Alkaline Diet

What is Alkaline Diet?

Adherents of the Alkaline Diet promote the idea that consuming acid-forming foods like red meat can tip your pH level out of balance and lead to poor health. Balancing your pH through diet, they theorize, can lead to an array of health benefits. The basic concept behind the diet plan is that if we’re constantly putting acidic foods into our body, how does our system have time to do anything other than remove them? PH is a measure of acids and alkalis throughout the body on a 0 to 14 scale. Acidic substances range from 0 to 7; vinegar, for example, has a pH of about 2, which means it’s acidic. Alkaline substances, meanwhile, fall between 7 and 14 on the scale. Calcium, which is highly alkaline, has a pH of about 10. In its natural state, our blood is slightly alkaline – hovering between 7.35 and 7.45 – while our stomachs are highly acidic to help digest foods.

Except for changes in the pH of our saliva and urine, the foods we eat can’t alter our body’s pH, which is tightly regulated. Under the premise of the Alkaline Diet, working toward a healthy, balanced pH involves making smarter eating choices to emphasize consuming alkaline-forming foods. Many of these are plant-based foods. In addition to the eating regimen, the Alkaline Diet plan may call for you to alter your behavior to eliminate habits that theoretically increase acidity. These include habits such as smoking and tobacco use; drinking alcohol; ingesting coffee, soda and other stimulants; and drug abuse. According to the Alkaline Diet, being consistently dehydrated, overdoing workouts and having a sedentary lifestyle can impact your pH, too.

Pros & Cons

  • Heavy on fresh produce
  • Filling
  • Lots of rules to remember
  • Little research to back it up

How does Alkaline Diet work?

To start on the Alkaline Diet, you might do some reading about what foods you should and shouldn’t eat under the regimen. Dozens of guidebooks include extensive lists of alkaline- and acid-forming foods. Under the Alkaline Diet, some fruits are good for your pH, and others aren’t. In the alkaline-forming category, for example, are apples and bananas, and others are really good, such as avocados and pineapples. Bananas have a pH of about 5; avocados are closer to 7. Other recommended choices include bell peppers, seaweed, sweet potatoes, almonds, chestnuts, tofu, tempeh, miso, sprouts and lentils. It helps to build snacks and meals around fruits and veggies rather than meats or starches, according to “Acid Alkaline Diet for Dummies.” If you are looking to try the Alkaline Diet, here are some tips for getting started:

  • If you fill your plate with plant foods first, there won’t be as much room for acid-forming meats and breads.
  • Keep in mind that as a general rule of thumb, if you want to stick to the Alkaline Diet, 80% of what you eat (by volume) should be alkalizing foods, with 20% acid-forming.
  • You should apply this rule to every meal, beverage and snack.
  • Guidebooks like “Acid Alkaline Diet for Dummies” include extensive lists of alkaline- and acid-forming foods.
  • There’s no need to use a calculator or scale as you embark on an Alkaline Diet. Just eyeball your food and make the necessary swaps.

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