When celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow and Elle Macpherson swore by The Alkaline Diet, we stopped in our tracks and listened. Another fad diet? Not exactly. Alkalinity and acidity are more than buzz words in the wellness community and yet a lot of us cannot explain it without the celeb name dropping. So what is alkalinity and why is it so important for your health?
Let's begin with the basics:
pH, which stands for power of hydrogen, is a measurement of the hydrogen ion concentration in the body. It is the most basic and fundamental driving force of all our body functions, from breathing to pain control. It's measured by a scale from 1 (pure acidity) to 14 (pure alkalinity), with 7.0 considered as neutral.
Alkalinity is a state above 7.0 on the pH scale. Acidity on the other hand is a state below 7.0 on the pH scale. The human body naturally maintains a slightly alkaline level around 7.2–7.4 and the more alkaline your body is, the healthier you feel.
Unfortunately, modern diets, stress triggers and certain lifestyle choices can easily make us dip into an acidic state. The health symptoms follow. Acidity in the body manifests in many forms and is a precursor to many illnesses and diseases.
When it comes to nutrition, you can regulate your pH and balance out your system by cutting down on acid-producing foods:
- salt and sugar
However, restoring your body's alkalinity does not mean total deprivation of the foods mentioned above unlike many extreme diets. An alkaline diet suggests applying the more forgiving 80/20 rule to your daily diet: 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods. Try to make vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and low-sugar fruits the stars of meal plan and limit the highly acidic foods.
So, why eat for alkalinity? The purpose of an alkaline diet is to make the pH balancing process easier for your body by giving it the necessary nutrients it needs to neutralize acid. When your body doesn't have to waste its energy neutralizing acid, your body will heal instead of fight, which gives you more energy and affects the way you look and feel.
Diet only plays one role in the body's alkalinity. Lack of exercise, stress, drugs, and cigarettes can push your body's pH levels down to acidity, so find time to incorporate physical activity, relaxation, and good habits into your day. To alkalinity and beyond!
- red bell peppers