Before we dive into the topic of alkalinity, I think it is important to define who we are as a species. We have been designed to be alkaline, yes, but what does this mean exactly? Our two main fluids in the body are blood and lymph. They are meant to be alkaline so that our cells can sustain life and regenerate. When we eat the wrong foods (generally acidic food), do not exercise, and cannot handle our stress well, the cells can begin to deteriorate and damage other cells. Sustaining alkalinity is not only about eating the right foods – how we think and move can also contribute to acidity in the body. A healthy pH of 7.4-7.5 is desirable.
The blood will always maintain its alkalinity to protect the cells, but it will do so at the expense of other body systems. For example, if the cells are missing calcium because we have not been consuming enough of this mineral and are lacking exercise, the cells will pull calcium from your bones to survive. Sound familiar? This condition is called osteoporosis. Many symptoms of unrest in the body can be prevented by living an alkaline lifestyle.
Can we test for this? If you google this question, you will find many different answers. The two most common tests are the saliva and urine test. I do not like them, because the body works as a whole and not separately, so we really do not get true readings of how healthy a person is. Urine should always test acidic anyway because our kidneys are one of our channels of elimination, designed to get rid of uric acid. Our saliva should test alkaline, but what you eat and when you brushed your teeth can skew the results as well. The best test is how you feel.
If you are looking to lose weight, sticking to a diet with the highest alkaline foods is optimal. These foods, in their raw state of course, keep your digestive system healthy and functioning well. I always tell my clients that a healthy ratio would be 80% alkaline foods to 20% acidic foods. Alkaline foods are all fresh fruits and vegetables. Some are higher on the charts than others of course, with green leafy vegetables, broccoli, watermelon, mangoes and lemons at the top. In the alkaline category as well are coconut oil, almonds, apple cider vinegar, sweet potatoes, wild rice, quinoa, millet, raw goat milk and cheese. The most acidic foods to avoid are processed foods and fruit juices, artificial sweeteners, peanuts, walnuts, commercial cereals, flours, pastas, beef, pork, shellfish, dairy, beer and soft drinks. There are obviously other acidic foods but the ones mentioned here are the most acidic and should be avoided most of the time.
Out to dinner?
I find that today we are blessed with many options in restaurants. They are all trying harder to please the ‘healthy crowds “and those with intolerances. One tip is if you are having meat, have a green salad with it, not starchy foods. This will help alkalize the meal and aid with digestion. Ask the serving staff not to bring any bread and have a glass of water before you eat. Drinking water while eating will dilute your enzymes, which will further hamper digestion.
Let’s face it – our world is getting more and more acidic every day, with pollution, acid rain, heavy metals, food temptations, busy lifestyles, stress from family and business. We must try harder. Here are my top ten tips … (á la letterman style)
- Stay hydrated …we are 70 % water. If you wait until you are thirsty, your cells are dehydrated!
- Keep your tablets and cell phone away from your bed. The frequencies can interfere with a good night’s sleep.
- Take time out of your day to just breathe deeply, even if it’s for 5 minutes.
- Aim for all your fruits and veggies to be organic.
- Eat a variety of fruits and veggies every day. Aim for 3 fruits and 6 vegetables.
- Have a plant based smoothie every day. It’s an easy way to get those nutrients in.
- Invest in a juicer. All the nutrients go directly into the blood stream giving digestion a break.
- Eat 80% alkaline food versus 20% acidic food – cooked daily.
- Make exercise a habit and hire a personal trainer to get you going. Even it is only once a week, just having that appointment makes all the difference in getting it done!
The opinions shared in this article are those of the contributor and not Total Gym Direct.