Alkaline diet 101: The key to maintaining good health in modern days

Here’s a number that you must remember if you truly want to be healthy – 7.365.

It’s the optimal pH value for your body to perform at its best.

so let’s start with pH 101:

An acid is a substance that donates hydrogen ions (H+). When a substance is highly acidic, it is more likely to donate H+ ions to whatever solution it is put into.

pH by definition is the “power of Hydrogen”. The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is from 0 -14 with 0 being very acidic and 14 being very alkaline.

Now, how is the pH value related to our health?

Alkaline diet - key to healthy lifestyle

pH value for optimal health – 7.365

Different parts of our bodies need to function in different pH levels. For example, stomach juice is acidic to breakdown components of foods and saliva is slightly alkaline to prevent the build-up of harmful acidic bacteria.

Blood is one of the most important body components. It is the “logistic” system that connects all the organs together, supplies oxygen and nutrients to them and carries away the toxin and waste. Theoretically, without a healthy circulation system, all our other systems will have to shut down.

The blood pH levels need to be slightly alkaline in order to perform optimally – at a pH of approximately 7.365

Our bodies are naturally programmed to maintain this pH levels. The pH level of blood is always at 7.365 and will NEVER change.

So what is the problem then?

The problem lies in how the body maintains this pH balance.  Whenever the pH is slightly down (turning acidic), our bodies will start breaking down minerals from other sources such as bones to bring the pH up again.

In other words, our bodies deplete our own resources to neutralise the acid in blood.

How acidic food can damage your body |Alkaline diet 101

What makes our body turn sour (acidic)

First, our food intake. Foods that are low in mineral, high in sugar are typically acidic. Animal products (meat) and processed foods are usually acidic as well.

Chronic stress also causes our bodies to turn acidic. Stress forces our body to be in a constant fight-or-flight situation, and causes our blood sugar levels to rise. High sugar in the blood increases the acidity.

Related article: Stress Management: 11 healthy ways to help you get through tough times

Sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical exercise also cause our body to become more acidic.

Alkaline diet 101

What are alkaline diets?

Alkaline diet are simply foods that are slightly alkaline in nature.

They are typically high in minerals – hence the alkalinizing effect. Sugar is generally acidic in nature, so alkaline diet is normally low in sugar content.

Here’s a list of alkaline foods:

  • Fruits
  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach,
  • beans
  • Root vegetables e.g carrots, radish etc
  • Cruciferous vegetables cauliflower, brocolli etc
  • Lemon water (Although lemons taste sour, lemon water is actually alkalinizing)
  • Cayenne peppers e.g capsicums
  • Cucumber
  • garlic
  • apple cider vinegar

List of acidic foods:

  • Carbonated water
  • Energy drinks
  • Dairy products such as cheese, milk
  • Animal products such as beef, mutton
  • Coffee and tea

BONUS: Get our free ebook “The complete Alkaline/Acid Food guide” here

How can Alkaline diet help make us healthy?

Alkaline diet: how does it help our body

As mentioned, our bodies will do whatever to maintain the pH balance. This means that it will take away minerals from our bodies to neutralise the acid levels.

Consuming alkaline foods will give our bodies the necessary nutrients they need so that they don’t have to drain and deplete our own resources.

Here’s a fun fact:

We all know that drinking milk can actually help to strengthen our bones – as it is very rich in calcium.

But did you know that when your body is actually in an acidic state, milk (an acidic food) will actually cause your body to lose minerals such as calcium?

Some people therefore argues that calcium from plant source is superior to milk.

How to check your body's pH level

How can you find out about acidity in your body?

Litmus paper is normally used in the lab for testing acidity of a solution.

In order to test your body’s acidity, you can test your saliva or urine early in the morning using the litmus paper.

Note: You can get litmus paper at your local pharmacies.

