Feeling Energized Through an Alkaline Lifestyle – Diet

by Dr. Halland Chen, MD

Here are the most common questions people ask about starting an Alkaline Diet / Lifestyle

What exactly is a pH diet and what are the benefits?

The pH diet is based on the consumption of food that is more alkaline to promote a better environment for our body’s cells and overall health. The body continually aims to balance pH and therefore, the pH diet emphasizes the correct balance of alkaline and acidic forming foods to help this task of balancing the pH. The goal is to include 60-80% alkaline foods and 20-40% acidic foods. For example, a diet of primarily pasta, bread, and soft drinks is highly acidic and will not be easily offset by low alkaline foods; therefore, meals consisting of more alkaline foods, such as vegetables and low in meats (acidic) is ideal.

As to the benefits, research shows that unless the body’s pH level is slightly alkaline, the body cannot heal. This ultimately means that regardless of the measures you take to stay healthy, say exercising and healthy lifestyle habits, they won’t be effective until the pH level is back to normal. If your body’s pH is not balanced, for example, you cannot effectively absorb key minerals and vitamins. Thus following the guidelines of this diet allows your body to run in the best state possible. People that follow a high alkaline diet also tend to feel more energized and healthier. Moreover, by eating more fruits and vegetables and eating less processed, sugary, and caloric high foods most people lose weight.

Is this more of a lifestyle than a diet?

These pH diet principles shouldn’t be a part of the latest diet trends. Instead, they are lifestyles that we can adhere to in our everyday lives. In our western society today, we see many people conforming to a diet constructed of dairy products, grains, highly processed foods, and direct protein from meat, fish, and eggs. All of these foods produce an acidic residue in the body and therefore have negative effects on the pH and thus a negative effect on our health.

Who is this appropriate for?

While you should always consult your healthcare provider before making a major change in your diet, this diet can prove beneficial to everyone.

People with acute or chronic kidney failure should not adopt the acid-alkaline diet unless they’re under a doctor’s supervision. The same goes for those with heart conditions or who are on medications that affect potassium levels.

We know about the pH level of our skin, can you explain how the PH our body works?

The pH of our body is important because many bodily functions are dependent on the right level. pH stands for potential of hydrogen and it is a measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution. The pH of a solution is a measure of its hydrogen-ion concentration. Higher pH readings mean that fluid is more alkaline and the lower pH readings mean a more acidic fluid. The pH range is from 0 to 14, with 7.0 being neutral. Anything above 7.0 is alkaline, and anything below 7.0 is acidic.

The pH of our skin works in a very similar way to the pH in our bodies. For example, when we use products that affect the pH of our skin, negative effects are visible in the form of acne, inflammation, and wrinkles. The same is true for our bodies. When we ingest the wrong balances of food, and effect the pH of our bodies, negative effects ensue. Yet unlike our skin, whose optimal pH is slightly acidic at 5.5, our bodies are happiest at a pH around 7.35-7.45, which is slightly alkaline.

What should the body’s PH level be and why?

The body likes to regulate its pH around 7.35 because our cells work more efficiently at this level. The cells work more efficiently because when blood cells have a positive charge inside and a negative charge outside, it keeps them far apart from each other and healthy. However, when your body is over-acidic, this acid strips the blood of its negative charge. This makes the blood cells clump together because the repelling force is no longer present.

Because the blood cells are clumped together it makes the cells unable to travel to all parts of your body to supply oxygen and rejuvenate your body. Moreover, when the pH of the body is too acidic, it is susceptible to many diseases and problems. Weight gain, heart disease, premature aging, fatigue, nerve problems, allergies, muscle disease and cancer are all more prevalent when the body’s pH is not optimal.

Can you describe some of the basic rules of the pH diet in order to regulate the body’s level?

We should try to consume 60-80% alkaline foods and 20-40% acidic foods, therefore it’s important to take into account which food is alkaline or acidic being ingested. In order to do this we require a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit (which are alkaline-producing) to balance the amount of protein we take in (which are acid-producing). Avoiding processed, sugary and simple-carbohydrate foods is important because they are acid producing foods and we get very little nutrient benefits from them. To top it off, stimulants that a lot of people depend on today (coffee, tea, cigarettes) are also extremely acidifying.

An easy way to follow the diet is by looking at these five simple steps.

#1) Get Green!Some vegetables are more alkaline than others, some of best ones are: Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Cucumber and Sprouts.

#2) Fresh Fruits.Not all fruits are created equal, in fact a lot of them are high in sugar content which can lead to increased acid production. The best fruits that promote alkalinity are: avocados, tomatoes, coconuts, and grapefruits.

#3) When Life Gives you Lemons: drink-up!Although lemons are acidic outside the body, when we metabolize this juice its minerals are set free into the bloodstream, therefore causing an alkalizing effect, raising the body’s pH level.

#4) Avoid the Acid.Some foods are more acidic than other, and avoiding them can be a simple solution to keeping one’s pH in balance. Foods that are highly acidic, include: artificial sweeteners, fried foods, soft drinks and pasta (white flour).

#5) Water for Wellness.Drinking lots of water is key for a healthy lifestyle, most people are on average dehydrated which is not healthy for our cells. More importantly, there are some water brands/products that are more alkaline than others, such include: Fuji Water, evian and Essentia which has the one of highest pH’s of 9.5.

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