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Alkaline Diet - Review, Research, Food List
If you've been following celebrity food trends, you'll know that the alkaline diet and water always have been the talk of the town.
But is it all worth the hype? This article demystifies if you've been living under a rock or don't know much about this diet.
Alkaline Diet Review and Research
The alkaline diet is based on maintaining the correct body pH. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14 – anything above 7 is alkaline, while anything below is acidic. On average, the body pH is about 7.40, without any infections or disease.
The proponents of the alkaline diet claim that food alters the pH of our bodies. It builds on the theory of acid ash or alkaline ash - food is metabolized to create a waste, i.e., ash that is either acidic or alkaline, depending on the nature of the food. It doesn't necessarily mean that the foods are acidic in their original or raw state. Acid ash is considered toxic, creating an environment for microbes to breed, whereas alkaline-ash safeguards the body. Foods thought to cause acid ash include meat, poultry, eggs, alcohol, fish, and grains. Legumes, egetables, fruits, and nuts are considered to produce alkaline ash, whereas starches, natural fats, and sugar are neutral but should be limited as far as possible.
Expert scientists and doctors have not conducted any conclusive studies that back claims of an alkaline diet either maintaining an alkaline pH in the body or staving off pathogens responsible for many diseases.
On the contrary, it has been scientifically proven that what we eat does not affect body/blood pH, which regulates itself. It has no connection to the acidic pH of the stomach, which has hydrochloric acid and is a normal and necessary part of digesting and breaking down food. Different body parts have varying pH levels that cater to particular needs and processes. Food can only alter the pH of our saliva or urine. The blood pH changes minutely in rare conditions, such as if a person is starving, severely intoxicated, or very sick from complications like diabetes or other diseases. In such cases, the body produces excess blood acids causing fatal ketoacidosis.
The postulation that acidic urine indicates a diseased body or acidic blood is incorrect. It is a very natural function that happens in every single body. Urine acidity only means that acidic ions from food are being removed – a brief reflection of what you ate - and has no implications for overall health in terms of a more significant impact on the body. Blood pH is regulated by the kidneys and respiratory system, which release bicarbonate ions that neutralize and excrete the acid in acid homeostasis.
An alkaline diet does not help prevent issues like osteoporosis either, as widely claimed. Alkalizing proponents believe that acid production leaches out chemicals like calcium from the bones. But the kidney-respiratory system removes any acidic ions from foods you eat through carbon dioxide breathed out and urine. Bone mineral density is determined by factors like protein collagen availability, orthosilicic acid, and ascorbic acid levels, which don't depend on food acidity.
Supporters of this diet have also built upon research that cancer cells tend to increase in acidic environments. Making the body alkaline is thought to prevent cancer. The acidity of your diet does not impact the growth or retardation of cancer. Tumors create an acidic environment where cancer cells thrive, not the other way around. This cell proliferation with acid cannot be reversed by diet. Most cancers in humans occur in alkaline body pH.
Alkaline Diet – Food Lists
Having gone through what the alkaline diet doesn't promise, let's look at the possible benefits. This diet supports a shift toward predominantly plant-based food habits instead of refined starches, red meats, and sugar that commonly cause health problems. Alkaline diets don't beat cancer or have any tremendous, transformational impacts. But a healthy diet will only harm you if you do it. You will probably become healthier on this fiber and nutrient-rich diet, low in trans fats and processed items. It helps reduce inflammation and heart health; you may lose weight too.
When moving to this diet, supplement lost nutrients with substitutes. For example, the alkaline diet does not include natural fats, e.g., omega-3 fatty acids, that are vital for neural and cognitive function. So, you need to get them from alternative sources.
Alkaline water has the same benefits as drinking regular water. But electrolyzed, ionized, and spring alkaline water has more minerals, and its pH is alkalized. At most, it gives you a quickly absorbed boost of nutrients and antioxidants. But alkaline water has no proven application in treating illnesses, except perhaps in helping to reduce acid reflux.
Below are some foods apt for the alkaline diet −
Even if fruits and vegetables are acidic, they have an alkalizing effect on the body.
Fruits, e.g., citrus, apples, berries, plums, bananas, and rhubarb
Vegetables − Green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, onions, spinach, lemon, avocado, and tomato
Most condiments, herbs, and spices are all right, e.g., garlic, ginger, jalapenos, and basil.
Oils − Flax, coconut, hemp seed, and avocado oils
Grains − quinoa/buckwheat
Milk − almond/soy or goat's milk- if necessary, as a cow's milk substitute.
Can consume nuts, e.g., almonds, Brazil nuts, and pecans − (slightly acidic and better restricted to infrequent consumption)
The alkaline diet is a shift to a more sustainable way of life. If you want to transition to conscious eating patterns, this trend may be right for you.
But if you're expecting health miracles – this diet isn't a magic wand!
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