THE BENEFITS OF AN ALKALINE DIET
Guest Post by Pablo Jareno
What is alkalinity?
Alkalinity can come under different terms, whether it is used in a biology or chemistry context, but Wikipedia defines alkalinity as the following:
Alkalinity is the name given to the quantitative capacity of an aqueous solution to neutralize an acid. Measuring alkalinity is important in determining a stream’s ability to neutralize acidic pollution from rainfall or waste water. It is one of the best measures of the sensitivity of the stream to acid inputs. There can be long-term changes in the alkalinity of rivers and streams in response to human disturbances.
How can being alkaline benefit me?
Many people have reported experiencing a vast range of benefits after making their diet more alkaline. Here are a list of some of the benefits from Care2, as well as some interesting facts about alkalinity:
More elastic and youthful skin
Deeper, more restful sleep
Abundant physical energy
Suffer from fewer colds, headaches, flu viruses
Lower likelihood of developing arthritis
Reduction of candida (yeast) overgrowth
Inhospitable environment to support osteoporosis
Increased mental acuity/mental alertness
Legal natural high
Did you know that the water fish swim in needs to be the correct pH in to live? Also, plants flourish when the soil is at the right pH level. Life only exists where there’s balance, and your body is totally regulated by pH!
If all these benefits are gained from alkalinity, then why do people still not take the correct steps to improving their quality of life? A possible answer is that people do not know that they are acidic and don’t realise what they feel on a day-to-day basis is not beneficial to their health.
What is ‘acidosis’ & why we should avoid it?
This is the exact opposite term of alkalinity, and Leeann Rahn goes into a very basic but interesting description:
Acidosis occurs when your body’s pH (potential hydrogen) is out of balance – or, in other words, acidic. The pH scale ranges from 1 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkaline) with 7 being neutral. Your blood MUST stay within a narrow range close to 7.4 (slightly alkaline). The MUST is not negotiable and your body goes to great lengths to maintain that level. Your urine should have a slightly acidic pH, your saliva will vary but should be slightly alkaline most of the day and your body tissue/cells should also be slightly alkaline to maintain good health. When you eat something that leaves an acidic ash or residue in your blood, your body must neutralize the acid. In order to neutralize the acid, your body has built in buffers such as sodium, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Your hemoglobin also acts as a buffer, as do your fat cells and liver (cholesterol). Once your body has used up it’s free mineral stores, it will find the alkalizing minerals where it can including the muscles, teeth, and bones. In addition, your body’s fat cells will mobilise and envelope the acid to keep it away from vital organs, as will cholesterol. Acidosis is reached when your body can no longer keep up with neutralising the acids. When your blood becomes acidic, you may initially notice slight symptoms such as skin problems, headaches, allergies and sinus problems. It is often the case that chronic or recurrent illnesses are a direct result of either the body neutralising the acid or emergency attempts to detoxify the blood. Remember, your skin is also a filtering organ. If your other filtering organs such as the kidneys cannot handle the job, you may end up filtering toxins through your skin. As a result, you may end up with eczema and acne and your body may experience cramping, inflammation, and aches and pains.
As you can see, some of these side effects are not great, so what can we do to avoid being in an acidic pH?
What is the most effective way to cure acidosis?
According to ‘Acidosis: The Kiss of Death’, we have the cure in our own hands:
First, a healthy diet is the best place to start. If you wish to eliminate acidosis symptoms, cutting back on acid forming foods and beverages such as animal protein, coffee and wine can help. Nevertheless, remember that just because a food is chemically acidic does not automatically mean it’s an acid-producing food. (For example, citrus fruits actually have an alkalizing effect on the body, as do most fruits and vegetables.) To maintain a healthy pH balance, many natural practitioners recommend a diet comprised of anywhere from a 60/40 to as much as an 80/20 ration in favor of alkalising foods over acid-producing foods. Stop eating acid-forming foods and embark on an alkaline-forming diet comprised of 80% alkaline-forming foods. Alkaline-forming diets help to reduce the strain on the body’s acid-detoxification systems, such as the kidneys. You will notice within a few days that your symptoms of acidosis will begin to subside and finally cease to be a diseased condition.
As you can see, this doesn’t seem as difficult as you may have initially thought. The next question on our minds is, ‘what foods are alkaline and what are acidic?’
What sort of foods should I eat & avoid?
Leeann Rahn gives a brief summary of alkaline/acidic foods and what types of food to avoid.
