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|Improve Your Health Following the Alkaline Food Diet|
|Written by Jeff Behar, MS, MBA|
What is the Alkaline Diet?
An alkaline diet is a diet that emphasizes, to a varying degree, fresh fruit, vegetables, roots and tubers, nuts, and legumes. An alkaline diet is a diet that emphasizes preservation of health.
Many people believe that our modern day diet is the cause of a variety of health related conditions today that cause a variety of disease and conditions that many people suffer needlessly. As a result many people are not feeling their best or needlessly take medications that cause additional problems for the body.
With the change over time from a diet consisting of minimally processed plant and animal foods to a diet consisting more and more of refined grains, sugars, including milk, cheese and other milk products, and salts the typical Western diet became more acid-producing. Over this same time consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables decreased, which further made the Western diet acid-producing.
Your Body pH Affects EVERYTHING
pH control impacts every biochemical process in the body. When pH balance is off and the blood becomes more acidic:
The Theory Behind the Alkaline Diet
The theory behind the alkaline diet is that our diet should reflect a pH level of between 7.35 and 7.45 and be slightly alkaline.
Proponents of alkaline diets believe that a diet high in acid-producing foods is disrupts this balance and promotes the loss of essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium, as the body tries to restore equilibrium. This imbalance is thought to make people prone to illness
According to some alternative practitioners, the shift to an acid-producing diet is the cause of a number of diseases and chronic conditions.
Acidosis Health EffectsTo be to acidic in the body can have far reaching consequences. For example, if the blood becomes too acidic the body will balance the pH at all costs. This can lead to common symptoms which include but are not limited to:
The idea is this: the more symptoms, the more acidic you may be, and the more urgent it is for you to begin an alkalizing program.
Conventional Medicine vs. Natural Medicine
Although conventional doctors do believe that increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables and reducing one's intake of meat, salt, and refined grains is beneficial to health, most conventional doctors do not believe that an acid-producing diet is the foundation of chronic illness. In conventional medicine, there is evidence, however, that alkaline diets may help prevent the formation of
How to Determine If Your Body is not pH Balanced
When the body pH is out of balance it may respond with stomach upset and indigestion; confusion, anger, or irritability; food sensitivity and allergic reactions, recurrent infections; fatigue or depression, etc. Even external signs such as unexplained rash, acne, dark circles under eyes, cracked skin and nails, brittle hair, excess weight, etc. show that one's body is dealing with an imbalance. For example, the body produces fat to protect its vital organs from the damaging effects of acid. When one improves the diet with fresh, raw, alkaline foods, providing the nutrients essential to balance and strength, the body naturally repairs itself and comes into balance, achieving optimal weight on its own.
You can also test your pH levels to determine if your body's pH needs immediate attention. Blood tests and urine are an accurate way to test blood pH. Saliva test can also be done. Home pH test strips are available to determine your pH factor quickly and easily in the privacy of your own home.
Urine testing may indicate how well your body is excreting acids and assimilating minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. These minerals function as "buffers." Buffers are substances that help maintain and balance the body against the introduction of too much acidity or too much alkalinity.
Even with the proper amounts of buffers, acid or alkaline levels can become extreme. When the body ingests or produces too many of these acids or alkali's, it must excrete the excess. The urine is the perfect way for the body to remove any excess acids or alkaline substances that cannot be buffered.
Urinary pH should fluctuate between 6.0-6.4 in the morning and 6.4-7.0 in the evening. If the average urine pH is below 6.5 the body's buffering system is overwhelmed, a state of "auto toxication" exists, and attention should be given to lowering acid levels.
When you test your first urine of the morning, because this is urine that has been stored in your bladder during the night this first flow should optimally be between a pH 6.4 to 6.8. If your first urine pH is higher than 6.8 your alkaline buffers are sufficient to neutralize the acidic foods and drinks you ingested the day before. If your first urine pH is lower than 6.4, however, you are deficient in alkaline buffers such as bicarbonate, sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium.
