Alkaline diet often comes up when we talk about cancer diet and cancer prevention. There is no secret that our diet and what we eat including lifestyle patterns are key to proper health and decreasing cancer risk.
The association between diets, food consumed across the divide and health problems has always been studied and researched. A healthy diet cannot be underestimated. From helping you to prevent excessive gain of weight to avoiding chronic diseases and potentially cancer, we need to start making sure we understand what we are putting in our bodies on a daily basis. This is where the alkaline diet comes in.
According to many studies on the role that alkaline based diet plays in health, it was found that the diet does contain lots of benefits such as improving nutrients intake and helping to prevent from serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease and chronic pain.
In 2013, a mere tweet by Victoria Beckham about an alkaline diet cookbook completely took the internet by storm and popularised the alkaline diet. Apart from Victoria being on the diet herself, other celebrities who had been on it for a while include Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow. The alkaline diet, apart from allowing the body to reach the optimal pH balance, has faced little criticism if any due the fantastic health benefits.
What’s alkaline diet?
The alkaline diet is based on pH levels – acidic versus alkaline. And, with the replacement of foods that form acid, once they’ve been broken down with alkaline forming foods, our health could be improved tremendously.
As the body continues with normal metabolism, food is converted into much needed energy as solid masses of food are broken down chemically. Nonetheless, the body’s chemical reactions aren’t always fast and take place in controlled ways. As the food is broken down, the waste of the breakdown can either be acidic, neutral or alkaline.
The waste residue left behind affect the acidity of the body directly. What this means is that by eating foods that are acidic (leave an acidic residue after metabolism), your body will contain more acid or be more alkaline. The acid-ash premise holds that the acidity left behind could potentially make you highly vulnerable to conditions and diseases. Alkaline residue, on the other hand, is held to be highly protective.
As such, enjoying an alkaline diet or foods considered more alkaline you can alkalise the entire body and enhance its health.
Alkaline and acidic pH levels
One of the most important things to understand in relation with the alkaline diet is your pH. pH is basically the measure of alkalinity or acidity and range between 0-6.9 (acidity), 7.0 (neutral) and 7.1-14.0 (basic or alkaline). By monitoring your urine pH you can find out whether your body is leaning towards alkalinity or acidity so that measures can be taken to keep it above 7.1 (perhaps a better scientific alkaline definition) and not below 6.9 (acidity).
The acid-alkaline balance doesn’t change in your blood as the acid-base type of homeostasis takes place naturally allowing the body to regulate the blood pH balance efficiently. Saying that certain medical conditions can potentially cause serious problems in blood pH but that’s very rare.
Acidic diet and foods
Our diet today is full of sugar and processed foods with little vitamins and minerals and we are moving further and further away from foods that form alkaline conditions.
It’s important to understand how acidic food affect our health. The body can easily deal with occasional increase in acidity, but the long-term effect of the build-up can be dangerous. If the acids aren’t neutralised with every meal, your health and immune-system could potentially be compromised in different ways, which’s actually the main cause of severe health problems today including:
- Increase in weight and obesity
- Suffer occasionally from non-specific joints and bones pain and other aches
- Kidney stones heartburn or acid reflux
- Skin problems
- Bone loss
- Urinary tract issues
- Irritable bowel, indigestion and intestinal cramping
- Gum recession
- Muscle loss and weakness
Acidic food list
- Processed foods such as ready-meals, store-bought cakes and sodas
- Caffeinated drinks
- Wheat products
- Processed cereals
Health benefits of an alkaline diet
Alkaline foods boost your immune-system and energy levels as they are rich in antioxidants and fibre. Being conscious of acid versus alkaline foods will allow you to make the right choices. Alkaline food benefits include:
- Muscle mass and bone density: Minerals are required by your body to maintain healthy and solid bone structures. According to research, intake of alkalised vegetables and fruits actually protects from muscle wasting and receding bone strength. Alkaline diet ensure minerals ratios are well maintained such as phosphates, magnesium and calcium that have an effect on muscle mass and building bones. The diet is also effective in enhancing absorption of vitamin D and growth hormones production, protecting bones further and lowering the risk of chronic complications.