So, based on the research I have done, below is a listing of foods with their relative levels of acidity or alkalinity. Please keep in mind, when dealing with fresh foods, the level of ripeness may play a role in determining acidity and alkalinity. Different varieties of fruit also make a difference, sweet apples and sweet grapes seem to be more alkaline than sour apples and sour grapes. Canned fruits and vegetables are processed AND acidic. Raw fruits and vegetables are generally more alkaline than cooked vegetables. Some vegetables may even become acidic when cooked. Finally, another variable to keep in mind is the quality of the soil the fruits and vegetables are grown in. Generally, the more minerals available in the soil, the more alkaline the fruits or vegetables will be.
Lemons, Watermelon, Limes, Mangoes, Papayas, Dates, Figs, Raisins, Grapes, Melons, Kiwi, Apples, Pears, Passion Fruit, Pineapple, Apricots, Grapefruit, Oranges, Peaches, Nectarines, Raspberries, Strawberries, Asparagus, Parsley, Kelp, Alfalfa Sprouts, Carrots, Celery, Spinach, Green Beans, Beets, Bell Pepper, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Lettuce, Onions, Okra, Peas, Pumpkin, Squash, Fresh Sweet Corn, Raw Spinach, Zucchini Olive Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Garlic, Leafy Green Herbs, Almonds, Green Tea
Lower Alkaline toward Neutral
Avocados, Pineapple, Oranges, Peaches, Cherries, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Onions, Okra, Peas, Fresh Sweet Corn, Cucumbers, Egg Plant, Mushrooms, Peas, Potato w/Skins, Ripe Olives, Tomatoes, Rhubarb, Almonds, Amaranth, Olive Oil, Raw Honey, Sea Salt, Brazil Nuts, Chestnuts, Hazelnuts, Coconut, Canola Oil, Egg Yolks (soft), Goat Milk, Goat Cheese, Soy Milk, Soy Cheese, Sesame Seeds, Millet, Lentils, Wild Rice
Most Filtered Waters, Fresh & Unsalted Butter, Fresh & Raw Cream, Raw Cow’s Milk, Plain Yogurt (no sugar or sweeteners) [Other than the water, most items in this category are not available in the standard grocery store.]
Neutral Toward Lower Acid
Cranberries, Blueberries, Plumbs, Prunes, Processed Fruit Juice,Kidney Beans, String Beans, Cooked Spinach, Bran, Cashews, Corn Meal, Fructose, Corn Oil, Sunflower Oil, Margarine, Lard, Processed Honey, Lentils, Macadamia Nuts, Homogenized Milk, Tea, Cocoa, Mustard, Pistachios, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Walnuts, Brazil Nuts, Egg Whites, Pecans, Liver, Oysters, Venison, Cold Water Fish, Eggs, Butter, Yogurt (not sweetened), Buttermilk, Cottage Cheese, Cream
Cranberries, Blueberries, Prunes, Sour Cherries, Rhubarb, Canned Fruit, Sweetened Fruit Juice, Potatoes w/out skins, Beans (Pinto, Navy, Lima), Bread (white or wheat), Buns, Biscuits, Pastries, Pasta (all), White & Brown Rice, Flour, Buckwheat, Oats, Rye, Wheat Germ, Whole Wheat Foods, Semolina, Cream of Wheat, Cereals (most), Turkey, Chicken, Pork, Deer, Lamb, Fish, Beef, Pork, Shellfish, Homogenized Milk, Ice Cream, Sharp Cheese, Sweetened Yogurt, Hard Cooked Eggs, Peanuts, Walnuts, Pecans, Cashews, Pistachios, Beer Liquor, Soft Drinks, Chocolate, Artificial Sweeteners, Coffee, Black Tea, Wine, White Sugar, Brown Sugar, Molasses, Soy Sauce, Jam, Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Mustard, Vinegar, Cigarettes, Drugs (recreational and prescription), Table Salt (Iodised)
Please remember the alkalinity of many foods can be devalued based on the soil it was grown in or by how you prepare the food, which in effect may account for some of the category variances
Acidosis & weight gain
How does acidosis cause weight gain or make it almost impossible for you to lose weight permanently? Well, if you recall, one of your body’s buffers is fat. Your body will actually produce fat to envelope the acid and take it out of your blood stream. Fat cells tend to harbor many toxins – for our protection, of course. When you do begin to lose weight, these toxins are released into the body/blood as the fat is burned for fuel. Now the toxins need to be neutralised again! Thus begins a viscous cycle. Constantly acidic pH levels also cause your body to accumulate fat in another way. It is believed an acidic pH signals a famine thus causing your body to produce more insulin than is needed and, as a result, store calories as fat instead of being burned as fuel. The constant bombardment of excesses of insulin causes a condition referred to as Insulin Sensitivity. With the body consistently producing more insulin than needed, more fat is produced and stored. As you can see, at this point you are definitely already on the road to diabetes. A definite change in lifestyle is necessary but LeeAnn Rahn explores if exercise is really the answer in her article.
