The alkaline diet is popular among people dieting for optimum health and safe weight loss. While no large clinical studies support the following claims, this diet is believed by some to relieve sinusitis, ease arthritis progression, increase energy, reduce the frequency of chronic headaches, and even inhibit the growth of cysts and tumors.
However, most doctors agree that the alkaline diet is a good way to maintain general health. This diet focuses on increased intake of whole foods such as vegetables and fruits while reducing the intake of meat, salt, and processed grains. Both of these practices are often part of medically recommended eating plans. Evidence supports that alkaline diets prevent kidney stones, osteoporosis, and muscle wasting disease due to aging.
Early man consumed a diet quite different from foods eaten by modern people in Western cultures. Humans ate predominantly raw plant based food with a minimal amount of meat. Modern technology has initiated changes to the way food is acquired and prepared. Grains are now processed and refined, salt is no longer just a trace element in vegetables but is used in processing and flavoring food. The ability to speed up the growth of animals has increased meat consumption. Dairy products are also something that our early ancestors never ate. Sugar consumption is many times what it used to be. Eating more grains, meats, and dairy products while reducing the amount of vegetables and fruits we consume has created a more acid producing diet in Western cultures.
People who ascribe to the alkaline diet believe that eating foods leading to a high body acid content creates an imbalance of the normal acid and alkaline levels, and that this imbalance causes the loss of essential minerals from the body's system. As the body tries to compensate for the imbalance, it increases the possibility of becoming ill.
How It Works
The basis for this diet is to consume 75 percent alkaline foods such as vegetables, and 25 percent acid producing foods such as meat and bread. Eating in this way helps keep the body at a healthy alkaline level of 7.4. This allows the body to break down acidic wastes and maintain healthy cell regeneration. Another benefit of following this diet is that the focus on eating high fiber, low fat meals will create a reduction in daily caloric intake. This leads to weight loss for most people who have a healthy endocrine system.
Planning Meals for the Alkaline Diet
The alkaline diet is easy to follow because it does not eliminate foods; most foods are allowed in moderation. This is also a simple diet because it is so adaptable. The key to success when following any diet is planning meals in advance. Knowing what types of foods are included in the alkaline diet will allow you to plan meals ahead of time.
When following this diet you will eat a variety of unprocessed whole foods, raw fruits, and predominantly green vegetables. Energise for Life features a table on their website that gives the ph level found in various foods. This guideline is helpful for creating meal plans while on an acid reducing diet.
Some recommended fruits to be included in the alkaline diet:
The Mayo Clinic Diet Manual lists the most alkaline fruits as dried figs, cantaloupe, watermelon, and dried apricots.
Alkaline producing vegetables include:
The Mayo Clinic Diet manual lists beet greens, dandelion greens, baked potato, and Swiss chard among the top alkaline vegetables.
Meat, cheese, legumes, grains, and nuts produce acid. Even a few fruits and vegetables are acid foods. Fruits such as plums, prunes, and cranberries and vegetables like Brussels sprouts, corn and asparagus contain acid ash. Acid foods should not be removed from your daily diet. On the alkaline diet they should be eaten in limited quantities, otherwise the alkaline level can become too high. With all healthy diets there should be a variety of nutrients eaten in balanced proportions.
It is always best to go see a doctor before beginning a new diet plan. Having a physical and basic tests done will provide your doctor with the necessary information to help you address your personal health concerns. Discuss your diet goals with her and ask for recommendations to help you achieve a healthy eating plan correct for you.