Over the years, people have learned to take responsibility with their own health. Gone are the days when people only listen to what doctors say. People are no longer satisfied with just taking pills or medications. People are more willing to be active participants in their efforts to stay healthy. More and more people are going to the gym, following specific diet plans and making different changes in their previously sedentary lifestyles. A lot of us nowadays recognize that being healthy requires a conscious decision and the resolve to act on it.
A big aspect of being healthy is to know what to eat and what not to eat. However, a great number of people are baffled and even deceived by the sudden boom of new and allegedly “healthy diets”. For many years, health practitioners have been constantly suggesting on the types of food we should consume. But most of us don’t really understand or appreciate what they do to our body.
What is an Alkaline Diet?
Alkaline diet provides an answer to the health needs of the modern person. But before going in depth on how it can benefit you, it’s wiser to understand first what acidity and alkalinity is and its effect on the body.
The acidity or alkalinity of a substance is determined by the pH scale. This signifies the presence of hydrogen in a substance. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 0 to 6 being acidic and 7 to 14 being alkaline. The body is slightly alkaline, with a pH scale of 7.4. In order to achieve optimum functioning, the body’s normally alkaline environment should be maintained.
Foods that we consume can be classified as either acidic or alkaline. This is because some foods are made up of substances that are acidic in nature such as phosphorus, sulphur and iodine. On the other hand, others are alkaline because of the basic or alkaline substances that compose them like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The alkalinity or acidity of the foods we eat greatly affects our body.
As mentioned earlier, the body is slightly alkaline. For it to function at its optimum level, the alkalinity must be maintained. However, most foods that are consumed by a great number of people are acid forming. A great example would be red meat and shellfishes. These protein rich foods are made up of amino acids that are composed mainly of phosphorus and sulphur. This makes the body acidic. As a result, the body’s ability to work efficiently diminishes.
When the body is too acidic, it consumes its own reserve of alkalizing substances to compensate. This can lead to many different degenerative diseases such as chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and gout just to name a few.
Therefore, an alkaline diet is recommended for a healthier body. However, it is also important to remember that the goal of an alkaline diet is to maintain balance in the body. The body is only slightly alkaline. And with the imbalance brought by excessive intake of acidifying foods, it’s vital to bring back the natural alkalinity of the body by consuming alkaline-producing foods.
What are the benefits of an Alkaline Diet?
The alkalinity of the body is important for it to function at an optimum level. But how does this exactly benefit our bodies? There are many benefits that an alkaline diet can cause. They include but are not limited to the ones discussed in the following sections.
- Higher Energy Levels. When the body’s alkalinity is maintained, it is able to function more efficiently. Because the possibility of developing diseases is low, more of the body’s energy is directed towards its normal functions instead of the compensatory mechanism it must sustain when a disease progresses. This includes digestion, elimination and mental process. Moreover, it will provide you with the energy you need to do your daily tasks since most foods in an alkaline diet are rich in complex carbohydrates, a great source of cellular energy.
- More efficient Immune System. When you consume foods that naturally alkalize the body, the stress that the body experiences in compensating for an acidic environment is totally avoided. This in turn gives the body more time and energy in making mature and efficient white blood cells. This helps boost your immune system and makes your body more apt to combat disease like common colds or even those that are caused by potent viruses. If you do get sick, the body becomes more effective in eliminating the cause of your sickness.
- Weight Control. An alkaline diet is also a balanced diet. It gives what your body exactly needs. Since the body functions more efficiently, the metabolism of food becomes more efficient as well. The body utilizes the available nutrients that you give it through consuming an alkaline diet. Instead of storing excess energy into fats, it utilizes this energy for its day to day functioning. Since it is balanced, you can be sure that you only consume the right amounts of the nutrients you need – without excess. This helps in controlling your weight.
- Reduced Risk for Certain Diseases. An acidifying diet is known to cause various diseases. This includes gouty arthritis, cysts and even tumour growth. For instance, the inflammation caused by uric acid crystals in gout gets worse when your eat acid-rich foods such as those containing high amounts of purine. In addition, an acidic environment encourages the formation of free radicals which are known to cause other inflammatory diseases. Consuming an alkaline diet, therefore, is vital in reducing the risk of acquiring these diseases.
Your journey to a longer and healthier life can be fun. It doesn’t have to be tedious and taxing. By appreciating the benefits of a healthier life, you can be more motivated in making sure you do live healthily. You don’t have to be a doctor or health professional to know how to achieve this. Being healthy is achievable and it lies on the palm of your hands.