Our bodies are in a constant state of trying to achieve homeostasis, meaning we have to keep our pH levels fairly neutral if we want our bodies to function properly. Ph stands for “potential hydrogen” and is a measurement of the acidity of an environment. It is based on a scale that ranges from 0-14 with 7.0 being the neutral point. Below 7 is a more acidic environment and above 7 is more alkaline. The human body tries to maintain an overall pH level of approximately 7.4.Going above or below this point causes malfunctioning of the enzymatic process in the cells, which can lead to organs, hormones, and bodily fluids not working properly.
What is the Theory behind the Alkaline Diet
The alkaline diet has been around for a while, stemming back to the findings of William Howard Hay in the 1920’s, who found that certain foods caused the “ash” of acid or alkaline residue. While the theory has been altered and tweaked over the years, the theory remains the same:
When food is converted into energy, the process causes an ash that is either more on the acidic side or the alkaline side. That ash affects the overall pH level of the body which, in turn, influences how the body functions in its entirety. Consumption of certain foods causes the body to shift on the pH scale. When the body is below 7.4, it is more acidic which theoretically can cause inflammation, cancer, and other ailments. The goal is to create an environment in the body where all organs are working in an alkaline state. In doing so, the body is at optimal functionality.
What Foods Create Acidity
Google “Alkaline Diet” and you will find tons of food charts outlining what you can or cannot consume on the plan. Of the many diets out there, this diet is very specific, so you really need to do your homework to abide by the guidelines. However, many claim the health benefits are worth the dietary restrictions.
Because the Alkaline diet is so specific, it would be cumbersome to outline the details of the plan. But the overall idea is that meat, dairy, sugar, and certain nuts usually lead to more acidic environments. The acidity level in your body is further exacerbated by prescription and recreational drugs and alcohol.
The diet places a lot of emphasis on vegetables and fruits (and very specific vegetables and fruits) that the proponents of the plan claim leave alkaline ash. For example, watermelon, cantaloupe, lemon, and asparagus are considered very high on the alkaline scale while carrots, pumpkin, and spinach are considered moderately alkaline. Chicken is the only meat allowed and, while most nuts are okay to eat, peanuts are considered acidic-based.
You can even buy water filters and purified water that is alkaline-enhanced.
But before you go full throttle on the alkaline diet and eliminating acid-forming food items from your refrigerator or pantry, know that there is heavy criticism of the science behind the diet within the health community. You are encouraged to do further research to determine if adopting the alkaline diet is right for you.