It is easy to get lost in the whole health-food terminology and discourse on clean living. One can't really tell where healthy stops and unhealthy begins! One major factor in determining the healthfulness of a food can be by looking at it from an alkaline or acidic point of view. The more alkaline it is, the better. "Alkaline diets have gained more importance from the cancer world, as many research studies are now showing an obvious connection between acidic diets and rise in cancers," says Dr Anjali Hooda Sangwan, consultant – obesity, metabolic medicine and clinical nutrition.
In order for your blood to effectively act as a medium of oxygen and absorb vital nutrients, your body's pH (potential of hydrogen) balance needs to be maintained. This equilibrium is essentially the body's alkaline-acid balance, which is ensured by healthy kidneys. Our packaged-food living makes us consume too much acid apart from already acidic dairy, grains, meats, and sugar. This puts too much load on the kidneys and they start accumulating the acid in our tissues. It also means that the body's mineral reserves such as calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium can run dangerously low. One needs to minimise the acid generation by eating more alkaline foods.
The bigger picture
The pH of our body is 7.4 and anything that alters the pH will make the body's immune defence go down and obviously open up the door for diseases. "Sodium and sugar rich diets from processed foods can cause an upheaval in pH and lead to a disturbing health condition called acidosis," adds Dr Sangwan. Dr Robert Young, in his book The pH Miracle, says, "Health depends on an internal alkaline environment. He discusses the importance of regulating your body's acid/alkaline chemistry and how it can result in weight loss, increased stamina and strength, and a stronger immune system." Mind you, it's not just the food we eat that can cause an acidic environment, our
body also creates acid by overusing muscles, breathing,
and digesting certain foods. Other factors can be stress, toxins, air pollution, tobacco, lack of sleep, or medications.
All foods have the ability to change your pH levels. Acidic foods are the culprit, but one can't and needn't just eat alkalizing foods. "Consuming good fats like avocado, nuts, ghee and coconut oil are better than saturated fats. Processed animal protein, wheat and some grains increase the pH of the body, so the servings shouldn't cross more than two a day," says Dr Sangwan, adding, "A balance of 80% alkaline-forming food and 20% acidic-forming food is ideal."
Chewing is an easy first step to make your food alkaline. Chew 30-40 times a bite. Be careful not to overeat and overload your system.