Having an alkaline diet (aka alkaline ash diet or acid alkaline diet) can help you lose weight and allegedly reduces the risk of diseases like arthritis and cancer. The implied theory is that foods such as refined sugar, wheat, dairy, processed foods, alcohol, and animal proteins cause your body to produce acid. Over time, acidic foods stress the body which leaves you feeling fatigued and lowers the body’s immune system.
The pH scale provides a measurement between 0 (totally acidic) and +14 (totally alkaline). Your body’s ideal pH is 7.36, which is marginally alkaline. These diets are about using food to help your body reach and maintain ideal pH level so it functions at its best.
How to Achieve Alkaline/Acid Balance Naturally
This nutrition plan stresses the importance of consuming mainly fruits and vegetables as the core of your daily intake. Consuming 70 percent alkaline foods and 30 percent acidic foods is the best case scenario, but any change initially is better than no change. However, as with anything in life, maintaining balance is always important.
Living in alkaline balance can be done effortlessly with these tips:
- Eat Plenty of Green
Reach for dark leafy greens or green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, peas, beans, cucumber, mustard greens, dandelion greens and collard greens. Have some with every meal and focus on making vegetables the main part of each meal rather than meat or grains.
- Drink alkaline water
Drinking water is an essential part of our well-being and most don’t drink enough. Most people need a minimum of 8 to 10 large glasses of alkaline water per day. However, to be more accurate water consumption depends on your size, weight, activity level and the weather. You require between 15 to 30 millilitres for each pound you weigh, every day. Add a quarter of a freshly-squeezed lemon to 2 cups of lukewarm; it will help buffer excess acids.
- Reduce alcohol
Alcoholic beverages are very acidic and have a lot of refined sugar. An occasional glass of wine or beer is not going to be too detrimental, however keep it to a minimum.
- Exercise with Intensity
Exercise 30 – 60 minutes three to five times a week. Exercise reduces acidity in the body and sweating also gives acid another way to leave the body. Exercising with high intensity increases oxygen to your body which automatically helps it to become more alkaline.
- Reduce Stress, Meditate, Breath Deep
Stress causes an acid build-up so it is important to find ways to relax. Find mindful activities to create a stress-free environment for yourself, participate in meditation, yoga, or deep breathing. These are all great ways to reduce stress which in turn will reduce acid levels.
Following an Alkaline Diet May be Challenging Initially
You will find this diet is almost entirely vegetarian so it is perfect for vegetarians and vegans, due to the fact it discourages animal products and dairy. The menu is also ideal for people who are gluten intolerant or choose to be gluten free as it eliminates wheat from your meal plans. Alkaline diets only allow unprocessed foods so you will need to spend time grocery shopping and prepare meals ahead of time. Many other nutrition plans allow low-fat dairy, bread, and sweets in moderation, they are not allowed in this diet plan at all. Protein is mostly limited to plant-based sources such as beans and tofu.
Some of the many benefits include: weight loss, increased energy, reduced joint pain, clearer skin, improved bone health and decreased risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and kidney disease.
Remember to keep it as simple as possible, and if you make a mistake or want to have a special dinner out, don’t worry! Go for a walk or to the gym and just start again. Tomorrow is new day.
Learn more about nutrition plans with the CSNA program. The curriculum is comprehensive and practical and is considered by many experts as being at the cutting-edge of sports nutrition, research and counselling. Program data is continually evaluated and updated to ensure that students are getting the most current and relevant information available!
Cathie Glennon – BCRPA/SFL