The alkaline diet has been gaining popularity, and to better understand this meal plan, there are essentials you need to know.
In this article:
- What Is an Alkaline Diet?
- What You Can Eat
- Food pH
- Changing pH Levels
- Is the Alkaline Diet Healthy?
- Studies and the Alkaline Diet and Alkaline Water
Everything You Must Know About the Alkaline Diet
What Is an Alkaline Diet?
The alkaline diet is also known as the alkaline acid diet or the alkaline ash diet. If you have an issue with acidic foods, the alkaline diet may help you with weight issues and medical problems such as cancer and arthritis.
While this is only a theory, it should help most people lose weight, as the diet is mostly vegetarian. At the very least, you’ll be eating less refined foods, which are usually loaded with sugars and other unhealthy ingredients.
What You Can Eat
There’s a lot you won’t be able to eat on this diet, but there’s still a lot you can eat. Meat, eggs, dairy, processed foods, and most grains are acidic and need to be avoided on this diet.
Additionally, caffeine and alcohol should be avoided.
Allowed foods include soybeans, tofu, most vegetables, most fruits, some seeds, some nuts, and some legumes.
The alkaline diet may take some getting used to since you will be cutting out many of the foods you could be used to eating. Some may also have to learn how to prep and cook fresh foods if they are used to cooking out of a box.
If you need to be gluten-free, this diet does exclude wheat, but you’ll still need to check labels because gluten is found in products other than wheat. In addition to fresh foods, you may drink alkaline-infused water and other drinks and food.
Since the only place you can get protein is from plants, tofu and beans are the only foods that could provide enough protein. You’ll have to make sure you get plenty of protein if you stop eating meat and dairy.
The alkaline diet plan is based on the pH of foods. Neutral food includes natural fats, sugars, and starches.
If you are a diabetic, you will need to watch that portion of the diet. Complex carbohydrates, which are found in many starches, convert to sugar and tend to raise blood sugar levels.
Acidic foods, which should be avoided on this diet, include poultry, meat, fish, eggs, dairy, grains, peanuts, walnuts, and alcohol. Alkaline foods include vegetables, fruits, and legumes.
You can find recipes online or get an alkaline diet cookbook to make meals from alkaline food. You can also get a water ionizer that makes alkaline water.
Changing pH Levels
According to Dr. Melinda Ratini, the alkaline diet could work, but not how it is claimed. Proponents of the alkaline diet say that eating more alkaline foods changes your pH levels.
But, the body’s pH level is between 7.35 and 7.45. That doesn’t change.
Though, pH levels can go out of balance because of ketoacidosis caused by diabetes, alcohol intake, or starvation. This could be dangerous and should be treated promptly.
Ketoacidosis Definition: A complication of diabetes that makes the body produce high levels of ketones, which may lead to breathing difficulty, tiredness, and confusion.
Eating alkaline diet foods can help prevent this type of reaction.
Because the foods you are allowed to eat on the alkaline diet are healthy, you get a variety of benefits:
- Because of how your body processes food, eating a diet lower in foods that produce acid could help improve brain function and heart health and could help prevent kidney stones.
- Some claim that it also keeps muscles and bones stronger but doesn’t necessarily protect you from conditions like osteoporosis or arthritis. Conditions like such may result from other factors in your life.
- Because you are deleting pre-packaged foods, which are high in sodium, the alkaline diet is good for your heart.
- There are also some claims out there that the alkaline diet helps cancer patients in that it could make chemotherapy less toxic or more effective. But, this has not been proven.
Always speak with your doctor before making major diet changes, drinking alkaline water, or taking supplements if you are on chemotherapy.
Is the Alkaline Diet Healthy?
If you are careful to get enough protein, the alkaline diet is very healthy. It does not allow processed foods, which are high in sodium and other chemicals.
It doesn’t allow meat, dairy, and other foods that have protein and vitamins your body needs.
If you are able to get enough protein from plants, such as tofu and beans, the alkaline diet is very healthy.
Studies and the Alkaline Diet and Alkaline Water
A few small studies have been done. These studies show a tendency for alkaline water and alkaline diet to help with certain health issues including acid reflux, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
A study of 100 people also found that whole blood viscosity, which is how efficiently the blood flows, was affected by drinking alkaline water after a strenuous workout. The study found that people who drank high pH water had their blood viscosity reduced by 6.3% compared to the 3.36% lower blood viscosity for those who drank regular water.
The thinner viscosity of blood means it flows more efficiently, which also means you get more oxygen delivered through your body.
If you want to add alkaline water to your diet, you will need a water ionizer. You run tap water through the ionizer to remove acidic minerals, and an ionizer also filters out bacteria and contaminants.
Alkaline water doesn’t last long if you store it, so you should drink it within a day. It doesn’t go bad – the ionized properties dissipate.
You could run enough water through your ionizer to last a day every morning.
Knowing which foods to include and avoid in your alkaline diet and understanding the foods’ pH balance will help you determine the importance of choosing the types of food you should be consuming. If you want to make sure you are eating the right foods and the right amounts, you should consider visiting a dietitian for medical assistance.
What health benefits did you experience in following an alkaline diet? Share them in the comments section!
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