Health & Wellness

What is Alkaline Diet?

Do you feel frequent burning sensations soon after you consume a glass of orange juice first thing in the morning? Do you often feel bloated every time you consume a high protein food like a beefsteak? Is getting signs of inflammation like itchiness and abdominal cramps have become a thing of routine? If yes, then there are high chances your body is becoming too acidic. 

The Scientific Base of the Alkaline Diet

On neutral grounds, our body is capable of holding a natural pH of 7.34 to 7.54, which equates to a perfect balance between acidic and basic. However, this can become of great importance as our body is used to keeping a good balance between the two extremes. Although it is scientifically not common to disturb this fragile balance, the fact remains the same – too much of something might lead you to a disturbance in your pH. That means you will need to take care of the foods you eat because it turns out a lot of us consume foods on one extreme: the acidic spectrum.

The Acidic Foods 

Wherever you turn your head, you would find a plethora of edible and drinkable items that scream ACIDIC from afar. Take sugar, for instance. Too many sugary foods will lower your pH levels in the gut, even more, leading to inflammation. It is no wonder a lot of people complain of symptoms like itchiness in the skin, nausea, bloating, and flatulence when they consume sugary foods. These are all signs of inflammation. The sugar basically goes into the delicate mucous cells in the GI tract and gets converted into different products by the process of gluconeogenesis, glycolysis, and other scientifically explained cycles for sugar metabolism. The acidic pH of such food can hinder your digesting activity, causing more and more release of inflammatory by-products, leading to the symptoms mentioned above. 

Then we have spicy and processed foods. These foods also account for accelerating your pH levels in the body, giving way for more acid release from the gut. What you get is a hugely disturbed GI tract that speaks of inflammation. 

The Acidic Load

Your gut, especially the stomach, is known for its high enzymatic activity to perform different digestion activities, and the stomach has a pH of 2.00, which is acidic in nature. If you are already putting in too much protein, sugar, and fats in your mouth, you are going to get a more acidic environment which will lead to more inflammation in the body. 

Increasing Alkalinity 

The alkaline diet is a great solution to fight off the increasing acidic load in your body. The concept behind this diet is to not shift your body towards the opposite extreme but to help your body regain its natural pH by introducing foods that are alkaline in nature against the acidic medium. This means you will get to have a body that is healthy, with no signs of inflammation. 

You can increase your body’s alkalinity to get rid of the symptoms mentioned above by following an alkaline diet. An alkaline diet, basically, consists of two major steps:

  • Avoiding foods that are acidic and inflammatory in nature
  • Consuming foods that are alkaline in nature, so you get to have a healthy balance. 

Avoiding Acidic Foods

Refined and processed foods contain a lot of additives and preservatives, most of which are acidic in nature. You will find it to be true as when you read the ingredients on the packets; you will come to note most words end with an “acid” term. Also, deep-fried foods and trans-fat that come from high-fat meat play a contributing factor in increasing your gut’s acidity, and therefore should be avoided. High biological value protein that comes from meat like red meat and pork needs to be taken in very low amounts to make sure your body does not get too acidic. This is because the Pepsin released in your stomach gets released more when it anticipates a high protein meal coming in your gut, and Pepsin is the fluid in your stomach which has a pH level of 2.00. 

Consuming Alkaline Foods

The word “Alkaline” literally means mineral ash which is best found in plant sources. That means vegetables make good sources of alkaline foods. Anyone on the alkaline diet needs to consume a lot of vegetables in small, frequent portions throughout the day to make sure there is a good balance between the acidity and alkalinity in the individual consuming them. The idea is to introduce minerals like zinc, calcium, magnesium, and more to enhance the nutrition of the person and fight off the building acidity in the body that contributes to inflammatory processes in the body. 

The Pros

  • Best for patients who are fighting chronic disorders
  • Best for heartburn and other stomach problems except for abdominal distension or bowel obstruction
  • Ideal for a healthy sleep that is otherwise often disturbed by gastric acidity
  • Improved quality of life that comes with the absence of recurrent symptoms for inflammation

The Cons 

  • Not recommended for patients with bowel obstruction disease or abdominal distension as it is high in fiber
  • Renal patients need to critically evaluate items high in potassium, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, and others and consult a renal dietitian specifically to check which vegetables are suitable. 

Who Should Consume the Diet and Who Shouldn’t?

Patients having cancer, diabetes, inflammatory skin diseases like dermatitis, and obesity are some of the subjects that can gain great benefits from consuming this diet. However, people who should avoid this kind of diet are mentioned in the cons section.

Final Word

As you can see, the good points of the alkaline diet hint that there is the leverage that comes with using such food in your routine for good. While avoiding acidic foods completely might seem impractical for many, a sensible idea would be to introduce alkaline foods as much as one can in their diet to balance the acid build-up in the body – ultimately leading to a healthier body. 

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