- Stroke and high blood pressure: Avoiding too much acid food intake for alkaline diets will be efficient enough to increase anti-aging results, lowering inflammation and boosting growth hormone manufacture in the body. You’ll end up with enhanced heart health offering perfect protection against well-known problems afflicting millions globally from hypertension, amnesia, stroke, kidney stones to high levels of cholesterol.
- Inflammations and chronic pain: Alkaline diet has been found to have an effect in lowering chronic pain levels. Several studies where alkaline supplements were tested on chronic back pain sufferers resulted in significant pain reduction.
- Magnesium boost and better vitamin intake: For our body to work properly we need magnesium. Alkaline diet improves magnesium intake. Magnesium deficiency is common among those with conditions such as muscle pain, heart problems, anxieties, sleep problems and headaches. You also require magnesium to increase the vitamin D intake in order to improve your immune-system.
- Cancer protection: Alkaline diet and cancer have been one of the most highlighted benefits of the diet. Research suggest that cancerous cells were found to die faster in a body that’s more alkaline. It has also been established that alkaline environments make chemotherapy medications more effective. Moreover, alkalinity lessens inflammation, boost our immune-system and minimises the development and risk associated with cancer.
- Healthy weight: Alkaline diet has an effect on weight gain and obesity. The diet limits acidic foods list and encourages intake of food that are alkaline we need to eat every day. Avoiding foods that form acid in the body decreases levels of leptin and boosts the body’s ability to burn fat. Moreover, alkaline foods such as spinach, celery and butternut squash are incredibly nutrient- rich, anti-inflammatory and low in calories.
The best alkaline forming foods
For best results with the alkaline diet, it’s important to focus on the intake of whole foods such as nuts, vegetables, whole grains, root crops, lentils and other beans, spices, fruits and seeds. You can drink alkaline water, green tea and ginger root beverages as well as lime and lemon juice and use quality oils such as oils from avocado, coconut and virgin olive oil. It’s recommended to consume lesser amounts of pasta and animal produce and stay away from artificial and processed foods such as white flour, sugar and caffeine.
The top alkaline food list
Top alkaline foods are mostly fresh vegetables and fruits. These include tomatoes, mushrooms, raisins, cucumber, broccoli, spinach, citrus, green beans, oregano, dates, garlic, cabbage, watermelon, among others.
Food consumed raw is largely full of alkalinity. Do try to eat foods that can be consumed raw as much as you can. These include raw vegetables and fruits. Cooking and heating fruit and vegetables can reduce the alkalising minerals. Juicing can also help to get the most of raw foods while vegetables that need some cooking are better steamed lightly.
Moreover, proteins from plants are rich in alkaline properties, particularly foods such as lima beans, navy beans and almonds.
The benefits of alkaline water and alkaline drinks are also significant. With a pH of between 9 and 11, alkaline water, including distilled water is arguably the best for us. You can also give your water some natural alkalinity by adding some fresh lime or lemon juice.
Like every diet out there, an extreme alkaline diet can lead to deficiency of certain nutrients. For instance, a strict food plan that eliminates acidic items such as grains could end up in mineral and vitamins deficiency such as iron, calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Think about a much-balanced alkaline diet that lowers the intake of acidic foods (such as processed foods) but not completely eliminate them such as grains.
Stocking on foods encouraged in the alkaline diet is highly beneficial for everyone, especially those who want to boost the immune-system and reduce the cancer risk. Intakes of lots of vegetables and fruits is indeed highly encouraged, as well as lots of clean alkaline water and green tea. Eliminating the intake of processed foods, alcohol and sugar will rapidly improve your energy levels and general health and wellness.
Our best alkaline recipes on the blog