What is the Acid/Alkaline Balance?
You may have read recently about the benefit of an Alkaline Diet and wondered what it meant. It stands to reason that if there are alkaline foods then there must be acid foods and what does that mean in respect of your diet?
It sounds simple eat one type and restrict the other. But it is not as simple as it first seems, because even your emotions can have an effect on the acidity in the body. You can also turn an alkaline food into an acidic one by the method of cooking such as frying.
But, what makes a food Alkaline or Acidic?
Without getting too technical it is the residue of ash in the body after digestion – it is either acid or alkaline. And there are some surprises for example most people assume that lemons are acidic but in fact they are very alkalising.
However to maintain good health a balance of these types of foods and emotions is essential. Unfortunately most of the foods we eat in the West are acid forming and we have also become more impatient and angry – take the higher incidence of road rage for example. Too much acidity can affect the way you age and can also cause degenerative diseases. When the balance is out towards acidity, your skin will be dry and wrinkled, your hair dull and unmanageable, you may get mood swings, be more angry, your nervous system becomes affected, resulting in insomnia which then results in general ill health.
If you have looked at our articles on foods that feed the skin, anti ageing foods, brain food and foods that feed the eyes you will not be too surprised to find that the majority of the recommended ‘superfoods’ are alkaline. And, if you have checked out our article on Foods that Age You, you will find that they are mostly acidic.
But, although some of the foods we eat are acid forming they are necessary for good health One such group are proteins such as meat, eggs, all nuts except almonds, fish, cheese but of course these foods are vital to rebuild cells and should be eaten in a healthy diet. For a balanced diet the general rule is 20% of foods can be acid forming foods and the bulk 80% alkaline forming foods.
Needless to say the most obvious foods are very acidic and they are:
- Refined sugars, cakes, biscuits, sweets, prepared desserts
- Wine, beer, spirits
- Coffee, tea except green tea
- Fizzy drinks
- All drugs both prescribed and recreational
- Grains except millet and quinoa but you need some in your diet so in this instance choose wholegrain only
- Fruits such as Plums, Cranberries, Rhubarb and processed fruit juices.
How can you make a difference to the Acid/Alkaline balance in your diet?
A good way to be objective about the foods you consume is a Food Diary click here to read how to keep a Food Diary. After a week or so you will be able to evaluate exactly what you are eating and it will be clear where you can make adjustments. For instance cutting down on meals with meat is a good start. If you are used to an acidic form of protein with every meal consider replacing meat with legumes (lentils, chickpeas and beans), almonds and seeds for protein and piling the plate high with vegetables.
After sleeping the body is in an acidic state so start the day with lemon juice and hot water and a fruit breakfast or porridge (preferably with millet) with fruit.
Are there any instances that an Alkaline Diet is preferable?
If you are suffering from a degenerative disease or a condition that is inflammatory then discuss with your doctor or health professional before embarking on an alkaline diet first.
What can you do to help balance your acid leveles?
- Build relaxation into your day. Meditation has a very alkalising effect on the body.
- Breathe! Learn to breathe correctly. When you breathe in and out deeply you take in more oxygen which is alkaline and expel carbon dioxide which is acidic.
- Sprouting seeds – a little vegetable garden in your kitchen for alkalising Alfalfa sprouts
- Choose a Multi Vitamin & Mineral with a high calcium /magnesium/zinc
If you want to radically change your diet to 100% Alkaline then you need to make the change slowly and controlled. You will need to do more research first of course and this topic just touches on the subject for a healthier way of life.