ASHEVILLE ALTERNATIVE WELLNESS CENTER
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pH ACID-ALKALINE NUTRITION
A surprising number and variety of physical problems and diseases can be caused by the problem of foods that are acid-producing after digestion. Today the vast majority of the populace in industrialized nations suffers from problems caused by the stress of acidosis, because both modern lifestyle and diet promote acidification of the body's internal environment.
The current typical Western diet is largely composed of acid-forming foods (proteins, cereals, sugars). Alkaline-producing foods such as vegetables are eaten in much smaller quantities. Stimulants like tobacco, coffee, tea, and alcohol are also extremely acidifying. Stress, and physical activity (both insufficient or excessive amounts) also cause acidification.
Many foods are alkaline-producing by nature, but manufactured processed foods are mostly acid-producing. It is important to consume at least 60% alkaline-producing foods in our diet, in order to maintain health. We need plenty of fresh fruits and particularly vegetables (alkaline-producing) to balance our necessary protein intake (acid-producing). And we need to avoid processed, sugary or simple-carbohydrate foods, not only because they are acid-producing but also because they raise blood sugar level too quickly (high glycemic index therefore fattening); plus they tend to be nutrient-lacking and may be toxic too.
The body maintains correct pH in the blood at all costs, by homeostasis, but that is stressful for the body's systems and resources when the diet is unbalanced in terms of acid-forming foods (the residue after digestion, that is). Within cells it's a different story. Saliva and urine tests show clearly enough the changes in alkalinity or acidity that are caused by diet and lifestyle.
Understanding How an Alkaline Diet Works
Alkaline diets are a popular choice for people who want to achieve optimum good health. However, many people don't actually understand this diet or how it works. The concept is actually fairly simple - the diet just focuses on regaining the balance that was lost when man started to eat a more domesticated diet. Instead of focusing on foods that are high in sugar, simple carbohydrates (like white bread and chips) and fatty meat and dairy... an alkaline diet primarily moves the balance toward fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, wholesome protein sources such as beans and legumes, and healthy oils such as olive and flax seed.
These foods may be either alkaline or acid in their natural state, but after the process of digestion they all produce what is termed as an "alkaline ash" once digested and metabolized by the body. When the body's pH is kept at a slightly alkaline level, all the systems can work more efficiently.
Understanding the Effects of the Body's pH Level
The pH level of the body has the ability to affect every single cell of the body. When the blood has an alkaline pH instead of an acidic pH, it will have a positive effect on how every bodily system functions. The brain, circulatory system, nerves, muscles, respiratory system, digestive system, and reproductive system can all benefit from a proper pH level. On the other hand, when the pH of the body is too acidic, it is susceptible to many diseases and problems. Weight gain, heart disease, premature aging, fatigue, nerve problems, allergies, muscle disease and cancer are all more prevalent when the body's pH is not optimal. Because these problems are all more likely to occur when the body's pH is too acid, it makes good sense to eat a diet rich in alkalizing foods. The primary goal is usually to eat approximately 75-80% alkaline foods along with only about 20-25% acidifying foods. If this level is maintained in the diet, the end result is a slightly alkaline pH in the body, which is perfect for optimum good health.
Choosing Foods for an Alkaline Diet
It's actually quite easy to eat a diet rich in alkaline-producing foods. Most fresh fruits and vegetables are excellent choices. Red meat is not a good choice, but you can add plenty of protein to your meals by using soy products, delicious beans, legumes, and nuts such as almonds. You should eliminate unhealthy fats from your diet, but you can use good fats such as olive, canola, and flax seed oil. High fat dairy products should be avoided, but you can drink soy milk and goat's milk. Cheeses made from soy milk and goat's milk would also be good choices. Replace the empty calories of soda with delicious iced herb tea, green tea and lemon water. Coffee should be avoided, but you can drink hot herbal or green tea. Replace pasta with healthy whole grains such as wild rice, millet and quinoa. When sweetening your foods, focus on natural products such as raw sugar, Stevia and maple sugar. As you can see, you'll have many nutritious choices that are both delicious and high in alkalizing properties.