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Do you know whether the type of food you eat is acidic or alkaline ?
Foods being acidic or alkaline make a major difference to our health status. A pH balance is required in your body to stay energised and disease free. When this balance is disturbed, you fall ill. Let us explore how to maintain this equilibrium.
So, what is this pH balance?
Technically, pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration in solution. Basically, pH scale runs from 0-14. Neutral pH is 7.0. The higher the pH (greater than 7) the more alkaline, while a pH lower than 7 is acidic. Water has a Ph nearest to 7.
Proper pH varies throughout your body. Saliva ranges between a Ph of 6.8-7.4. Your urine is normally more acid, especially in the morning due to the metabolic process of preparing for elimination. By far the most important measurement is blood pH and it has a very narrow range. An understanding of how to keep your blood in an alkaline range is important for maintaining good health. Your body doesn’t just “find” the balance it works extremely hard to create it. When you make poor lifestyle choices or are burdened by a toxic environment, your body has to work harder to create a peaceful homeostasis.
For good health our bodies need to be slightly alkaline (with a pH of between 7.36 and 7.45). Sounds simple right? But this is not mathematical scaled based on arithmetic, pH operates on a logarithmic scale with multiples of 10. Therefore, it takes ten times the amount of alkalinity to neutralise an acid.
Phew! It is quite a lot of information to remember. I wonder how the science students do it. Remember all of this. And this is just one part of all of it. So, well, I hope you get the general picture of what exactly is this ph balance.
Why is it essential to maintain pH balance?
If you ask experts on it, some believe that maintaining pH balance is extremely important, some might say that it is essential, and there are others who will convince you that it is a matter of life and death (read “scare” in place of convince). All in all, they all will convince you, at the least, that pH balance is important for your health.
Maintaining your pH balance is important, because addressing an over acidic system, is fundamental for bringing the body back to vitality. It is the key to balancing all the other systems. In fact, you will be surprised to know, that most of the digestive disorders, heart diseases, bacterial infections, respiratory problems, arthritis, skin infections, devitalizing, excretory and urinary problems, are caused due to imbalance of pH in our body. In fact, research is on, to find links between reproductive problems like infertility and pH imbalance too, which the health experts claim, exist.
How can you maintain a balanced pH? What are Alkaline Diets?
Alkaline diet is the latest food fad. Don’t believe me? Then you will believe when I tell you that your favorite celebs are following the same. Actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kirsten Dunst have recently admitted that they ‘eat alkaline’, while former “Friends” star Jennifer Aniston revealed she drinks an alkaline smoothie daily. Supermodel Miranda Kerr also said that instead of drinking normal pH neutral water, she drinks only water alkalized by a special filter.
Basically, there are two types of food that we consume, acidic and alkaline. We eat both types, but care should be taken to consume more of alkaline than acidic foods, for a healthy body and skin. That is because of the fact that acidic foods form acid in the body. Also, while human body is already alkaline, its functions produce acid. This stresses out the digestive system, causing one to gain weight and feel tired. In a nutshell, health fanatics say that ‘going alkaline’ is the fastest way to being more energetic, having a flat tummy and even glowing skin.
Most fruits and vegetables, soybeans and tofu, and some nuts, seeds, and legumes are alkaline-promoting foods, so they’re fair game. Dairy, eggs, meat, most grains, and processed foods, like canned and packaged snacks and convenience foods, fall on the acid side and are not allowed. Most books that tout the alkaline diet say you shouldn’t have alcohol or caffeine, either. You’ll be cutting out a lot of foods you may be used to eating.
The diet excludes wheat, but to avoid gluten completely, you’ll need to check food labels carefully, as gluten is not just in wheat. Besides wheat, the diet nixes most of the other major triggers for food allergies, including milk, eggs, peanuts, walnuts, fish, and shellfish. It’s also good for people who are trying to avoid fat and sugar.
Top 6 Alkaline Foods
Did you know that Chinese traditions believe in the healing powers of all the vegetables that come from roots? That’s some interesting fact. Scientifically, too, these vegetables are known for their rich mineral content. Look for radishes, beets, carrots, turnips etc. The best part is that they do not even take up much of your time in getting ready for consumption. Just 20 minutes of steaming, and you are done. Not only will these vegetables make you feel satiated, but also “grounded”.
