An Alkaline Lifestyle – why it really is better for you

Aside from their glamorous lifestyles, Victoria Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston have something else in common – they’re all fans of the Alkaline Diet (also known as the Acid-Alkaline Diet). Before dismissing it as ‘not-another-celebrity-fad’, read on to discover the many benefits of an alkaline lifestyle.

What is the Acid-Alkaline Diet?

Our blood should be slightly alkaline with a healthy balance between 7.35 and 7.45. If we eat too many acid-forming foods this can lead to an unbalanced pH level. This in turn stops the body from removing toxins, slows down your metabolism and makes it vulnerable to viruses. Too much acid causes disease, because an acidic environment makes way for harmful bacteria to rapidly grow and multiply.

The Acid-Alkaline diet is specifically designed to help restore the pH balance in the body. In order for it to be in-balance, your food intake needs to be approximately 75% alkaline and only 25% acidic. The Acid-Alkaline Diet is based on low glycaemic, low inflammatory, non-processed food.

The concept of Yin and Yang and hot and cold in Chinese medical practice is strongly aligned with Alkaline-based nutrition.
The Benefits:

To Lose Weight: The Diet consists of high-fibre fruit and vegetables that help to detoxify the body and increase your metabolic rate, so you can lose excess weight fast. Avoiding processed snacks and sugar also helps.

To Boost Energy: Once the digestive system is able to function properly, you will no longer be weighed down with heavy toxins that cause you to feel lethargic and fatigued. Inflammatory components will be removed from the body a lot quicker.

To Prevent Physical Disease: With less acid in the body, the bad bacteria which causes cancer and other diseases will rarely be able to grow or multiply to the point where the body cannot fight them off. The Acid Alkaline Diet helps to prevent heart disease, asthma, diabetes, arthritis and many common ailments.

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Why It’s Good For The Skin?

Eating too many acidic foods throws the pH level off -balance, producing toxins in the body that can feed skin sensitivity and conditions such as eczema and acne. Collagen within the skin can also break down resulting in wrinkles and dryness. The antioxidants in fruit and vegetables neutralize the toxins, and are able to prevent and even reverse the signs of aging. Excessive sugar intake also inhibits Vitamin C absorption. Vitamin C is a vital nutrient to help skin look great and keep our immune system strong. Sugar also causes a breakdown of collagen, that keeps skin toned and firm.

Identifying Alkaline- and Acid-forming Foods

As I mentioned, our bodies function best when in an overall alkaline state so it’s best to eat plenty of foods that have an alkaline-forming effect on your system. The vast majority of highly processed foods – like white flour products and white sugar – have an acid-forming effect on your system and lead to an unbalanced pH level.

Generally speaking, most vegetables and fruits have an alkaline-forming effect. Most grains, animal foods, and highly processed foods have an acid-forming effect.

Interestingly cows milk is acid-forming in the body, and is a common allergen that can trigger inflammatory responses, such as stomach distress, skin rashes, acne, hives and accelerate skin aging – as much as 60 per cent of the world’s population cannot digest it. Milk and dairy products contain an abundance of a hormone called IGF-1 causing an insulin spike that causes the liver to produce even more IGF-1. This causes inflammation, excess sebum (oil), clogged pores, which all lead to acne.

Drinking pure, alkalized water also helps to balance pH levels. Alkaline your water in the house using a water distiller, an ionizer or a special filter you can install under the sink or on a showerhead. Or simply add slices of organic lemon to drinking water. Lemon is very good at balancing pH levels, shedding off excess acid stored in the body, and is very high in Vitamin C to strengthen the immune system.

My Top Tip:

Drink lemon and warm water early in the morning on an empty stomach.

The Body’s Role

Our bodies have their own mechanisms in place to prevent dietary and metabolic factors from pushing the pH of your blood outside the 7.35 to 7.45 range:

  • Exhaling carbon dioxide through breathing.
  • Eliminating hydrogen ions via the kidneys – remember the Kidneys in Chinese medicine help the balance of Yin and Yang.
  • The body has three main buffering systems at work (Carbonic acid-bicarbonate-, Protein- and Phosphate- Buffer Systems). If you spend years eating a poor diet that is mainly acid-forming, you will overwork some of the buffering systems to a point where you could create undesirable changes in your health. For example, about 85% of the phosphate ions used in your ‘Phosphate Buffer System’ come from calcium phosphate salts (structural components of your bones and teeth). If eating large quantities of acid-forming foods, your body will draw upon its calcium phosphate reserves in order to neutralize the acid-forming effects of your diet. Over time, this may lead to weakness in your bones and teeth, or even osteoporosis.

Simple Steps To Embracing An Alkaline Lifestyle

  • Choose white meat, seafood, or a meat substitute over red meat.
  • Rather than rolls or fries, choose yeast-free bread or wild rice.
  • Rather than cow’s milk, drink soy or almond milk.
  • Create meals around vegetables, rather than meat or starches.
  • Exchange alcoholic beverages for sparkling water.
  • Fill your plate with plant foods first, leaving little room for acid-forming options.
  • Choose veggies with dip or grilled fruit over pre-packaged snacks.
  • Cook with cold-pressed olive oil, not saturated fats or butter.

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Snacks To Alkaline The Body

Celery: This water-rich veggie is an excellent acid neutralizer. Eat before, during, or after a meal.

Fennel Seeds: Fennel seeds neutralize acids, aid digestion, and are an incredibly good breath freshener. They contain a concentrated form of minerals – calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, selenium, zinc, copper, & iron – and are rich in powerful flavonoid anti-oxidants, kaempferol & quercetin. Use throughout the day to keep your breath fresh and your saliva alkaline.

Lemon/Lime Bicarbonate Formula: Squeeze one whole lemon/lime in a glass and begin to slowly add aluminum-free baking soda. The acid-base combination will immediately begin to fizz. Keep adding baking soda until the fizz stops and then fill the glass with 8-16 oz. of water. An ideal alkaline-forming drink before bedtime.

Aloe Vera Juice: Pure aloe juice or gel, loaded with electrolytes, trace minerals, anti-oxidants and polysaccharides, gives one of the quickest alkaline boosts. An Ideal drink before or after a large meal. Apple cider vinegar is another great booster used alone or in combination with aloe vera. It helps to keep food and nutrients moving through the intestinal tract, promote gentle daily regularity and colon health, balance acid-alkaline levels in the stomach, and assist with the breakdown and assimilation of protein.

Alkalising Herbs: Try cooking with Japanese Mushroom Reishi, Cilantro, Parsley, Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Chlorella, Aloe Vera.

For more information, contact The John Tsagaris Clinic, Chelsea, London Tel: +44 203 489 9779, www.johntsagaris.co.uk