Many of us feel unwell after indulging in a diet high in acidic-forming foods. Eating a diet that is high in alkaline-forming foods can lead to a much healthier and vitalised body. However many people get confused about what they can eat. Assuming that to be healthy you need to eat a completing alkaline-forming diet. But this is not the case. What we need is a balance between Alkaline and Acidic forming foods.
Why we often feel worse after a nice long summer holiday?
The easiest way for me to explain the effects of an alkaline diet on the body is to refer to how we feel after a big holiday away from home. We all love a nice long holiday. They are wonderful for rejuvenating the mind, body, and soul. Long hot summer days relaxing by the pool or the beach should be good for the body? However, a day like this is often followed by lots of socialising and catching up with family and friends. Catching up with friends often involves a good cheese platter before dinner while sipping on a nice cold wine or beer. The cheese platter and drinks get followed up by a barbeque laden with yummy meats and high carbohydrate salads and bread.
After a while, our bodies start to tell us that they are fed up with the overeating and drinking. As much as we all love a nice long summer holiday, it is always nice to get back into a routine. I find after a holiday I can’t wait to get back home to start eating normally. So, despite how much we enjoy our holidays the accumulated effects of too much alcohol, lots of big restaurant meals, cheese platters, barbeques, and lack of sleep and exercise start to take its toll. I frequently come back from holidays begging for a salad, why is this?
The culprit could be an overly acidic diet
I believe the main culprit for our feelings of bloat, reflux, and general lethargy, is because of the high acidic diet that we tend to indulge in when we are on holiday. Have you noticed towards the end of the holiday you start to get an upset tummy, feel bloated, maybe are more prone to constipation, when you urinate it stings or your bowel motions become very stinky? Eating an acidic diet causes inflammation, constipation, fatigue, and upset stomachs to name a few.
By eating a diet high in alkaline-forming foods, your body will be more able to reduce inflammation and stomach issues. A balanced ph in your body creates healthy cells and they can be more effective in absorbing the nutrients they require and eliminating waste. Having a balanced ph is essential for good health and vitality.
Your body gets rid of acidic waste through your urine and bowel movements so that your blood is not affected. An acidic diet alters the ph of your urine which can make you more susceptible to urinary tract infections, bacterial vaginosis, and vaginal thrush. So if you are someone who has issues with your urinary and vaginal health regularly take a probiotic like Promote when you are on holiday to ensure you don’t get unwell.
So why does having too many acidic foods and drinks have such an impact on our overall health?
Alkaline foods are important in maintaining good health but there is a lot of misinformation about alkaline diets and having an alkaline body. What we are actually looking for is a balance of Alkaline and Acidic forming foods. This is because an overly alkaline state is just as bad as an acidic state. Now the body tries very hard to maintain that balance and many systems and processes are affected trying to maintain that balance.
The problem is that your typical western diet is acid-forming. A plant-based diet is typically alkaline-forming so having a more plant-based diet leads to the ideal biochemistry for the body to work properly as designed because it has a natural tendency towards acidity simply through the normal day to day metabolic processes.
This may sound a little complicated and that’s because it is. All you need to understand is that one of the two fundamental biochemical requirements for health is your body to be balanced in terms of pH.
What foods are acidic?
The typical modern western diet unfortunately contains a high level of acidifying foods. Animal proteins, wheat, gluten, dairy, and refined and processed carbohydrates. Alkaline foods such as fruits and vegetables are eaten in smaller quantities and as a result not enough to neutralise the excess pf the acidic foods. Common substances like tobacco, coffee, tea, and alcohol are also extremely acidifying in the body. For a more comprehensive list click on the link below.
How do I include more alkaline-forming foods into my diet?
It is quite easy to include more alkaline-forming foods into your diet just by including more green vegetables. This may be why people often feel better when they start eating a more vegetarian diet. It may also be why you are craving a green salad after a lengthy holiday away from home. Avoid processed carbohydrates and foods because they are acid-forming. This may explain why when someone removes gluten or starts eating a clean diet they feel so much better.
To help our bodies maintain a balanced ph level it is important to eat and enjoy more alkaline-forming foods and less acid-forming foods. Eating a diet of 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% acid-forming foods is a food rule of thumb if you are wanting to have a healthy diet. Below are some simple tips to help you have a more alkaline diet without going on a really strict unrealistic diet.
Tips on how to have a more alkaline diet
- Green foods: Simplest and easiest way is to have a green juice every day. Green foods include things like parsley, kale, spinach, broccoli, etc
2. Green powders: wheatgrass, barley grass, alfalfa, spirulina and there are many more all assist the body towards alkalinity and are easily incorporated into your diet in a smoothie.
3. Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. They are acid in the state however highly alkaline-forming.
4. Have a more plant-based diet and include more herbs, nuts, and seeds in your diet
5. Avoid sugar, alcohol, coffee, and processed foods. Replace some of your coffee with herbal teas.
6. Avoid eating too many animal proteins.
7. Don’t overexercise
8. Minimise stress
Try to include vegetables at each meal. For example at breakfast time tomato and avocado on toast, parsley in your scrambled eggs. In winter I struggle to eat salads so I always have a big pot of vegetable soup in the fridge. By having a nice hot cup of vegetable soup I know I will be getting lots of vegetables in. Little changes like this will have a big benefit on your overall health.
Benefits of a more alkaline diet
A balanced pH assists with body hydration intracellularly, enzyme activity, hormone balance, immunity, mineral balance (especially relating to osteoporosis), inflammation, and arthritic tendencies. All the key elements associated with chronic diseases. So if you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness a balanced ph will definitely help you. Hormones and your stomach gut are two areas of the body that can also be greatly affected by an overly acidic diet.
Some studies have shown that cancer cells thrive in highly acidic environments so eating a diet high in alkaline-forming foods may help you avoid developing cancer. A balanced ph will mean that food is digested properly and essential vitamins and minerals absorbed. Inflammation that is in the body will decrease which should give you more energy and vitality. It may also help you to avoid developing chronic illnesses and diseases.
For more information read this interesting article