Saliva: Before brushing your teeth, fill your mouth with saliva and swallow; repeat, then spit directly on the pH test strip. This three-step process will ensure a clean saliva sample. Measure your saliva pH in the same manner again later in the day, at least two hours after eating. (note: DO THIS BEFORE YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH, toothpaste is alkaline and WILL affect the reading)

Urine: Collect a small sample of your first morning urine in a clean glass container; dip the pH strip in the container.

Match your strip to the associated color on the package of pH papers to determine your body pH. Ideally your pH strip should turn the same color matched with 7.2 to 7.4 on the package

What to do when your body is acidic

The key is to increase your alkaline diet intake.

Don’t get me wrong:

I’m not saying that all acidic foods are bad and all alkaline foods are good. The key is really to find the balance between the two.

The best ratio is actually 80% alkaline and 20% acid. This means that 80% of your diet should be composed of vegetables and fruits and the remaining 20% from proteins and carbs

(Trust me! It is very very difficult to achieve that! I’m now striving for 70% alkaline and 30% acid – and even this is hard for me!)

Simple Alkalizing diet idea: Lemon water

Alkaline diet ideas

To make it easier for you to start adopting alkaline diet, I have curated a few simple alkaline diet recipe:

1.) Warm lemon water

For some reason, lemon water is actually slightly alkaline. This recipe is very simple, just squeeze fresh lemon juice into a glass of warm water and drink it every morning.

2.) Green juice

Blend 1 cucumber, a piece of fennel, 1 peeled lemon, and 1 stalk of celery  together in a juicer.

Feel the detoxing effect of this powerful alkalinising green juice

3.) Gem Lettuce Salad

Ingredients

2 little gem lettuces, leaves separated
2 radishes, chopped
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/2 carrot, sliced into matchsticks
2 tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
Olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced

Instructions

Fill the lettuce leaves with the chopped salad ingredients and drizzle with the olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon and serve!


 

Problem with the concept of alkaline diet

One problem I realised when learning about alkaline diet is that it’s often counterintuitive.

For example, lemon and apple cider vinegar are both acidic – but they are grouped under alkaline foods. Milk on the other hand is normally alkaline, but it’s one of the acidic foods.

So how do you know what foods are acidic and what are alkaline?

Here’s a BONUS for you. I have prepared this ebook “The complete Alkaline/Acid Food Guide” for you.

It’s totally free and I seriously hope that it will help you live a healthier life.

Get your free copy here

Supplements that would alkalize the body

Generally speaking, I would encourage everyone to increase their intake of alkaline diet instead of using supplements. For better or faster results, you can consider taking the following supplements:

1.) Spirulina

Spirulina|Alkalising supplements

A form of blue-green sea algae, spirulina is extremely rich in many nutrients including vitamin B, copper, Iron, Magnesium, potassium,manganese and a small amount of every other nutrient we need.

It is also a powerful natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

2.) Chlorella

Chlorella|alkalising supplements

Very similar to spirulina, chlorella is another superfood of choice if you can’t find spirulina

3.) Barley Grass powder

Barley Grass|alkalizing supplements

Barley grass refers to the young soft green shoots which crop up on the Barley plant.

Barley grass powder was made popular as a whole food supplement by Dr Yoshihide Hagiwara. Beside being an alkalising supplement, it is also very rich in antioxidants.

There are even claims from all over the world that barley grass powder can cure cancer. (Insufficient evidence to support these claims though).

4.) Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar |Alkalising supplements

Due to the way it is metabolised in the body, apple cider vinegar is actually an alkalizing supplement. One thing to remember is that only RAW apple cider vinegar is alkaline-forming in the body.

Getting more and more popular in Malaysia, ACV is packed with nutritional benefits.

  1. A natural antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal – you can gargle with ACV when you have sore throat
  2. High source of potassium and enzyme – believed to help with slowing down aging process?
  3. Good for stomach and digestive system
  4. Good for allergies and eczema
  5. Helps to control blood sugar levels
  6. Can even help to lose weight

So, what do you think of alkaline diet? Do you think it makes sense or do you think it’s just another fad diet? Would you be taking more alkaline foods from now on?

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