Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What Are Alkaline Foods & How Do They Benefit The Human Body?

Some natural health experts deplore the average American diet on the basis that it includes many foods which are too acidic to effectively promote and maintain a healthy body.

Some examples of these acidic sources we consume are refined sugars, dairy products, and meat, such as beef and pork.

These experts feel there are many different side effects that result from a high-acid diet, such as a diminished immune system, increased incidence of disease, and fatigue and lack of energy.

We all know that a sugar high can feel good every once in a while when eating Rocky Road ice cream, but unless you attempt to alkalize your body afterwards, you run the risk of a crash as a result.

Alkalizing the body is not difficult, but, in order to understand the benefits of doing so, one must first understand the definition of alkaline foods, how they work with the body, and which foods in particular will counteract the effects of their acidic counterparts.

What Is Alkaline?

pH scale showing common substances
pH scale showing common substances (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Alkaline is defined as that which has a pH greater than 7. Because the body functions best at a pH level of about 7.4, it is important to consume foods which will keep your blood at an appropriate pH level.

This is especially crucial when consuming foods which are acidic, and, which, will bring those levels lower than they should be.

Pure, distilled water sits at almost exactly 7 on the pH scale. Foods with a higher number are alkaline, while anything that is lower than 7 is considered acidic.

Supposed Benefits Of An Alkaline Diet

As a general rule, foods can be classified as either acid-forming or alkaline forming.

The human body‘s pH is 7.35, or slightly alkaline. The body is always seeking a state of homeostasis (balance) and it works hard to maintain the healthy neutral alkaline zone.

Now, keep in mind that foods in and of themselves cannot change alkalinity in the body, but, the body does have to work extra hard to compensate for the intake of acid-forming foods that are ingested in excess.

This happens because when your diet is highly acidic the body will often leech calcium from the bones, as calcium is an alkalizing mineral. Over time this can lead to bone mineral loss, which, can result in osteoporosis.

Additionally, as a stressor it can lead to inflammation along with increased cortisol levels, and this can impact overall health in the long term.

Conversely, those foods that are alkaline forming are typically plant based and highly nutrient dense, and also loaded with antioxidants.

Including a variety of alkaline-forming foods in your diet slows the leeching of calcium from the bones, and this results in improved bone health.

These foods also support healthy cell regeneration and fight the effects of free-radicals on the body.

Since it is the pH level of blood which concerns us, putting additional acidic foods into our diets actually works against the human system. When more strain is put on the body to fight sickness and disease, it is no wonder a highly acidic diet might make one feel tired and lethargic.

Benefits Of Alkaline Forming Foods For Athletes And Exercise

Alkalizing foods have can also have major benefits for athletes and for the human body in general during exercise.

A diet high in acid-forming foods results in reduction of muscle efficiency, so more energy expenditure is needed for each and every muscle contraction. Now, during a race or intense activity, this means a lot of extra work for the body.

Since alkaline-forming foods greatly reduce inflammation, the muscles work at more functional levels, and they also require less force to move.

This allows endurance athletes, such as, those who run marathons and participate in triathlons to push harder for longer. For those who do strength training, and bodybuilders, some say that alkalizing foods will allow you to lift heavier weights with less negative stress on the body.

But how do you eat a more alkaline diet? How do you know which foods to choose, and which to avoid? Just check back next week, when we'll share 3 simple tips for making your diet more alkaline!

Note: All information on this blog is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered as medical advice or treatment. You should consult your doctor before beginning any new diet plan or cleanse.

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