There’s a theory in the health community that…
Much like fire leaves ash when it burns, so does your metabolism. But we don’t call it ash. We call it metabolic waste. And metabolic waste, or what’s leftover after our metabolisms have consumed the food we’ve eaten, can be one of three things:
Here’s the idea – some foods will metabolize and leave an acidic residue. Some will leave an alkaline residue.
Followers of the alkaline diet believe that raising the body’s alkaline level, and lowering the body’s acidic pH level, will not only promote weight loss, but protect the body against diseases like cancer and arthritis.
While there’s no scientific evidence to support that alkalizing your body is the reason for the health benefits people on alkaline diets experience, they do see improvements.
Let’s take a look at what eating an alkaline diet does for your body…
The Alkaline Effect
In case you don’t remember 8th grade chemistry, here are the broad strokes.
The pH scale measures how acidic or basic something is. 0 is the most acidic, 7 is neutral, and 14 is the most basic (or alkaline).
Now, different parts of your body have naturally variant levels of acidity or alkalinity. For example, your stomach typically has a pH balance of 3.5, which is very acidic. This is so that it can break down food more easily.
Your blood’s average pH balance is between 7.35 and 7.45 – so it’s slightly basic. Even minor deviations from that pH balance can produce a whole host of issues. If your blood’s pH levels are at 6, for instance, only a point or so lower, you would already be in a coma.
Although research is limited, there are studies that support the idea that eating foods with high acidic residue can lead to bone and muscle deterioration, cancer, liver problems, kidney stones, and heart disease.
Part of the reason for this is that when your body is too acidic, it uses calcium to restore your body’s pH levels to normal.
Another is that it’s the work of the kidneys to maintain the correct alkaline base. They filter out excessive acid through our urine and can become overwhelmed if we send them too much acid.
Alkalizing your body is a proactive way to avoid the ramifications that come with your body’s natural, unprompted attempt to stabilize your pH levels.
Alkalizing Your Body in a Few Steps
If you think you may be experiencing acidosis (or an over supply of acid in the body’s blood levels), there are several warning signs, including:
- Brittle nails or hair
- Gaining weight/being underweight
- Low-functioning immune system
- Chronic fatigue/low energy
- Heavy breathing
- Chronic infections/lots of allergies
- Headaches and acne.
The first step in alkalizing your body is adjusting the balance of your diet. You want to make sure your consuming more foods with alkaline principles and less with acidic qualities.
(To be clear, we’re not talking about the acidic qualities of undigested food. We’re talking about the acidic qualities of their metabolic waste.)
- Meat, fish, and shellfish
- Milk, eggs, butter, and cheese
- Processed and refined food
- Sugar, artificial sweeteners, refined grains
- Whole grains and wheat
- All vegetables, preferably green and raw
- All fruits
- Cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens
- Root vegetables
- Legumes and sprouts
- Nuts and seeds
- Onions, garlic, leeks
- Wheat and barley grass
- Grains like amaranth, millet and quinoa
- Fresh Beans, green peas, lima beans, soy products
Alkalizing your body in the 21st century Western world isn’t easy. Most of the foods that result in acidic metabolic waste are staples of the Western diet – wheat, meat, dairy, sugar, etc.
Alkaline foods are largely plant-based and organic, suggesting this is the diet that would naturally maintain the correct pH levels in our blood.
To start alkalizing, it’s important to decrease intake of the biggest offenders in your diet. Other important steps include:
- Drinking lots of water, to flush the toxins out of your system…
- Eating vegetables as close to their natural state as possible (raw or steamed)…
- Making sure to pair any acidic foods with foods that have alkalizing properties…
- Getting plenty of exercise, as it helps to move the acidic waste towards elimination faster…
- Being very careful not to overeat, since it overloads your digestive systems and causes processing errors…
Although more research is required to determine the true beneficial effects of an alkaline diet…
We do know that it’s crucial to maintain a slightly alkaline pH balance, and that excessive acidity doesn’t function properly in our bodies.
Be mindful. Chew slowly. Eat raw when possible. Stay hydrated. Treat your body the way you would treat it if fast food and Western indulgences weren’t available.