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“Jamshed, Humaira, Fateh Ali Tipoo Sultan, Romaina Iqbal, and Anwar Hassan Gilani. “Dietary almonds increase serum HDL cholesterol in coronary artery disease patients in a randomized controlled trial.” The Journal of nutrition 145, no. 10 (2015) Obviously, this list is just a taste of wh…”
Ask yourself: What makes healthy food so healthy? At first, vitamins and minerals might come to mind. You may also think about low calories or essential macronutrients. Together, these benefits can keep chronic disease at bay. However, there’s a lot more to it than nutrients. A food’s acidity – or lack thereof – also plays a role.
This isn’t about things like vinegar and lemon juice, though. It’s about the way food affects the body. After it’s digested, absorbed, and metabolized, almost all food release an acid or base. The latter is also known as alkaline.
Fresh fruits, veggies, tubers, roots, and nuts are all alkaline foods. They’re also linked to good health. As for acidic foods? Not so much. These include meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, cheese, milk, and cereal grains.
It’s the Western diet in a nutshell. Meanwhile, pre-agricultural diets were more alkaline. But with the rise of cereals and processed foods, our diet became more acidic while our health declined. It can’t be a coincidence.[ref]Cordain, Loren, S. Boyd Eaton, Anthony Sebastian, Neil Mann, Staffan Lindeberg, Bruce A. Watkins, James H. O’Keefe, and Janette Brand-Miller. “Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 81, no. 2 (2005): 341-354.[/ref]
How Can Alkaline Foods Prevent Chronic Disease?
An alkaline diet can manage hypertension, a major risk factor for heart disease. This is America’s number one cause of death for both men and women.[ref]Heart Disease Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[/ref]
It’s also linked to preventing and managing osteoporosis, calcium kidney stones, exercise-induced asthma, and age-related muscle wasting. Above all, alkaline foods are easier on the kidneys. The function already declines with age, so it’s important to note.[ref]Cordain, Loren, S. Boyd Eaton, Anthony Sebastian, Neil Mann, Staffan Lindeberg, Bruce A. Watkins, James H. O’Keefe, and Janette Brand-Miller. “Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 81, no. 2 (2005): 341-354.[/ref]
We can’t forget about the nutrients. An alkaline diet is also packed with fiber, antioxidants, and “good” fat. It’s also low in sugar, cholesterol, and unhealthy fat. This set-up is amazing for warding off diseases like obesity and cancer.
To alkalinize your eating habits, focus on these seven foods.
Alkaline Foods That Will Protect You
As a fresh fruit, orange is an alkaline food. It doesn’t hurt that it’s full of vitamin C, too! This potent antioxidant will enhance immunity and lower the risk for heart disease.[ref]Vitamin C. Oregon State University.[/ref] Oranges are travel-friendly, making them perfect for snacks on the go. You can even freshen up a salad with orange slices.
From strawberries to blueberries, this group of fruits is easy to love. They offer immune-boosting vitamins while having an alkaline impact. Enjoy them by the handful.
While lemon is an acidic food, its effect on the body is alkaline. Remember, it’s a fruit! Take advantage of lemon by making fresh lemonade or adding it to tea.
Thanks to kale’s growing popularity, this leafy green is easy to find. Every bite treats your body to vitamin A, an immune system booster.[ref]Vitamin A. Oregon State University.[/ref] It will also fight inflammatory disease with vitamin K.[ref]Harshman, Stephanie G., and M. Kyla Shea. “The role of vitamin K in chronic aging diseases: Inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and osteoarthritis.” Current nutrition reports 5, no. 2 (2016): 90-98.[/ref] To eat more kale, throw it in smoothies. Combine with other greens for a delicious salad.
Much like kale, spinach offers antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. The alkaline effect on the body is an added bonus. Spinach can be eaten like kale, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
When carrots are broken down, they release a base. This makes it a smart option for an alkaline diet. Pair them with other root veggies for even more benefits. Beets, parsnips, and rutabaga are all tasty options.
Nuts are also on the list of alkaline foods. In particular, almonds are rich in lean protein, so eat up! This will keep you full and increase satiety, making it easier to lose weight. The healthy fats will also offer protection from heart disease.[ref]Jamshed, Humaira, Fateh Ali Tipoo Sultan, Romaina Iqbal, and Anwar Hassan Gilani. “Dietary almonds increase serum HDL cholesterol in coronary artery disease patients in a randomized controlled trial.” The Journal of nutrition 145, no. 10 (2015)
Obviously, this list is just a taste of what’s out there. There are many alkaline foods across fruits, vegetables, tubers, roots, and nuts. Eat as much as possible, and limit more acidic foods. This will give you an upper hand in comparison to the typical Western diet.