Acidosis is not a great condition to be in, but who should we believe & what does research say?
What does the research say?
Some of the main contributors to the ‘alkaline’ principles are Dr. Robert O. Young and his wife Shelley Redford Young, who have aided the healing of thousands of people with their revolutionary alkaline diet and lifestyle. This alkalising diet and scientific approach—known as The New Biology®—is based on their extensive nutritional microbiological work, which spawned their authoring of the globally-renowned book series, “The pH Miracle“. According to the pH miracle living website, it all started years ago.
In 1994, Dr. Young discovered the biological transformation of red blood cells into bacteria and bacteria to red blood cells. He has since documented several such transformations. Dr. Young’s research has been published in several noted journals, including The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. He is the author of numerous articles, including Herbal Nutrition (1988) and author and co-author of many books including:
Herbal Nutritional Medications (1988)
One Sickness, One Disease, One Treatment (1992)
Sick and Tired (1995)
Back to the House of Health (1999)
The pH Miracle (2002)
The pH Miracle for Diabetes (2003)
Back to the House of Health 2 (2003)
The pH Miracle for Weight Loss (2004)
and The pH Miracle: Revised and Updated (2010).
Other research from the European Journal of Nutrition backs the alkaline approach and their article titled ‘Diet, Evolution & Nutrition’ goes on to state:
Changes to our diets in the past 200 years have created a mismatch between what our bodies require (nutritionally) and what we actually put in our mouths. You might be thinking that this offers nothing new, since common sense tells you that since the invention of microwaves, McDonalds, hydrogenation, Coca-Cola, Mars bars, crisps and deep fat fryers we, have become less healthy that we were before – BUT, this article goes into another level of detail to pinpoint that it is the fact that this shift has upset our alkaline/acid balance that has been the major cause of the rising incidence of disease and poor health. Among the many health problems resulting from this mismatch between our genetically determined nutritional requirements and our current diet, some might be a consequence in part of the deficiency of potassium alkali salts (K-base), which are amply present in the plant foods that our ancestors ate in abundance, and the exchange of those salts for sodium chloride (NaCl),which has been incorporated copiously into the contemporary diet, which at the same time is meager in K-base-rich plant foods. This is great.
The article goes on to say:
We know that clinically-recognised chronic metabolic acidosis has deleterious effects on the body, including growth retardation in children, decreased muscle and bone mass in adults, and kidney stone formation, and that correction of acidosis can ameliorate those conditions.
Do we have any proof of the ‘alkaline’ way working?
Having worked in the fitness industry for 13 years, I have seen many different nutritional recommendations during my time and I can honestly say that the ‘alkaline’ way gives the most health benefits I have ever seen.
Being Head Coach at DMC Fitness, where we follow and recommend the ‘alkaline’ way, there are two students in particular that have gained more in recent months at our facility than with any modern medicine. These two students are Laura Harvey and Chris Torres.
Laura had a whole list of ailments including daily migraines, for 30 years. IBS, chronic fatigue, joint inflammation and pain, poor digestive system, sleep problems, and had suffered these and more ailments for most of her adult life. After losing 2 stone and going from a size 16 to a natural size 8 Laura was given a new lease of life. To read Laura’s full inspirational story, please click here.
Chris had suffered from IBS for 8 years and removed this condition in only 4 weeks following the recommendations at DMC Fitness. To read Chris’s story, please click here. Chris and Laura both were part of the best transformations of 2013 along with many other amazing life changing stories. To read these stories click here
To summarise, what I’ve learned, gained and witnessed through the ‘alkaline’ way is remarkable and the benefits gained just by pitting the correct food/fuel into our bodies and avoiding poor, non-nutritious food are unbelievable.
If you are still dubious about the ‘alkaline’ way, all I can say is give it a go, as the benefits massively outweigh any doubts that may be clouding your judgement.
Great work Pablo thanks very much for this.
To health, happiness and “Strength for Life”
Davie McConnachie, creator of DMC Fitness and Dynamic Mind Conditioning, is an expert health and wellness coach, multi-award winning motivational speaker, award-winning gym owner, writer and published poet.
Athletically, Davie has competed nationally in MMA, Boxing and Thai Boxing, and internationally in kettlebell sport. Davie enjoyed the London Marathon, several half marathons and is a regular mountain trekker.