a good source for iron.

Beetroot and Asparagus: Research says beetroot has the ability to fight cancer, and both these food are good sources of iron preventing you from anemia. Thus, an ideal food for women who are expecting.

Almonds and Amaranth: Rich in good fat, almonds are considered the food for the brain. Amaranth and almonds are both rich in protein and iron.

Artichokes and Basil Leaves: Both of these are excellent sources of Vitamin K, an often forgotten vitamin in our diet, which is crucial to our bone health and its optimal intake can prevent osteoporosis. Basil leaves are also an excellent source of vitamin A.

Avocado and Broccoli: Theses two foods fall in the list of superfoods as they are rich in anti-oxidants, Vitamin A and C. Avocados are also rich in fiber, so adding them in your diet will keep your cravings at bay.

Other healthy foods that fall in the alkaline chart include green beans, mint leaves, lettuce, leeks, lentils, celery, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage and many others.

Now, that you’ve gone through the list, it surely gives you the impression of a healthy diet, doesn’t it? So, there’s no harm if you wish to include some of them your diet. Id say the more the merrier. However, that surely doesn’t mean you should refrain yourself from meat and dairy completely. Why would they call it a balanced diet after all?

Related post: 15 Awesome Nutritional Guidelines To Make Your Meal Tastier

Reference:
[1]Remer T, & Manz F (1995). Potential renal acid load of foods and its influence on urine pH. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 95 (7), 791-7 PMID: 7797810. ^Back to Top^

[2]Koeppen, B. (2009). The kidney and acid-base regulation AJP: Advances in Physiology Education, 33 (4), 275-281 DOI: 10.1152/advan.00054.2009. ^Back to Top^

[3]Frassetto LA, & Sebastian A (2013). Commentary to accompany the paper entitled 'nutritional disturbance in acid-base balance and osteoporosis: a hypothesis that disregards the essential homeostatic role of the kidney', by Jean-Philippe Bonjour. The British journal of nutrition, 110 (11), 1935-7 PMID: 23769203. ^Back to Top^

[4]Tobey JA (1936). The Question of Acid and Alkali Forming Foods. American journal of public health and the nation's health, 26 (11), 1113-6 PMID: 18014534. ^Back to Top^

[5]Schwalfenberg, G. (2012). The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health? Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2012, 1-7 DOI: 10.1155/2012/727630. ^Back to Top^

[6]Carr AJ, Slater GJ, Gore CJ, Dawson B, & Burke LM (2011). Effect of sodium bicarbonate on [HCO3-], pH, and gastrointestinal symptoms. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 21 (3), 189-94 PMID: 21719899. ^Back to Top^

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