To get your body pH back in line you need to move away from acidic foods and drinks and begin ingesting liberal amounts of green leafy vegetables, low sugar fruits and healthy polyunsaturated fats. If you opt to instead test your urine later in the morning after a first pass, do it before eating any food. Because this test will be after you have eliminated the stored urine which represents the acid load from the day before, the urine ph should be higher (above 7.2). If the pH is lower than 6.8 then you are in a state of latent tissue acidosis and you are deficient of alkaline buffers.
Low ph does not necessarily mean ingestion of just sugary carbs and acid drinks; it could also mean be from a high protein diet that is not appropriately balanced with the proper fruits and vegetables that can provide appropriate alkaline buffers. Most meats when digested lower body ph through the production of nitric, sulfuric, phosphoric and uric acids.
While the saliva also utilizes buffers just like the urine, it relies on this process to a much lesser degree. It instead relies more on activity of digestive enzymes in the body that are primarily manufactured by the stomach, liver and pancreas. Saliva pH reveals the flow of enzymes running through your body and shows their effect on all the body systems and your tissues.
Salivary pH should stay between 6.4 and 6.8. If the saliva pH is too low (below 6.5), the body may be producing too many acids or may be overwhelmed by acids because it has lost the ability to adequately remove them through the urine. If the saliva pH is too high (over 6.8), the body may suffer greatly, e.g. excess gas, constipation and production of yeast, mold and fungus.
How to Determine Your Body pH Level
The best time to test your pH is about one hour before a meal and two hours after a meal. I would recommend
doing the saliva and urine tests for 10 days in a row. Ignore the top
three and bottom three tests because they're extremes.
Average the remaining four to determine your pH. You can retest a few
weeks after changing your
pH Levels and What They Mean
Healthy ph Levels
If your urinary pH fluctuates between 6.4 to 6.8 in the morning and between 6.8 and 7.2 in the evening, your body is functioning within a healthy range.
If your saliva stays between 6.5 and 6.8 all day, your body is functioning within a healthy range.
Your pH should always
be between 7.2 to 8.4, right after meals and between 6.8 to 7.2 a
couple of hours after meals.
Getting Back on Track
Several studies have shown that physical activity and proper diet are effective interventions to many of the chronic diseases seen today.
Acid and Alkaline Minerals and Foods
To determine if a food is acid or alkaline, it is burned and the ash is mixed with water. If the solution is acid or alkaline then the food is called acid or alkaline. Ash is the mineral content of the food. Nutritionally important alkaline minerals include calcium (Ca+), potassium (K+), magnesium (Mg+), and sodium (Na+).
In regards to diet, it is important to
which foods create an acidic environment, and which foods help
counteract an acidic environment. Determining what foods are right for
your diet is not as straight forward as it seems. Food's acid or
alkaline-forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the actual
pH of the food itself. For example, grapefruits, lemons and limes are
very acidic, however the end-products they produce after digestion and
assimilation are very alkaline so they are alkaline-forming in the
body. Likewise, meat will test alkaline before digestion but it leaves
very acidic residue in the body so, like nearly all animal products,
meat is very acid-forming.
The following is a brief
summary of some specific foods and their effect on the body when
List of Alkaline and Acid Foods:
Tips to Restore Acid/Alkaline Balance in Your Body
If your saliva and urine are too acid you would benefit from increasing the alkalinity of your body. Ways to do this include:
Eat a balanced diet. The first step however to eating a properly ph balanced diet is to understand which foods create an acidic environment, and which foods help counteract an acidic environment. Determining what foods are right for your diet is not as straight forward as it seems. Food's acid or alkaline-forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the actual pH of the food itself. For example, grapefruits, lemons and limes are very acidic, however the end-products they produce after digestion and assimilation are very alkaline so they are alkaline-forming in the body. Likewise, meat will test alkaline before digestion but it leaves very acidic residue in the body so, like nearly all animal products, meat is very acid-forming.
It is important to remember that you need to eat a balanced diet. While we suggest keeping an eye on your food intake for how it affects your body, we are not suggesting eliminating all acid producing foods. This would also be unhealthy, Some acid producing foods provide the body with important micronutrients and macronutrients. If you were to cut out all acid producing foods you probably would not get enough high quality complete protein. The key here is balance. Your goal should not be to eliminate acid producing foods, but to instead control your food intake and shift the overall
balance of your diet from acid-forming foods to one of alkaline friendly foods. .For a list of foods and drinks ranked by the ph, alkaline-acid effect on the body, click here.
