Some people say that eating an alkaline diet is beneficial to your health. They base this diet on the theory that certain foods cause your body to make too much acid. If you reduce or eliminate these acidic foods, you’ll improve your health. Here are the health benefits proponents say you’ll get from eating an alkaline diet.
What is the alkaline diet?
The theory behind the alkaline diet is that eating low acidic foods changes your pH levels, which helps you lose weight and feel healthier. pH stands for potential hydrogen. Scientists use a pH scale to rank the acidity levels of substances. The pH scale measures how much acid a substance has on a scale of 0 to 14. pH 7 is considered neutral. Foods and drinks that have a pH 7 aren’t acidic or base. For a substance to be alkaline, it must be greater than 7.
The great debate about the alkaline diet
There is a heated debate about whether an alkaline diet is genuinely beneficial. Here are some things each side uses as their basis for supporting or not supporting this diet.
Those who oppose this diet say it’s another fad diet. Naysayers contend that this diet makes claims about curing cancer that isn’t scientifically based. The alkaline diet recommends that individuals eat lots of fruits and vegetables. But those against the diet say this is a typical healthy eating pattern for cancer prevention that isn’t based on the acidity or alkaline of these foods. Doctors have recommended these foods for decades because vegetables and fruits are high in minerals, vitamins, fiber, and phytonutrients.
What do those who support the alkaline diet say?
Proponents of the alkaline diet say that according to studies, an acidic diet may increase the acidic overload in your body. This imbalance can hinder your kidney function. Another study that adheres to the alkaline diet quotes the acid-ash hypothesis.
The acid-ash hypothesis says when your body has too many blood protons, your bones erode and compensate by making alkaline to balance out the amount of acid in your body. It’s thought that many of the foods Americans eat are acidic and, over time, will cause osteoporosis. Today, most dieticians suggest that although eating a high acid diet can increase your urinary acid and calcium elimination, an alkaline diet isn’t the only thing that affects your risks of calcium loss in your bones. Things like overeating protein, sodium, and phosphorus can also affect your bones.
What do you eat on an alkaline diet?
The Alkaline diet suggests you should eat healthy plant-based meals emphasizing vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. They encourage you to limit eating red meats and processed foods. The goal of this diet is 80% of what you consume should be alkaline, and 20% of what you eat should be acid-forming foods. The list of alkaline foods you can eat is long, but some of the most common include these:
- Soy products
- Baked chicken
- Whole grain cereals
- Swiss chard, kale
- Rice milk
- Sweet potatoes
- Leafy greens
Acidic foods that should be avoided include the following:
- Red meats
- Processed meats
- Fried foods
- Fatty foods
- Whole dairy
- Yeast bread
- Wheat products
9 Potential Health Benefits of An Alkaline Diet
For the purpose of this article, we will list what proponents of the alkaline diet suggest are the health benefits. Remember, no diet by itself can make you healthy. Regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and eating a well-balanced diet contribute to your good health and reduce your risk of disease.
Alkaline diets improve your overall cardiovascular health and protect you from high blood pressure, kidney stones, memory loss, and strokes. Here is an alkaline diet: a heart-healthy dinner suggestion you may want to incorporate into your meal plans.
- 1 cup diced yellow squash
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- ⅛ teaspoon of chopped parsley
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- Sprinkle of salt
- Dash of Tabasco
- Dash of crushed red peppers
- 2-Gluten free tortillas
- ¼ cup of fat-free shredded mozzarella cheese
Steam the yellow squash until just tender. Remove from the steamer and put into a bowl. Add chopped sweet onions, garlic salt, a dash of Tabasco, and red peppers. Stir. Place equal amounts of mixture into the two tortillas. Top with mozzarella cheese. Put under the broiler and until the cheese is melted. Remove and wrap up the tortillas. Enjoy!
2 – An alkaline diet could lessen your risk of pain and inflammation
Consuming alkali rich foods, which appear on the Mayo Clinic Diet list, can decrease your inflammation that causes health problems such as the following conditions:
- Back pain
- Muscle spasms
- Menstrual symptoms
- Joint pain
- inflammation from arthritis
3 – Enjoy potential anti-aging properties
Some say that eating a diet of primarily alkaline foods promotes anti-aging effects because it decreases inflammation and helps your growth hormone production. Seeds and nuts offer many health benefits. Even though they’re high in fat, nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats. They help reduce LDL cholesterol, which is the bad cholesterol for your body. Here’s a list of the nuts you can snack on if you’re eating an alkaline diet.
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
4 – Could protect your muscle mass and bones
When you’re on an alkaline diet, you will eat lots of fruits and vegetables, which help strengthen your bones and muscles from deterioration. An alkaline diet supports your bones by balancing the minerals that build bone, such as calcium, phosphate, and magnesium. It may also help with vitamin D absorption and growth hormones which can help fight off chronic diseases. After the age of 50, you begin to lose your muscle mass. Maintaining muscle mass as you get older can help prevent falls and broken bones. Acidic overload because of eating foods high in protein and grains encourages loss of muscle mass. Eating foods high in potassium, studies suggest, preserves muscle mass in older women and men.
5 – Alkaline foods might lower your risk of diabetes
An alkaline diet may help prevent diabetes. Some medications can increase your risk of getting hypoglycemia. Eating alkali-rich foods can guard you against an increased risk of low blood sugar levels. Eating this diet helps you control your weight, which is a considerable risk for Type 2 diabetes. Always check with your doctor before going on a diet to ensure it’s the best choice for you.
6 – May lower your cholesterol
In general, plant-based diets lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which contribute to heart disease. Plants are high in fiber rather than animal proteins, high in fiber, and have less fat. They are also low and have little or no cholesterol.
7 – Possible heart health benefits
Eliminating red meat and processed meat lowers your blood pressure and reduces your inflammation, which protects your heart. Being on an alkaline diet lowers your risk of heart disease because you’re eating less red meat and processed meats. This diet is low in calories and fat, all of which promote a healthy heart.
8 – Potential oral health improvement
Eating a more alkaline diet may protect your teeth. Acidic foods wear down the enamel on your teeth. This increases your chances of having tooth sensitivity, cracks, and even cavities. Switching from a high in sugar and high acid foods diet can make a big difference in your oral health.
9 – Might protect against kidney disease
If your diet is high in acidic foods, it may not be healthy for your kidneys. Adjusting your diet to eat more alkaline foods decreases metabolic acidosis and lowers your risk of kidney disease. Here’s a super simple alkaline smoothie recipe to start your day.
Spinach and Strawberry Smoothie
- 2 cups of fresh spinach, washed and chopped
- ½ cup of fresh strawberries washed and cut up
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 cup of coconut water or almond milk
- One tablespoon sesame seeds
Place the ingredients into your blender. Blend and enjoy.
Alkaline diet warnings
Like any diet where you’re excluding foods, you should always check with your doctor before going on the alkaline diet. Overeating alkaline can lead to health problems and potential nutrition deficiency. An alkaline diet is low in protein and overall calorie intake, which could affect your health. Also, individuals who take medications that affect their body’s levels of potassium, calcium, or other minerals should be sure to talk to their doctor before trying out the alkaline diet.
Eating a healthy diet that’s rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains is always beneficial. The alkaline diet touts many health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health, kidney health, and a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. It can also help you lose weight. If you decide to try the alkaline diet, be aware that there is controversy surrounding its effectiveness and medical advantages. As with any diet that eliminates a lot of foods, always talk to your doctor before you go on a diet that could affect your health.