Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What's the skinny on alkaline diet?

It makes you feel better!

Increased acidity levels in your body can lead to low energy levels, a tendency to get sick easily, and pain and inflammation. Hence a more balanced (alkaline/acidic) diet will give you more energy, and will enable your body to fight off attacks against your immune system, since it isn't busy fighting acid. Your body is constantly working on keeping your blood ph between 7.35 and 7.45. 

By reducing the intake of foods and beverages that lead to increased acidity levels. The importance is the effect on your body, not how they taste. Foods and beverages can be acidic themselves, but lead to an alkaline reaction in your system, such as citrus fruits or vinegar. The main contributors to an acidic diet are: 
- sugar
- too much protein in form of meat, poultry, fish and dairy
- soda, especially diet soda
- processed/fried food
- white flour: bread, pasta

What to eat?
Not only is it important to leave out or reduce some of the acidic nutrients, it is also important to add minerals to your diet. The most effective way of doing that is by adding foods and beverages that contain the minerals. The benefit of this way are that the minerals are continuously added to your digestive system, which allows it to absorb more. Supplements are the less effective alternative. These foods are:

- fruits and vegetables (except legumes, they are too high in protein and hence acidic)
- whole wheat products, they are less acidic, but still have cause an acidic reaction
- mineral waters with high mineral contents
  (Germany classifies waters with particularly high mineral contents as healing water)
- herbal teas

The mineral content of fruits and vegetables varies. It is generally recommended to buy local. The benefit of buying local is that the goods were already ripe when they were harvested. Naturally ripened fruits/vegetables positively affects the alkalinity content (mineral and fructose content). There are of course fruits and vegetables that have alkaline effects that are not growing in every region, such as bananas, citrus fruits etc. A general rule is also that the closer things grow to the ground the better they are.

Most alkaline diets recommend a 80/20 rule for alkaline and acidic nutrients. We have softened our approach slightly and try not to eat more than one acidic food at the time. When eating meat, fish or poultry, we strive for two other alkaline sides such as salad or vegetables and potatoes. It is also recommended to leave out meat, cold cuts, sausage or other high protein foods a few days a week.

How to eat?
Eat slowly and chew properly. It adds enzymes and simplifies the digestive process by providing more surface area for the gastric acid to do its job. It is also recommended to not drink with your meal, instead wait 30 mins. Fluids reduce the acidity of gastric acids and slow down the digestive process.

Enough for the skinny on alkaline diet! A follow up blog for athletes and alkaline diet will come soon.

Feel free to post questions :)


PS: If you are going to try it out, you may choose a cleansing week and please be patient. There is a lot of acid built up that will take a while to be removed until the true effects will come through. You should feel some improvements though.

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