Can eating specific foods just like those included in alkaline diet affect the pH levels or acid-base homeostasis of the body?
An alkaline diet does not necessarily concentrate on shedding extra pounds, but also in reducing the risks of developing diseases. The concept of this diet is to promote the pH level in your body by consuming foods that will spare you from the health woes from obesity to cancer (1).
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It is said that maintaining a healthy and balanced level of pH within your body highly advantageous to your health. If your body’s fluids and tissues contain the normal pH level, then it is expected that it will function properly.
What is Alkaline Diet?
The main concept of an alkaline diet is to consume plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables. Unlike other diet plans, an alkaline diet is healthy because it prevents consumption of processed foods, high-sodium foods, added sugars, too much animal protein and meat as well as processed grains.
This diet plan supports stronger bones, reverse nutrient deficiencies, decreased pain and better heart health. Following an alkaline diet can be challenging especially if you have busy schedule or if you travel a lot. You may find difficulty in selecting the food to eat and what to avoid.
To know whether an alkaline diet is beneficial or not to your body, the first thing to do is to understand the importance of pH level to your health.
The normal range of pH level of a human body is 7.35 to 7.45. The proper range will give the ideal environment for the tissues and fluids within your body (2).
Likewise, the proper pH level in your stomach is also essential so that it can easily break down the food. The blood also needs to maintain the right pH level so that it can smoothly transport the various substances throughout your body.
If the pH level in your body is not normal, it can affect your health. This means that extreme imbalance of your pH can be fatal. If the alkaline level in your blood and other body fluids become too imbalance, alkalosis occurs. This condition can be triggered by lung or liver disease, sudden loss of electrolytes and low oxygen level.
On the contrary, if the body fluids become highly acidic, acidosis occurs. There are different forms of acidosis such as renal, lactic, respiratory and metabolic. The metabolic acidosis is the most common and this is one of the focuses of alkaline diet.
How the Alkaline Diet Works?
Alkaline diet can be a good choice in terms of nutritional viewpoint. It’s because the diet contains more vegetables and fruits, instead of grains and meats. Since an alkaline diet is full of healthy foods, it follows that it works well in promoting better health.
This type of diet also supports cardiovascular health. You can also obtain a lot of magnesium and potassium as well as trace of essential minerals and vitamins. Likewise, the alkaline diet is low in sugar, fat and sodium.
Consuming the foods that an alkaline diet includes promotes good health. But, make sure not to skimp the nutrients essential for your health. This diet is packed with plant-based protein and calories that are helpful to weight loss, but maintain muscle mass.
In addition, the foods in alkaline diet are low-calorie and nutrient-dense. The fruits and vegetables are rich in zinc, iron and selenium that boost the immune system and support gut health. Vegetables that are rich in vitamin A promote healthy skin.
Studies revealed that if the alkaline level in your body is optimal, it can help for the effectiveness of specific chemotherapy drugs. It also aids in preventing osteoarthritis and diabetes. But, there’s no solid proof that the alkaline diet can prevent cancer.
Benefits of Alkaline Diet
- Protects muscle mass and bone density
Fruits and vegetables that are rich in alkaline makes your bone strong. The minerals present in the foods included in alkaline diet prevent muscle wasting as a person age (3). Magnesium, calcium and phosphate are some of the minerals that build bones and maintain lean muscle mass.
Intake of alkaline diet boosts the production of growth hormones and aids the body to better absorb vitamin D. It also lessens the risks of developing chronic diseases.
- Reduces the threat for hypertension and stroke
Aside from increasing the production of growth hormones, alkaline diet also supports cardiovascular health. This means that taking the diet will prevent hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke, memory loss and kidney stones.
- Lowers inflammation and chronic pain
Studies show that alkaline diet reduces the pain caused by chronic acidosis. Experiencing this condition can cause headaches, chronic back pain, joint pain and inflammation as well as muscle spasms.
- Boosts immune function
The body suffers when there’s no sufficient mineral in the cells responsible for disposing the waste products or oxygenate the body.
In the same manner, loss of minerals can make your body unable to absorb vitamin. Thus, pathogens and toxins may accumulate in your body and make the immune system weak.
- Prevents magnesium deficiency and improves vitamin absorption
Magnesium plays a big role to improve the functions of the enzyme systems and the various processes of the body.
Magnesium deficiency may result to experience headaches, muscle pains, anxiety, sleep problems and heart complications.
Likewise, magnesium is also essential for the body to improve the endocrine and immune function. It also prevents vitamin D deficiency (4).
- Helps to maintain healthy weight
Consuming foods that are rich in alkaline decreases inflammation and leptin levels. With this obesity can be prevented. Alkaline diet makes you feel satiated and reduce the amount of calories that your body need.
Alkaline Food Chart
|Highly Alkaline||pH 9.5 alkaline water|
Spinach (baby and grown)
|Sea Vegetables (Kelp)
All Sprouted Beans
White Haricot Beans
New Baby Potatoes
Goat & Almond Milk
Herbs & Spices (Thyme,
Mint, Ginger, Cumin etc.)
|Neutral/Mildly Acidic||Black Beans|
Kidney Beans & Other
Freshwater Wild Fish
Rice & Soy Milk
|Moderately Acidic||Fresh, Natural Juice|
Coffee & Black Tea
Fruit Juice (Sweetened)
Chart Source: energiseforlife.com
Final Thoughts on an Alkaline Diet
The creators of alkaline diet claim that there are certain foods that can promote either the acidity or alkalinity within your body. To improve the alkaline environment inside your body, you should consume cruciferous vegetables.
Alkaline-forming foods include garlic, avocado, mustard greens, ginseng, figs, almonds, apple cider vinegar, green tea, tomatoes and pumpkin seeds.
A study showed that consuming alkaline diet helps to balance your body’s pH. It reduces the risks of developing chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, low bone density and vitamin D deficiency.
Alkaline diet also prevents plaque buildup in the blood vessels and inhibits kidney stones. The mineral density from the foods you eat that are included in the diet stops the accumulation of calcium in the urine.
To ensure success, you must combine exercise with your diet plan to obtain positive results. Otherwise, you may achieve minimal weight loss results.
Dietitian with around 3 years of experience in assessing the nutritional needs of patients, counselling individuals, communicating the appropriate nutritional information to other members of the health care team and implementing nutritional care plans by following all the standards.