What Is The Alkaline Diet?
The Alkaline diet is also known as the acid-alkaline diet or alkaline ash diet.
The Alkaline diet is based on a simple theory: foods can cause acid to be released by the body, which is harmful to health. Thus, by avoiding these foods and drinks, it’s said that health can be maintained.
The alkaline diet is based on the idea that replacing acid-forming foods with alkaline foods will improve your health.
The Alkaline diet uses the pH scale, a scale that measures how acidic something is. Zero at the lowest end is the most acidic something can be, with 14 at the highest end, the most alkaline. Seven is neutral.
According to the theory behind the Alkaline diet, foods that cause the body to produce acid, bringing the pH level of the body down on the scale. This creates a highly acidic environment in the body. Studies have shown that cancer cells thrive in these kinds of conditions, so it’s thought that by avoiding foods that create acidity, the probability of getting cancer is lessened.
Regular pH Levels in Your Body
pH is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline something is. The pH value ranges from 0-14:
- Acidic: 0.0- 6.9
- Neutral: 7.0
- Alkaline (or basic): 7.1-14.0
Your pH varies greatly within the body. While some parts are acidic, others are alkaline. There is no true set level.
The stomach is loaded with hydrochloric acid, giving it a pH level of 2- 3.5 , which is considered highly acidic. But this acidity is necessary to break down food.
On the flip side of the coin, human blood is always slightly alkaline, with a pH of 7.36- 7.44 . When your blood falls out of the normal range, it can be fatal when it’s left untreated. This only happens however, during certain disease states, such as ketoacidosis caused by diabetes, starvation, or alcohol intake.
Food Affects the pH of Your Urine, But Not Your Blood
The pH of your blood must remain constant. If it falls outside the normal range, your cells would stop working and you would die very quickly if left untreated.
Because of this, the body has many effective ways to closely regulate its pH balance. This is known as acid-base homeostasis.
It is nearly impossible for food to change the pH of blood in healthy people, although tiny fluctuations occur within a normal range.
Food can however change the pH value of your urine.
Excreting acids in your urine is one the main ways your body regulates its blood pH.
If you eat foods that are considered highly acidic, your urine will be more acidic several hours later as your body removes the metabolic waste from your system.
This is why urine pH is a poor indicator of overall body pH and general health. It can also be influenced by factors other than your diet.
Dr. Sebi and the Alkaline DIet
One of the most important figures in the Alkaline diet and its popularity is Dr. Sebi. Sebi, born Alredo Bowman in Honduras, was a herbalist and healer, who called himself an “intracellular therapist”. His diet is based on an African Bio-mineral balance theory. Despite his name, Dr. Sebi is not a medical doctor.
The diet is a plant-based diet that claims to eliminate waste by alkalyzing the blood. Dr. Sebi believes that disease doesn’t thrive in an alkaline environment and does so only when the body becomes too acidic. The nutritional guide includes drinking almost 4 litres of water a day. No alcohol or animal products, no wheat or using the microwave when cooking.
Health Benefits of the Alkaline Diet
- Improves memory and cognition
- Promotes cardiovascular health
- Boosts immune system
- Better digestion
- Prevents cancer
- Keeps bones and muscles healthy
Foods to Eat on the Alkaline Diet
Fruits such as apples, melons, dates, figs, papayas, peaches, pears, plums, mangoes.
Vegetables such as peppers, cucumbers, kale, lettuce (not iceberg), mushrooms, okra, squash, tomatoes, courgette.
Grains such as rye, wild rice, spelt, and quinoa.
Nuts and seeds such as Brazil nuts, hemp seeds, raw sesame seeds, walnuts
Oils such as avocado oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, and sesame oil.
Herbal teas such as elderberry, chamomile, fennel, burdock, ginger, and raspberry.
Spices such as oregano, basil, clove, bay leaf, dill, sweet basil, habernero, tarragon, sage, pure sea salt, thyme
Foods To Avoid on the Alkaline Diet
- Canned fruit or vegetable
- seedless fruit
- red meat
- soy products
- processed food
- baking powder
Does the Alkaline Diet Work?
Maybe, but not for the reasons it claims to.
A pH level measures how alkaline or acidic something is. A pH of 0 is totally acidic, whereas a pH of 14 is completely alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral. These levels vary throughout our body. Our blood is slightly alkaline, with a pH between 7.35 and 7.45. The stomach is very acidic with a pH level of 3.5 or below so that it can break down food. Our urine changes, depending on what we eat- that’s how the body keeps the level of pH in the body steady.
The Alkaline diet claims to help the body maintain its blood pH level. However, nothing that you eat is going to change the pH of your blood. Your body works to keep that level constant.
However, the foods that are recommended on the Alkaline diet are good for you and will support a healthy weight loss: lots of fruits and vegetables, lots of water, avoiding sugar, alcohol and processed foods is healthy advice.
There is early medical evidence that diets low in acid-producing foods like animal protein (such as meat and cheese), bread, fruits and vegetables can help prevent kidney stones, help keep muscles and bones strong, improve heart health and brain function, reduce lower back pain, and lower risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Is the Alkaline Diet Good for Certain Health Conditions?
When you follow an alkaline diet you are choosing fruits and vegetables instead of higher-calorie, higher fat food choices. You will also stay away from prepared foods which often have higher levels of sodium.
This is great for heart health because following this diet helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, which are huge factors for heart disease.
Reaching a healthy weight is also important for preventing and treating diabetes and osteoperosis.
Some studies have found that an alkaline environment in the body may make certain chemotherapy drugs more effective or less toxic. But it has not yet been shown that an alkaline diet can do this or prevent cancer.