Balancing your body’s pH through an alkaline diet can be helpful in reducing morbidity and mortality from numerous chronic diseases and ailments, including hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, vitamin D deficiency, and low bone density. Research shows that diets consisting of highly alkaline foods—fresh vegetables, fruits and unprocessed plant-based sources of protein—result in a more alkaline urine pH level, which may help protect healthy cells and balance essential mineral levels. Alkaline diets have been shown to help prevent plaque formation in blood vessels, stop calcium from accumulating in urine, prevent kidney stones, build stronger bones, reduce muscle wasting or spasms, and much more.
How an Alkaline Diet Works:
Normally, the kidneys maintain our electrolyte levels (those of calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium). When we’re exposed to overly acidic substances, these electrolytes are used to combat acidity.
Many children and adults today consume a high sodium diet that is very low in not only magnesium and potassium, but also antioxidants, fiber and essential vitamins. On top of that, the typical Western diet is high in refined fats, simple sugars, sodium and chloride.
All of these changes to the human diet have resulted in increased “metabolic acidosis.” In other words, the pH levels of many people’s bodies are no longer optimal. On top of this, many are suffering from low nutrient intake and problems such as potassium and magnesium deficiency.
This accelerates the aging process, causes gradual loss of organ functions, and degenerates tissue and bone mass. High degrees of acidity force our bodies to rob minerals from the bones, cells, organs and tissues.
Alkaline Diet Benefits:
1. Protects Bone Density and Muscle Mass
Your intake of minerals plays an important role in the development and maintenance of bone structures. Research shows that the more alkalizing fruits and vegetables someone eats, the better protection that person might have from experiencing decreased bone strength and muscle wasting as they age. Alkaline diets also help improve production of growth hormones and vitamin D absorption, which further protects bones in addition to mitigating many other chronic diseases.
2. Lowers Risk for Hypertension and Stroke
One of the antiaging effects of an alkaline diet is that it decreases inflammation and causes an increase in growth hormone production. This has been shown to improve cardiovascular health and offer protection against common problems like high cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), kidney stones, stroke, and even memory loss.
3. Lowers Chronic Pain and Inflammation
Studies have found a connection between an alkaline diet and reduced levels of chronic pain. Chronic acidosis has been found to contribute to chronic back pain, headaches, muscle spasms, menstrual symptoms, inflammation and joint pain.
4. Boosts Vitamin Absorption and Prevents Magnesium Deficiency
An increase in magnesium is required for the function of hundreds of enzyme systems and bodily processes. Many people are deficient in magnesium, and, as a result, experience heart complications, muscle pains, headaches, sleep troubles and anxiety. Available magnesium is also required to activate vitamin D and prevent vitamin D deficiency, which is important for overall immune and endocrine functioning.
5. Helps Improve Immune Function and Cancer Protection
When cells lack enough minerals to properly dispose of waste or oxygenate the body fully, the whole body suffers.
6. Can Help You Maintain a Healthy Weight
Limiting consumption of acid-forming foods and eating more alkaline-forming foods can protect your body from obesity by decreasing leptin levels and inflammation, which affects your hunger and fat-burning abilities.
Best Alkaline Foods:
Fresh fruits and vegetables promote alkalinity the most. Some of the top picks include mushrooms, citrus, dates, raisins, spinach, tomatoes, avocado, summer black radish, alfalfa grass, barley grass, cucumber, kale, jicama, wheat grass, broccoli, oregano, garlic, ginger, green beans, endive, cabbage, celery, red beet, watermelon, figs and ripe bananas.
Plant proteins: Almonds, navy beans, lima beans, and most other beans are good choices.
Green drinks: Drinks made from green vegetables and grasses in powder form are loaded with alkaline-forming foods and chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is structurally similar to our own blood and helps alkalize the blood.
Source: Steven M. Rachlin, M.D., of Rachlin Medical Center (927 Willis Ave., Albertson), has been practicing for more than 30 years. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 516-873-7773 or visit RachlinMedical.com.