All types of diets have their own sets of pros and cons, but when it comes to an alkaline diet, it is one of the best for increasing longevity and staving off diseases.
A 2012 review published in the Journal of Environmental Health found that balancing your body’s pH through an alkaline diet is very healthy. It can reduce the risk of several diseases, including hypertension, arthritis, vitamin D deficiency, low bone density and lots more.
An alkaline diet, also known as the alkaline ash diet, helps balance the pH level of the tissues and fluids in the body, including blood and urine.
The pH level is a measure of acidity or alkalinity, based on a scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 0 is totally acidic, while a pH of 14 is completely alkaline.
For optimum health, having a pH between 7.35 and 7.45 is something everyone should try for.
Here are the top reasons why you should follow an alkaline diet.
1. Lowers Pain and Inflammation
An alkaline diet can help prevent inflammation in the body, which contributes to different types of pain including back pain, headaches, muscle spasms, joint pain and so on.
An alkaline diet improves the supplementation of alkaline minerals, such as potassium and magnesium. Both these minerals are essential for fighting inflammation. For instance, magnesium allows for activation of vitamin D, which is important for preventing pain.
A 2011 study by the Society for Minerals and Trace Elements in Germany reports that when patients with chronic back pain were given an alkaline supplement daily for four weeks, a majority of the patients reported significant reduction in pain.
The pain was measured by the Arhus low back pain rating scale.
Following an alkaline diet also has the potential to reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, although studies are needed to prove this effect.
2. Prevents Cancer
An alkaline diet is an effective way to reduce your risk of cancer. Cancer cells cannot survive in an overly alkaline environment. Plus, alkalinity prevents chronic inflammation, which is one of the key reasons behind cancer and other deadly diseases.
Moreover, cancerous cell death (apoptosis) is more likely to occur in an alkaline body.
On the other hand, bacteria and cancer cells thrive in an acidic body. A high-acid diet can upset the pH balance of your blood and lead to different diseases over time, and cancer is not an exception.
3. Boosts Immune Function
Eating an alkaline diet having plenty of antioxidant foods like fresh fruits, vegetables and leafy greens is a great way to improve your immunity.
In fact, keeping the pH level to an alkaline side will allow your immune system to function at its best. This will assist the body in fighting colds and the flu and keep diseases at bay.
On the other hand, an acidic diet affects the cells and they cannot dispose of waste products properly or oxygenate the body fully.
Also, an acidic body is not able to absorb vitamins and minerals properly, which can lead to an accumulation of toxins and pathogens in the body. This in turn weakens the immune system.
4. Prevents Heartburn
Following an alkaline diet is also good for your digestive system. It helps prevent acid reflux and heartburn that are associated with an acidic diet.
In fact, naturopathic experts often recommend an alkaline diet that improves the acid-alkaline balance in your body. The enzymes required for digestion and anything that disrupts the acid alkaline balance in your body impacts your digestion as well.
Eat more alkaline foods, especially apples to calm your stomach and aid in smooth functioning digestive system.
5. Improves Heart Health
Following an alkaline diet has a positive impact on heart health. It plays a key role in reducing the risk of hypertension and strokes.
An alkaline diet includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in polyphenols, which are anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is one of the main contributors to increased blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. By reducing inflammation, you reduce the risk of plaque in the arteries and clot formation, which in turn benefits heart health.
Plus, the polyphenols aid in preventing the absorption of bad cholesterol. Reducing the cholesterol level in the blood vessels helps lower blood pressure and therefore reduces the risk of a heart attack.
6. Prevents Nutrient Deficiency
When following an alkaline diet, you are at a lower risk of suffering from a deficiency of minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium.
These four minerals help balance the pH level in your body, and most of the alkaline foods are rich in these minerals.
Calcium is needed for healthy muscles and bones, while magnesium is required by the body to maintain energy and vitality. Magnesium activates vitamin D in the body and reduces the risk of vitamin D deficiency, which is important for overall immune and endocrine functioning.
Potassium is needed for strong muscles, good reflexes and better heart health. Sodium is an important electrolyte that cells need to function properly.
7. Aids Weight Management
Following an alkaline diet even helps in maintaining a healthy weight.
In this type of diet, the focus is mainly on raw and freshly harvested fruits and vegetables that contain vast amounts of nutrients, minerals and enzymes. While the minerals assist in utilization of nutrients, the enzymes help breakdown food to provide you with sufficient energy.
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables also helps improve body mass index. Also, an alkaline diet aids detoxification and prevents toxins from accumulating in the body. Circulating wastes can clog up the organs as well as slow down the metabolism rate. This in turn can result in weight gain.
Plus, eating more alkaline-forming foods can reduce leptin levels and inflammation, which affects your hunger and fat-burning abilities.
Tips to Boost Your Body’s Alkalinity
- Eat alkaline foods, such as kale, baby spinach, apples, apricots, avocados, cucumbers and fermented tempeh.
- Avoid acidic foods, which includes refined sugars, deep-fried foods, processed foods, meats, corn, eggs, dairy products, beans and fish.
- Avoid acidic beverages like sodas, sweetened teas, processed fruit juices and sports drinks.
- Beer, wine, hard liquor and any other form of alcohol should also be avoided.
- Drink green drinks, such as wheatgrass juice, barley grass juice and so on.
- Drink the juice of ½ of a lemon squeezed into a glass of warm water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Eat more plant-based foods and opt for only grass-fed, organic animal products.