What You Need To Know:
- Eating foods that are very acidic can lead to real health issues.
- An alkaline-promoting diet reduces the acidity in your body and can help guard against certain chronic diseases.
- Foods to eat include raw veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, raw fruits like lemon and watermelon, and oils like avocado and olive.
By Isadora Baum
It’s true what they say: Your gut really is like a second brain. So, when it’s off balance, it can seriously affect your mood, digestion, and energy. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to keep your gut in tip-top shape. A first step? Try the regime Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Elle Macpherson swear by—an alkaline diet.
By eating alkaline-promoting foods to effectively battle the acid we consume in things like caffeine, alcohol and some processed foods, it will help balance pH levels in your blood and urine, says Dr. Josh Axe , DNM, DC, CNS. Our body needs to be at a slightly alkaline state to perform optimally, so eating an alkaline-promoting diet can, for some, make a significant difference.
According to a 2012 review published in the Journal of Environmental Health, eating this way not only helps gut health but an array of other chronic diseases. It can lower the risk of mortality and incidence of diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis. It can also help improve muscle mass, decrease your risk of hypertension and stroke, reduce inflammation and chronic pain, improve vitamin absorption and immunity, and aid in weight management.
“Our lungs and kidneys have a tightly controlled mechanism to regulate the pH of our blood. Diet can, however, affect the pH of your urine,” says Robert Glatter, MD. “The metabolism of foods leaves a so-called residue or ash, and those who follow the diet believe that this ash can have an effect on the acidity of your body.”
ACIDIC FOODS TO AVOID
So which foods should you avoid and which should you load up on? You’ll want to stay away from eating a lot of dairy, including cheeses such as parmesan, American, mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Meat and cured meats like bacon are also good to eat less of as is poultry, and canned sardines and tuna. Go slow on eggs, refined grains, alcohol, soda, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners.
Confused as to what you should have? A diet rich in raw fruits and veggies:
Mushrooms, spinach, alfalfa, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, and Brussels sprouts are great to eat for those on an alkaline diet, says Axe. And opt for organic when possible, which is produced in a more mineral-dense soil, so it’ll offer greater benefits.
Axe explains that cooking can reduce the alkalizing effect, so eating fresh produce in their natural, raw states can help maximize absorption. Or, you can also try lightly juicing or steaming, as this process isn’t as harsh as frying, sautéing, or another type of high-heat cooking technique.
According to Structure House‘s registered dietitian Benjamin White, PhD, despite their acidic nature citrus fruits are actual an alkalizing agent on the body. “Citrus fruits like oranges have citric and ascorbic acids and taste sour, but they are actually alkaline-generating once they’ve been digested and absorbed.”
Tomatoes, lemons, limes and grapefruits are also alkaline rich. When drinking alcohol, or just starting your day, have water with lemon or lime for an alkaline, detoxifying drink. Another good option? Add a tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (and a teaspoon of raw honey) to a glass of water.
OTHER ALKALINE-RICH FOODS
Watermelon, bananas, dates, and figs also are foods to integrate as are tomatoes, avocados, cherries, apples and grapes. Oils such as olive, coconut, avocado, are beneficial as are quinoa and wild rice. If you are reducing acid-rich foods, it’s important to make sure you consume alkaline foods high in calcium (broccoli, almonds, white beans and leafy greens), essential fatty acids (flax-seeds, chia-seeds), and protein (tofu, beans, nuts).
At the end of the day, you have to eat what works for you.
“The actual reason it’s a healthy diet is based on the principles of fresh, natural and unprocessed foods,” says Glatter. Unfortunately, some foods that can be good for you are eliminated, as they’re just simply a bit more acidic. So, if you’re craving an omelet for breakfast, feel free to have it. Just balance them out with foods like spinach or kale, which are alkaline producing.