By Nicole Bourn
It’s not a secret that different types of food are better or worse for our bodies. But how can we draw the line between burgers and salad? Where do the healthy foods begin and what makes them so different? One factor to determine the healthfulness of a food is by looking at it from an alkaline or acidic point of view. But what does this actually mean and how can you alkalize your body? What is ph balance?
When looking at our bodies, there are many factors that make cells and tissues work properly, such as hydration, temperature, availability of nutrients, and pH. The pH stands for “potential of hydrogen” and is a measurement of hydrogen ions in a particular solution – the more ions, the more acidic the solution, and vice versa.
But why is this so important?
Our bodies are designed to operate within a very narrow pH range, which is around 7.365, which is slightly alkaline. A pH of higher than 7 is alkalizing, a pH less than 7 is acidic, and a pH of 7 is considered neutral. When we eat too many acid-forming foods, the kidneys can’t always keep up with the acid waste and they start accumulating it in our tissues.
Studies have shown that if this acidic overload happens over a longer period of time, it can lead to various health conditions, including kidney stones, muscle degradation, reduced bone density, and even arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.
Alkaline vs. Acidic
Signs of acidosis are:
Fatigue or chronic fatigue
Feeling tired, low energy
Brittle nails and hair
Low bone density, osteoporosis
Gaining weight or being underweight
Bad immune system
Infections, allergies, candida
Heart problems, cancer
Benefits of an alkaline diet
Deeper more restful sleep
Reduction of candida overgrowth
Increased mental acuity or alertness
Enhanced memory and cognition
Easier weight loss
Better bone health
Reduced muscle wasting
Proper cell functioning
Mitigation of chronic diseases
Improved cardiovascular health
Following the guidelines of eating alkaline is just another way of finding out that whole plant-based foods are most beneficial to us. Their high mineral and vitamin content has a huge positive effect on our whole body, such as healing and preventing disease.
What are alkaline foods?
The most common misconception: the acid/alkaline load of a given food refers not to the pH of the food prior to consumption, but to the acid/alkaline after you digest it. Our kidneys have to neutralize the acid that’s produced in the process of digestion.Whether a food is alkalizing or acidifying is based on the amount of acid waste that is produced when it’s digested. This doesn’t mean that all we should eat are alkalizing foods. It’s very commonly advised to opt for a balance of 80% alkaline-forming food and 20% acidic-forming food.
Alkalizing foods to eat abundantly
All Vegetables, especially when Green and Raw
All Fruits like Melon, Apple, Berries, Grapes, Lemon. Some are slightly acidic, like Blueberries, Cranberries, and Plums.
Leafy Greens like Spinach or Lettuce, Cruciferous Vegetables like Broccoli, Kale
Pumpkin, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Beets
Mushrooms, Sprouts, Legumes
Nuts & Seeds like Coconut, Almonds, Chia, Sesame
Onions, Garlic, Leek and Herbs/Spices like Parsley, Ginger
Wheat and Barley Grass, Algae like Spirulina and Chlorella
Grains like Amaranth, Millet & Quinoa
Fresh Beans, Green Peas, Lima Beans, Soy Products
Acidic foods to cut out/reduce:
Meat, fish, shellfish
Milk, eggs, butter, cheese
Coffee, soda, alcohol
Processed and refined food
Sugar, artificial sweeteners, refined grains
MSG, canned food
Drink a lot of water to flush your system and support natural detoxification. Extra points if you add lemon to it – remember that acid tasting food doesn’t automatically mean it’s also acid forming! After waking up, drink a huge glass of water.
Combine alkaline foods in a meal with foods that are acidic to create a good balance.
Choose fresh, organic, GMO-free food whenever possible.
Stay as close to the natural state of a food as possible, meaning eat it raw or steamed as opposed to frying it.
Make salads a staple in your meal plan. Leafy greens are the most alkaline foods and also rich in vital nutrients. Use spinach or kale for best results, the darker the better.
Whole grains or some legumes are not alkaline forming, but nutritional benefits and are a part of a healthy diet – so you should eat them along with your alkaline foods.
Replace animal foods with vegetable sources of protein, such as tofu, beans, or broccoli. These are a lot more alkaline-forming.
Incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet by snacking on them, making fresh smoothies or green juices.
Try to eat some carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, cucumber, potatoes, or celery every day. Soak and sprout your nuts and grains for more alkalinity.
Looking for the solution to getting started, check out Vegan Mom Lifestyle!
Do you alkaline your body?
Nicole Bourn, is the founder of Vegan
Mom Lifestyle, a lifestyle blog geared towards removing the fear and
confusion from beginning a vegan or plant-based lifestyle. She began her
journey simply for her own lifestyle purposes, into a healthier her and
along the way has helped countless woman and men begin their vegan
lifestyle. She is a native of Washington DC, a single mother of four
daughters and an inspiration to many. During her journey as a Vegan she
loss 92lbs, completely healed herself.