lately everybody tends to talk about the Alkaline Diet! I hear it left, right and center “Oh, I started to eat alkaline food!” Then people start telling me what is included in their diet, I get a shock, and then questions start, like “what does alkaline mean actually?” and “so, what are alkaline foods?”, “what happens if my body gets to acidic?” and so on.
So here comes a quick overview for all of you to really understand why keeping your body alkaline is so important and what it means to eat alkaline food.
A wonderful overview over alkaline food and more detailed information you can find on http://www.balance-ph-diet.com/acid_alkaline_food_chart.html
What does alkaline mean?
Wikipedia says: Alkalinity or AT measures the ability of a solution to neutralize acids to the equivalence point of carbonate or bicarbonate.
This is the scientific basic explanation. As you know, our bodies mirror the universe, so the human body in his constant work has to neutralize acids as well. Usually, the human body is slightly alkaline with a pH 7.36-7.44.
All foods are "burned" in the body--more commonly called "digested"-- leaving an ash as the result of the "burning", or the digestion. This food ash can be neutral, acid or alkaline, depending largely on the mineral composition of the foods.
When the body is acidic, essential nutrients tend to be depleted faster including potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium. Harmful bacteria also breed faster in an acidic environment, producing infections and sickness, but cannot survive in an alkaline body. Some chronic conditions such as fatigue, anxiety, dry skin, back pain, depression, arthritis, gastritis, ulcers, cellular degeneration and osteoporosis are also linked with acidic diets.
Very generally said, alkaline foods are mostly raw and fresh fruits and vegetables. Our idea can be very deceptive as for example citrus fruits when metabolized are highly alkaline in contrast to what they do appear to us. There are other foods, which in their raw status are alkaline, when cooked though deliver many acids. This is the case with e.g. spinach and chard. Now you are confused, I know.
A healthy diet, which can also reverse some conditions, consists of 80% alkaline food half of which ideally should be raw.
Acidic foods that should be limited to no more than 20% of the diet include meats, seafood, dairy products, pasta and white flour, rice, coffee, alcohol and anything processed or refined.
Main alkaline foods are cucumber, wheat grass, barley grass, broccoli sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, parsley, kale, sea vegetables, avocado, bell peppers, beets, broccoli, cabbage, celery, endive, collard, ginger, green beans, garlic, mustard greens, lettuce, onion, okra, tomato, spinach. Some nuts, seeds (sesame seeds) and oils are also good sources of alkalinity, particularly pumpkin seeds, almonds, further cold pressed oils like cod liver oil, evening primrose oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, fish oil.
Please get more detailed lists from the above link or even on http://alkaline-alkaline.com/ph_food_chart.html. As with all our nutrition it is important to find a balance.
As in all diets I always give the advice to not make yourself completely crazy! The secret is to find a healthy balance. If you exaggerate one day with meat, alcohol, grains and other try to balance it out the next day by enjoying a vegetarian, mostly raw food, diet. One example are the blackberries and cranberries: you are absolutely supposed to eat them due to their high amount in anti-oxidants, but now you have learned that they are highly acidic. The solution is to combine them with alkaline food, prepare a Quinoa porridge with soy milk, add some raisins and dates and off you go!