Most people believe that "acidic" fruits like lemons, limes and low sugar grapefruits are acidic and will acidify the fluids of the body. This however is incorrect. The citric, lactic, and other acids in such fruits exist primarily in their anionic form, especially as their Na+ and K+ salts (e.g., potassium citrate or calcium ascorbate). Following absorption, these anions are metabolized in the body to bicarbonate (HCO3) and therefore will alkalize -- not acidify -- the blood and tissues. Alkalinization occurs even though the fruits pH in vitro is typically low (4 pH), because the free protons are more than offset by the generate bicarbonate -- electrons. So, until you know your food phH effects, you may want to consult a Alkaline- Acid Food Chart, like the one online here.
Eat mostly alkaline foods. The general "rule of thumb" is to eat 20% acid foods and 80% alkaline foods. Consume higher alkaline foods such as green leafy vegetables, broccoli, spinach, as well as mild alkaline fruits,and vegetables. You do not have to be a vegetarian to gain the alkalizing benefits of fruits and vegetables. Just a handful of raisins, two dates, or a small banana each provide more than 300 mg of potassium. In fact it takes just about 35 percent of total calories as fruits and veggies to produce a net alkaline load.
There are many good alkalizing water machines out there at a fair price.High quality water ionizers can create high alkaline water that you can test and see that the pH is indeed alkaline. We checked them all out and came up with a list of 3 good units that really do the job. Each of the higher quality machines come with various filters that can also remove many low level contaminants that are allowable, within the public drinking water supply.
water has several advantages over the top selling bottled waters, as
well as your tap water. Besides being cleaner, alkaline (aka Kangen)
has exceptional hydrating qualities. These hydrating qualities enable
the body to deliver nutrients
more efficiently at the cellular level. Claims are also made that this
also help detoxifies the cells. The machine we purchased generates
Ionized water with the highest anti-oxidant qualities of
any machine tested. The process creates an abundance of negative ions.
It is believed that these negative ions
neutralize free radicals which are known to contribute to aging and
disease and they also energize the body.
The ionizer we purchased beats the Enagic model on several fronts, and
your cost will be half that of the Enagic unit, and you will not be
disappointed. The unit we purchased comes with a
5 year warranty, free delivery, and the company has , so been
manufacturing and distributing alkaline water ionizers to doctors and
the public for 12 years. The company stands behind their product. They
are totally reputable, and not a multi-level marketing (MLM) group
selling $2000 dollar units for $4000 so they can pay the 8 levels of
the MLM pyramid..If
you would like to know more about this machine, and would like a great
deal on it, just contact us.
Avoid or at least limit "strongly acid" drinks. Coffee
and sodas are highly acidic and should be avoided when possible.
Consider this, most sodas have a pH of around 2.0 to 2.3. That makes
sodas 100,000 times more acidic than water which generally has a pH of
7.0, which is neutral. Is this truly a surprise when phosphoric acid is one of the main ingredients?
Limit artificial sweeteners. Artificial
chemical sweeteners like NutraSweet, Equal, or aspartame, are extremely
acid-forming. Consider natural sweetener stevia instead.
Just like it is not healthy to be too acidic, it is also not healthy to be too alkaline. Some tissues and fluids in the body are normally alkaline, some acid. The body is constantly working to adjust to the environments we put it through so that it keeps its internal environments at the correct pH. For example, the stomach and large intestine must be acidic to breakdown food. Blood pH is the best indicator of internal balance- it is slightly alkaline at about 7.3. However, as one becomes more acidic, the blood increases in alkalinity, a protective mechanism, retaining alkaline salts to offset the increase in tissue acidity. Therefore, if the blood is too alkaline, it is an indication of imbalance in the tissues, a serious problem of excess acidity.
Cautionary Approach May be the Best Approach
It is important to note that large, well-designed clinical trials on the effectiveness of the alkaline diet for general health are lacking, therefore before starting such a diet it's a good idea to consult your doctor before trying a new diet.
The alkaline diet should not be used by people with acute or chronic kidney failure unless under a doctor's supervision. People with pre-existing heart disease and those on medications that affect potassium levels in the body should check with their doctor first.
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