When it comes to health and fitness, diet is one of the most important factors. What you eat contributes to your general physical and mental health. So its important to keep track of what’s going in to your body.
The Alkaline diet is less of a diet and more of a focus on eating certain foods, the diet is based on the idea that different foods can effect your bodies pH balance. The diet has also seen to help aid those with health problems, however, it does lack solid evidence.
It is worth noting, that the main rules with this diet is that you shouldn’t eat processed food and convenience food, something anyone who is trying to eat healthy should cut out anyway due to the unhealthy nature of these products.
So what can you eat?
Fruits and vegetables are of course encouraged, as are soybeans, tofu and certain nuts and seeds due to being alkaline-promoting foods.
This diet is similar to that of a vegan or vegetarian in that the options which are off limits are also off limits to people who live a meat free life. Whilst this is often a put-off for meat eaters, it’s important to consider the health benefits of these meat-free options.
Even if you choose not to go full out on this diet, some small swaps could help keep your acid levels down and promote a healthier lifestyle.
To be class as acidic food needs to have a pH level of 4.6 or lower, foods which fall into this category are typically processed, tinned or high in sugar. Fruit juice is often classed as acidic, this is due to the content. For example, lemon juice has a pH level of between 2.00 and 2.35, meaning it’s one of the most acidic options. Compared with tomato juice which has a pH value of 4.3-4.9 making it substantially less acidic.
Unlike fruit juices, fresh vegetables are generally regarded as alkaline friendly, mushrooms have a high pH with 6.0-6.7 and cabbage is high in pH as well at 5.2-6.8.
Whist most grains are high in acidity, these tend to be limited to processed and baked good, so if you opt for whole grains you can still enjoy your carbs without the acidity.
What’s the benefit to cutting out highly acidic foods?
In 2012 a review published in the Journal of Environmental Health discovered that by balancing your body’s pH levels through the alkaline diet can help reduce morbidity and mortality from many chronic diseases includes diabetes, arthritis and low bone density.
These benefits are a result of highly alkaline foods protecting healthy cells and balancing essential mineral levels. They’ve also been shown to help prevent plaque formation in blood vessels which prevents kidney stones and builds stronger bones.
What do the experts think of it?
Leading Harley Street Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert explained that the alkaline diet “is not unhealthy, but its claims are simply not supported by science and human physiology.” She added “high acidity levels have also been blamed on conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, tiredness and kidney and liver disorders.”
Laura Thomas, PhD, AfN Registered Nutritionist however, has stated that “the diet itself promotes exclusions of important food groups and is unnecessarily restrictive.” She did add that “one positive about the alkaline diet is that is encouraged eating plenty of fruits and vegetables which is of course a good thing.”
Words: Amy Jo Taylor