Why alkaline diets improve your health, counteract stress damage

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    I strongly recommend alkaline diets. This has been one exciting discovery in the nutrition field.

    An article in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, for example, states alkaline-forming plant foods could help preserve bone and muscle mass by promoting calcium absorption.

    Could it be that you feel tired all the time because what you eat is turning your body acidic and causing your organs to malfunction? Did you know that alkaline diets may boost your immune system and put the inflammatory response at bay?

    We’re more likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases, chronic inflammation, cardiovascular conditions, cancer and diabetes if our immune system is malfunctioning.

    Alkaline diet

    Human blood pH should be slightly alkaline (7.35 – 7.45). A deviation from this range can lead to symptoms and disease. A pH of 7.0 is neutral; below 7.0 is acidic and above 7.0 is alkaline. When food is broken down in the body, the end product is a noncombustible “ash” which yields an either acid or alkali pH and slightly modifies the blood acidity.

    The good, the evil and everything in between?

    Unfortunately, some alternative practitioner claims about the benefits of alkaline diets are not yet supported by medical evidence and are rather based on anecdotes or assumptions that are contrary to current understandings of human physiology.

    On the cautious side, it’s healthy to ponder whose interests are behind promotions such as drinking a daily glass of wine, a cup of coffee, acai juices, or adding coconut oil and hemp seeds to our diet.

    Certainly, not all evil comes from Big Pharma.

    Talking from personal experience, I changed the way I ate simultaneously with quitting smoking and coffee and I started to exercise daily, and therefore I cannot isolate a single variable to explain my current and ongoing wellbeing. It’s most likely a combination of factors.

    However, I’ve been following a vegetarian alkaline diet for two decades now and I have no doubt that there is a before and an after. My life was transformed in just a few weeks after I started the new alkaline diet.

    I’ve stayed pretty healthy and my digestion improved significantly. I tend to heal faster and experience less pain if injured. Therefore, I’ve come to believe in the benefits of an alkaline diet and recommend people give it a try.

    Benefits of alkaline diets

    Human blood pH should be slightly alkaline (7.35 – 7.45). A deviation from this range can lead to symptoms and disease. A pH of 7.0 is neutral; below 7.0 is acidic and above 7.0 is alkaline.

    When food is broken down in the body, the end product is a noncombustible “ash” which yields an either acid or alkali pH and slightly modifies the blood acidity.

    The body’s daily balancing act consists of coupling acid foods with alkaline substrates produced by the body to keep the pH as close as possible to normal range. For buffering purposes, the body uses breathing, sweating and excretion of phosphates, sodium and potassium through the kidneys.

    You’ve probably heard about acidosis associated with alcohol intoxication or a diabetic coma. These are extreme cases. We’re talking about slight changes in acidity that could have an impact on the proper functioning of the cells.

    Alkaline diet

    To start an alkaline diet, avoid acid-forming foods like red meat, alcohol, coffee, sodas, cheese, refined sugar, wheat flour and chocolate.

    Our lifestyle favors acid-producing

    Our average western lifestyle has defeated many of the normal homeostatic mechanisms. Any diet based on meats, wheat and dairy is acid-forming.

    On the other hand, our levels of stress, sleep deprivation and anxiety—characteristics of the modern world—lead to an overactive adrenal gland that constantly releases cortisol and aldosterone, with a consequent buildup of glucose, lactic acid and cetones. These force the kidneys into excreting abnormal amounts of certain minerals.

    Changes in the acidity of the tissues and blood force our body to work in less than optimal environments. It compromises the immune system and the body’s capacity to heal.

    What you can do

    Alkaline diet

    Include alkaline producing foods like yogurt, honey, fruits and dark leafy green vegetables. (Shutterstock photos)

    Becoming aware of what we eat and how it affects the body while being aware that the damaging effects of stress can be counteracted with proper nutrition and exercise is the key.

    An alkaline diet might very well be the alternative of choice.

    Reported advantages of an alkaline diet:

    • It may benefit bone health, reduce muscle wasting and mitigate chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and strokes.
    • It increases growth hormones, which might increase mental clarity and memory.
    • It increases the amount of intracellular magnesium, which is used by the body in many enzymatic systems. Magnesium is required to activate vitamin D.
    • It increases energy, improves digestion and decreases pain.
    • It may make chemotherapy used for cancer more effective.

    General recommendations to start an alkaline diet

    • Include alkaline producing foods like yogurt, honey, fruits and dark leafy green vegetables.
    • Add walnuts, pine nuts and almonds (other nuts are acid forming).
    • Avoid acid-forming foods like red meat, alcohol, coffee, sodas, cheese, refined sugar, wheat flour and chocolate.
    • Exercise and rest to counteract effects of stress.
    • Instead of following a diet protocol to the letter, listen to your body.
    • Signs of inflammation, lack of energy and any sign of mineral or vitamin deficiency could improve by adding variety in the diet but sometimes supplementation is necessary. Consult your nutritionist.

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