Have you been hearing about alkaline foods and wondering what the fuss is about? What are they, why do they matter? Here we give you 10 of the best alkaline foods and why you should be eating them. We guarantee you'll find at least a few you like!
Why This Matters
Struggling with fatigue and drowsiness? Are you always bloated, or having headaches for no reason? These symptoms might indicate increased body acidity. High-protein diets, smoking, alcohol consumption, and certain medications affect your pH balance, causing acidosis. In the long run, this may increase your risk of cancer, gastric ulcers, jaundice, bone loss, and weight gain.
Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do to keep your body in an alkaline state. The first and most important step is to tweak your diet. Certain foods can reduce acidity levels and restore your health. However, this doesn’t mean you should avoid acidic foods altogether. Your stomach needs acid to digest food and function properly. The key is to maintain a normal pH balance of about 7 to 7.4.
What Causes pH Imbalances?
When your body is too acidic or too alkaline, it becomes more vulnerable to disease and can not function at its peak. This allows pathogens to attack your tissues and natural defense mechanisms. A healthy pH is one that's slightly alkaline. Ideally, it should be around 7.365. Excess acidity, the most common form of pH imbalance, affects every system in your body. This condition occurs when your pH is 7.35 or lower, and can be life-threatening.
Acidosis can have a variety of causes, from stress and excess exercise to bad eating. Certain health conditions, such as diabetes, promote an acidic environment. Other common risk factors include:
- Overuse of alcohol
- Chronic lung diseases
- Liver failure
- Poor nutrition
- High-fat diets
- High-protein diets
- Bacterial infections
- Skipping meals
- Over-consumption of meat and dairy
- Cigarette smoking
- Antibiotic overuse
- Exposure to chemicals and pollutants
Depending on your constitution and genetic make up, eating too much of certain foods, such as beef, poultry, and eggs, may lead to high acidity. Soda, sugary treats, processed snacks, spicy foods, refined grains, and caffeinated beverages are among the worst offenders. Caffeine and alcoholic beverages are acidic too, so it's best to limit or avoid these. Stress can increase acid production in the stomach and put you at risk for ulcers.
Signs of High Acidity
High acidity is a major contributing factor to chronic diseases and impaired immune function. This condition can lead to gastritis, acid reflux, brittle nails, hair loss, hives, loose teeth, mouth ulcers, and recurring infections. You may also feel cold all the time, get sick often, and experience muscle cramps. Fatigue, low energy, and nervousness are common side effects of excess acid in the body.
Over time, acidosis can damage your tissues and organs. Possible complications include diabetes, arthritis, stroke, osteoporosis, heart disease, and fibromyalgia. There may be a link between high acidity and cancer, as cancerous cells thrive in an acidic environment. Excess acidity also affects digestive function, causing GERD, severe bloating, and stomach pain. If left untreated, it may cause tears in the stomach wall and damage the lining of the esophagus.
A lesser known side effect of high acidity is weight gain. This condition affects your body's ability to use energy, which in turn, slows down your metabolism. Excess acidity can lead to fluid retention, obesity, and difficulty losing weight. Your blood pressure may increase too. An acidic body also tends to age faster and takes longer to recover from injuries, exercise, or disease.
How to Balance Your Body's pH Levels?
Studies indicate that an alkaline diet can balance the body's pH levels and improve health. Staying in an alkaline state may lower your risk of osteoporosis, muscle loss, diabetes, and death from all causes.
In clinical trials, alkaline minerals have been shown to relieve back pain and enhance vitamin D absorption into the body. Other studies have found that chemotherapy works better when combined with an alkaline diet. This eating plan may benefit bone health, boost cardiovascular function, and improve memory.
Health experts recommend a diet consisting of 80 percent alkaline foods and 20 percent acidic foods. Kale, spinach, arugula, zucchini, and artichokes should come first on your list. Other alkaline-forming foods include tofu, soybeans, hemp seeds, and most fruits and vegetables. You can also drink alkaline water and take alkalizing supplements to rid your body of excess acid.
Meat and dairy increase the body's acidity levels and should only be consumed occasionally. The same goes for coffee, chocolate, grains, and processed foods. Bread, rice, walnuts, peanuts, and lentils are no better either.
Don’t worry - you don't s no need to completely give up meat, dairy, and coffee. Just make sure these foods account for about 20 percent of your diet. Consume them in moderation to prevent high acidity and balance your pH levels.
Ready to give it a try? Add these 10 alkaline foods to your diet:
# 1: Almonds
Almonds and almond milk increase alkalinity in your body. They also help lower cholesterol levels, promote weight loss, and support cardiovascular health. Rich in protein, calcium, and iron, these nuts preserve lean mass and keep your bones strong.
Just like spinach, kale is an excellent source of chlorophyll, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It also boasts high antioxidant levels, protecting your cells from oxidative stress. One cup provides over 1327 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K.
Broccoli not only keeps your body in an alkaline state but also reduces cancer risk and cleanses your system. When consumed regularly, it lowers inflammation and slows down aging. One cup delivers about 135 percent of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C, offering protection against colds and flu.
This leafy green is best known for its detoxifying properties. However, it also has a strong alkalizing effect. Packed with calcium, it strengthens your bones and prevents osteoporosis. Arugula is also high in vitamin A, which supports healthy vision and immune function.
#6: Alkaline Water
Okay, so this isn't really a food per se, but good water is an essential way to alkanize your body.
If your body is too acidic, sip on alkaline water. This has a pH of nine to 11 and contains large doses of minerals. It's a fantastic source of calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. When used as part of a balanced diet, it helps build stronger bones, relieves muscle spasms, and regulates blood pressure.
There are many ways and systems for obtaining alkalinized water. Here is one easy way to make your own.
This low-sugar fruit fights inflammation and promotes cardiovascular health. Loaded with healthy fats, it raises good cholesterol, reduces bad cholesterol, and alkalizes your body.
#8: Bell Peppers
Crunchy and full of flavor, peppers help reduce excess acidity and prevent oxidative damage to your cells. Rich in flavonoids, carotenoids, and other antioxidants, these veggies protect against chronic diseases and age-related conditions, such as dementia.
High acidity is often the culprit behind fluid retention and weight gain. Asparagus helps eliminate excess water from your system and lowers inflammation. This alkaline-forming veggie also detoxifies your body and promotes digestive health.
Amaranth is one of the few grains with alkalizing properties. It contains all nine essential amino acids and boasts large amounts of protein. This makes it ideal for vegans and vegetarians. To fight high acidity, swap breakfast cereals, wheat, and oats for this ancient grain. It's packed with fiber and tastes delicious!
As you see, an alkaline diet is anything but boring. This eating plan can lower your risk of stroke and heart disease, relieve chronic pain, and increase bone density. Your energy levels will go through the roof!
What foods help you feel and perform better? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Author: Andra Picincu