These are the well known and well loved ones. Also, we can make them tastier, with the addition of sauces and little bit of healthy spices of our own. Choose from broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and the like.
Remember how our moms literally coerced us into eating green veggies when we were kids? Today is no different, we are still those little kids when it comes to these green vegetables. Sigh! But for the sake of health, and the temptation of that perfect figure and glowing skin that we all crave for, this time, it’s our conscious that coerces us into eating these. These include kale, Swiss chard, turnip greens and spinach – of which spinach may in fact be the best pick. Known especially for its rich Vitamin K and folate content, spinach is also packed with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants and fiber, helping to improve digestion and even vision.
The first thing that comes to my mind when it comes to raw garlic is its strong odour. Probably that might be because of the fact, that in our Indian households, garlic is used more as a spice in itself, to add taste to our foods, than as a vegetable in itself. And also, I can never imagine myself eating it.
However, no matter how much you may crib, it is a true miracle food. Garlic appears at the top of innumerable lists of foods that encourage overall health, and alkaline-forming food is no exception. Among its other benefits, is its ability to promote cardiovascular and immune health by lowering blood pressure, cleansing the liver and fighting off disease.
The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear about capsicum is the yummy Italian pasta and macaroni prepared at home. But that’s junk, right? And we are talking about healthy foods. So shoo those tempting thoughts away from your mind.
As part of a family of potent, tropical peppers which contain enzymes essential to endocrine function, cayenne is among the most alkalizing foods. It is known for its antibacterial properties and is a rich supply of Vitamin A, making it a helpful agent in fighting off the harmful free radicals that lead to stress and illness.
Now this one is a no brainer. Lemon is something which has the cure of almost everything. Since childhood from any oily scalp or oily skin, this tiny hub of Vitamin C has managed to cure all. Lemon is the most alkalizing food of all.
As a natural disinfectant, it can heal wounds while also providing potent and immediate relief for hyperacidity and virus-related conditions, as well as coughs, colds, flu and heartburn. Lemon also works to energize the liver and promote detoxification.
Now that you know about the alkaline foods, let us have a look at the highly acidic foods, that you should avoid, if you want to follow an alkaline diet:
Avoid Highly Acidic Food Items
Colas / Soft Drinks
You do not need to think much before adding this to the list. Colas and soft drinks have always been health enemies. But, in today’s world, you cannot even ignore these completely. However, the trick is to reduce the consumption to most minimum possible level. Colas and soft drinks contain loads of sugar, which increases the insulin level, phosphoric acid, which interferes with the body’s ability to use and absorb calcium and caffeine, which is not only highly acidic, but also a cause of dehydration.
I know, I know! You all probably want to murder me now. First colas, now ice Cream. In short, all the things which a person can savour on a relaxed day out. But, the truth is harsh, and that’s what brings ice cream in this list. Milk has been researched by many studies, and has been actually known to be harmful. Ice cream, being a very dense form of milk, is worst!
Sugar, is the root of all acidity! Yes, it is. The worst thing is, of course, the more sugar the body gets, the more acidic it gets, and so the more it craves – to keep feeding these acidic microforms. Of course, as it is an everyday ingredient in our lifestyle, it is impossible for us to cut it down completely, but what we can do is cut down on the quantity and consumption.
Guilty as charged! I know many of us, including me, cannot do without our morning cup of tea or coffee. These too are highly acidic. Curb and cut down your intake immediately those 6 to 7 cups that you drink during a day. Cut it down to 2 or 1.
Beer, wine and liquor can all cause severe acid reflex symptoms. It stimulates the production of stomach acid.
Both milk chocolate and dark chocolate are highly acidic in nature.
Tomatoes and tomato based foods, all contain high levels of acid content, not unlike chocolates. Avoid foods such as marinara sauce, ketchup and tomato soup.
Experts say, that to maintain a healthy lifestyle and body, you can have a 60:40 ratio, as far as alkaline – acidic foods are concerned. It is not that difficult. You just have to increase the intake of nutrition and decrease the acidic and fatty part of your diet. Of course, if you are on an emergency alkaline diet, to reduce weight in a healthy manner, then you will have to avoid acidic foods altogether.
So, the next time, do not think of what’s on your plate for meal. Think about what is not there. Also, remember your mother’s childhood advice about what you should eat, and the benefits, that you are foregoing, by not having those foods on your plate.