Alkaline body better than acidic

Vegetable faceHow about this for some food for thought? Fish can only live in waters of the right pH balance for their survival, and plants only flourish in soil that’s matched correctly to their nutritional needs, according to Ilona Wesle  of  ‘It’s no surprise that our health can decline when our diet is off balance, Ilona says.  ‘We need equilibrium to thrive, and we could do a lot worse than eating a pH balanced diet.

‘Our bodies are naturally alkaline, but our eating and drinking habits and the stress we endure creates acidity which can stress the body and cause weight gain, lethargy, bloating, bad skin, a suppressed immune system, concentration problems and all manner of other complaints.

‘Our hardworking, long-hours culture is a contributing factor to acidity, as well. Stress and tiredness can actually cause acidity in the body, and often when we’re stressed and tired our next move is to comfort eat and reach for acidic comfort treats. Part of the trick, therefore, is breaking this unhealthy, acidic cycle. Eating a diet that combines both some acid and more alkaline – a 20/80 split, ideally – has endless benefits.

‘Symptoms of an acidic diet are extensive, but include things like digestive problems, ulcers, dull hair and split ends, weak nails, dental problems, fatigue, headaches, low body temperature, nervousness and even depression.’

Acid-forming foods

Grains: oats, buckwheat, wheat, rye, spelt, millet, rice and corn – particularly brown rice
Meat – particularly red meat, liver, rabbit and canned corn beef
Cheese and milk – yoghurt is only mildly acidifying
Nuts except hazels and macadamias
Lentils and peas – chickpeas are only mildly acidifying
Cola, tea, coffee
Dairy foods
Red meats

Acidic treats and pick-me-ups only serve to perpetuate and worsen the way we’re feeling. Even if you do get a short-lived sugar high off that caramel latte or bottle of fizzy pop, you’ll come crashing down later and feel even more rotten than you did in the first place.

Alkaline-forming foods

Vegetables – particularly spinach, swiss chard, broccoli, kale and beetroot
Beans – particularly pinto, lima, mung and kidney
Fruit – particularly figs, plums, prunes, raisins and avocados
Whey, garlic, celery, basil, chives, parsley, ginger, curry powder, black pepper, apple vinegar and honey

Alison Cullen, nutritionist at A. Vogel Ltd, , says, ‘Use green powders such as wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina, chlorella, etc. My personal favourite is spirulina, the Health Elements powder, just ¼ tsp daily to start with, working up to ½ tsp.’

She also suggests:

·    Drink plenty of water
·    Exercise moderately but regularly – if you feel terrible after exercise then your body isn’t able to remove the amount of acids being produced, so you need to lower the acid load in the body (and/or exercise less).
·    Breathe deeply and practise relaxation techniques.
·    Ensure all your exit routes are working properly – poo!

Ilona continues, ‘Alkaline foods take the least effort for the body to digest, which frees up the body to do more important healing work. The benefits of eating alkaline are countless, but some of the best payoffs are:

·    mental alertness
·    clear and springy skin
·    fewer colds and bugs
·    sleeping deeply
·    good digestion
·    stronger bones
·    deeper energy reserves
·    sustainable weight loss.

‘Sugar is a major acid to try and eliminate from your diet, because it’s addictive. And the only way to kick those sugar cravings is to alkalise the body and break the cycle of addiction, because sugar does not satisfy for long. If you have a sweet tooth, try baking delicious raw chocolate brownies, snack on plain yogurt with manuka honey and nuts, or make yourself a big alkalizing fruit salad to dig into during the week – try one with mango, pineapple, melon and kiwi fruit.

‘Another tip for alkalising the body and curbing acid cravings later in the day is to drink an alkalising green juice at breakfast. Try a cold pressed juice to retain maximum goodness from your ingredients, and throw in courgette, broccoli, lemon, apple and fennel.’

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