When was the last time you thought about pH? For most of us, it was probably in a 3rd-grade science class. But learning about acidity and alkalinity isn’t just for the classroom! These days, it can pave the way for excellent health.
After a food is absorbed and digested, it releases an acid or base. Acids have a pH below 7, while bases have a pH above 7. If a food releases a base, it’s considered alkaline.
The pH is a game changer. Acidic foods are linked to oxidative stress, inflammation, and a faster aging process. On the other hand, alkaline foods reduce the risk of hypertension, high blood glucose, and other life-threatening conditions.
Alkalinity keeps the body in tip-top shape. Pre-industrial diets were highly alkaline, but those days are long gone, as modern food intake is extremely acidic.1
We can’t turn back time, but we can control what we eat. Here are five ways to alkalize your body.
1. Avoid Processed Foods
From boxed meals to frozen dinners, processed food is highly acidic. They’re also a major part of the Western diet.
Ditching the fake stuff is a must for alkalinity. Eat whole, fresh food whenever possible. Always opt for homemade food, whether it’s a snack or smoothie.
For example, invest in a juicer if you love fruit juice. It might be more expensive up front, but it’ll be healthier in the long run. You can guarantee that nothing but real fruit goes into each glass.
2. Enjoy Fish And Seafood
All meat is acidic. However, some are worse than others, so the type matters.
Before industrialization, animals weren’t fed processed grains, so red meat wasn’t high in saturated fat. Today, red meat is full of it! Levels of “good” unsaturated omega-3 fats are also much lower.
Unfortunately, your body stores excess saturated fat in the tissue. It brings on weight gain, inflammation, and a high risk of diseases. In addition, acidity will skyrocket.
To alkalize your meat intake, eat fatty fish and seafood. These sources are packed with lean protein and nutritious omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Eat Fruits And Vegetables
You’ve heard it time and time again: Eating fruits and veggies is the best thing you can do for the body. These foods have a beneficial, alkaline effect.
Fruits and vegetables are also packed with antioxidants. This will combat oxidative stress, the process behind countless diseases. Inflammation and aging will also get under control.
According to a 2010 study, berries are particularly rich in antioxidants. Blackberries, goji berries, cranberries, and black currants are the way to go.2 Leafy greens will also mediate inflammation, so reach for a salad or green smoothie.3 Together, the alkalizing effect of fruits and vegetables will help your body thrive.
4. Drink Lots Of Water
Water is always a smart choice. It supports detoxification by helping your liver flush out toxins, byproducts, and poisons. All you need is plain and basic water.
Choose water – H2O – over milk, soda, and bottled fruit juice. When digested and metabolized, milk releases an acid. As processed drinks, soda and fruit juice have the same effect. They’re also teeming with sugar and preservatives.
Calcium is an alkalizing mineral. To get enough calcium, eat vegetables like leafy greens, cabbage, broccoli, and Bok choy. Nuts, oysters, and sardines are also rich in this mineral.4
5. Eat Ginger
Root vegetables are also alkaline. This is an excellent reason to enjoy ginger, an herbal medicine that’s been used for thousands of years.
Aside from alkaline properties, ginger activates immune cells and boosts their function. It even disrupts cellular pathways that bring on disease and infection.5 In an alkaline diet, ginger is a must.
Food is just one half of the game. Focus on exercise and stress relief, two habits that mediate oxidative stress and inflammation. Do it for yourself!
|↑1||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.|
|↑2||Carlsen, Monica H., Bente L. Halvorsen, Kari Holte, Siv K. Bøhn, Steinar Dragland, Laura Sampson, Carol Willey et al. “The total antioxidant content of more than 3100 foods, beverages, spices, herbs and supplements used worldwide.” Nutrition journal 9, no. 1 (2010): 3.|
|↑3||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.|
|↑4||Calcium. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑5||Sultan, M. Tauseef, Masood Sadiq Buttxs, Mir M. Nasir Qayyum, and Hafiz Ansar Rasul Suleria. “Immunity: plants as effective mediators.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 54, no. 10 (2014): 1298-1308.|