Alkaline foods reduce the risk of hyperacidity. This has nothing to do with taste. Because sour fruit is also alkaline. What matters is whether your body produces acids or alkalines during the digestive process. An alkaline diet helps you to regulate the acid-base balance and to reduce an acid surplus.
Alkaline diet: What is the idea behind the concept?
The alkaline diet is based on a finding by Ragnar Berg, a Swedish nutritionist and chemist. He recognized that the body metabolizes any type of food either alkaline or acidic. The organism copes well with an excess of bases. An excess of acids can become a problem if they overwhelm the body’s detoxification mechanisms.
Nutrition specialists establish a connection between hyperacidity and various clinical pictures, for example fatigue, headaches, rheumatism, skin irritations and problems in the entire digestive tract. The extent to which the acid-base imbalance plays a role in these complaints varies from individual to individual. With a change of diet to alkaline foods, an excess of acid can be reduced over time.
Even though people occasionally talk about an alkaline diet, weight loss is not the main focus. Only with alkaline fasting, the calorie intake is significantly reduced.
However, an alkaline diet eliminates many foods with a high calorie content. Therefore, many people lose a few kilograms after changing their diet. If you decide to eat alkaline foods, you should be careful when putting together your diet plan. This is because your body needs a balanced supply of nutrients. A sufficient supply of amino acids as well as essential fatty acids must be guaranteed, even though alkaline foods are mainly carbohydrate suppliers. Therefore, a proportion of high-quality, nutrient-rich acid-forming foods is important.
The acid-base balance: an important regulatory mechanism
The pH value is the scientific indicator for bases and acids. A value of 7.0 is considered neutral. It is present, for example, in pure water. Below 7.0, the acidic environment begins. It ranges from slightly acidic between 6.0 and 7.0 to strongly acidic values of less than 2.0. At pH values above 7.0, the basic or alkaline range begins. A strongly alkaline environment – like a strongly acidic one – is harmful to health. Mild soaps have an average value of about 9.0, caustic soda has a value between 13.0 and 14.0.
An alkaline diet does not mean that at some point the entire body will be in the alkaline range. Different body tissues and fluids have different natural pH values. In the case of blood, it is constantly 7.4, the digestive processes in the stomach take place in an acidic environment, and the pH values of urine and saliva fluctuate constantly.
To maintain the acid-base balance, there are buffer systems in the body that absorb excess acids until the body excretes them. These include detoxification organs and connective tissue, for example. If deacidification is not possible over a long period of time, the acids remain in the body and can lead to adverse health effects. By following a diet that favors alkaline foods, you give your body the opportunity to regularly eliminate excess acids and relieve the buffer systems.
Alkalizers – acidifiers: an overview
The wide range of foods can be divided into acid, neutral and alkaline foods, depending on how they affect the body’s acid-base balance. An alkaline diet consists primarily of alkaline-forming and neutral foods, plus a limited amount of good acid-forming foods. Alkaline foods are:
– almost all vegetables,
– fresh fruits and dried fruits,
– sprouts and germ buds.
It would be a mistake to completely ban acid-forming foods from the diet. After all, this group primarily includes foods that supply the body with vital nutrients. The most important representatives include:
– acid-forming nuts and oilseeds,
– acid-forming vegetables,
– soy products,
– products made from whole grains or pseudocereals,
– brown rice.
Other acid-forming foods place a considerable burden on the metabolic organs and do not belong in an alkaline diet plan:
– industrially processed foods with additives,
– extracted flours and peeled or polished grains,
– sugar and sugary products,
– milk and dairy products,
– meat and sausage,
– fish and seafood.
The division into acidic and alkaline foods also applies to beverages. The popular pick-me-ups coffee and black tea are not allowed as part of an alkaline diet. Bean coffee is alkaline, but strongly stimulates the formation of stomach acid. Alcohol and sugary or carbonated drinks are also not suitable. Opinions differ as to whether green tea is suitable for an alkaline diet. Non-carbonated water, herbal teas, unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices are allowed. To flavor water, you can take a few squirts of lemon juice or a pure fruit concentrate, for example.
Alkaline nutrition in practice
Alkaline nutrition means an alkaline-surplus diet that allows a proportion of acid-forming foods. Each meal consists primarily of alkaline and neutral foods. Alkaline foods should make up a percentage of 70% to 80%. The remaining percentage is covered by a selection of good acid builders. These enhance the diet plan with important nutrients that alkaline foods do not contain in sufficient quantities. It is extremely unlikely that a healthy body will be thrown out of balance by this comparatively small proportion of acidifiers. Therefore, the long-term goal of maintaining the acid-base balance is maintained in any case.
An alkaline diet gives you freedom. It is not about eating set amounts of certain foods or reaching and maintaining a certain body weight. The acid-base balance is a flexible mechanism that always finds its balance, as long as you do not overload it. You can even balance an acidic meal by following it with purely alkaline meals. This gives the body time to break down excess acids and restore the natural balance.
When is alkaline fasting useful?
Alkaline fasting is designed to allow the body to remove excess acids from the tissues. Therefore, only alkaline foods are on the fasting schedule, not acid-forming foods. There is no complete renunciation of solid food. It is therefore a form of partial fasting. Fasting is limited to a certain period of time, because the guidelines are not suitable as a permanent diet. If it is not a serious case, one week of fasting is sufficient to rebalance the acid-base balance. The week before is for preparations.
During the preparation week, you tune your body for the fasting period. You consume all products that are not suitable for alkaline fasting and only buy alkaline foods that fit the fasting plan. You gradually limit your caffeine consumption so that you do not find it too difficult to give up during the fasting period. In addition, drink two to three liters of still water and herbal tea per day. If you wish, you can flavor the water with fresh ginger or lemon.
For breakfast during the fasting week, you eat fresh, ripe fruit and an alkaline muesli. For lunch, have smoothies and fresh, mixed salads with a light dressing, sprouts and herbs. Hot condiments, mayonnaise or ready-made dressings are not suitable for alkaline fasting. You should avoid raw foods after 2 p.m. because the detoxification organs are busy with other tasks in the afternoon and evening. Therefore, dinner usually consists of steamed vegetables and potatoes. To support the detoxifying effect of alkaline fasting, you can perform a colon cleanse beforehand and every two to three days during the fasting cure.
Accompanying measures for the alkaline fasting and the alkaline diet
Your body is an extremely complex system. And yet the numerous and varied processes function without you having to think about them. However, you will help your body if you do not make its work more difficult or impossible. Alkaline foods prevent excess acidity, relieve the organism and facilitate the smooth functioning of the body’s natural functions. Besides the conscious choice of your food, you have other possibilities to counteract hyperacidity.
In addition to unfavorable eating habits, stress is a cause for the formation of acids in the body. Especially in case of permanent stress, the body reacts with processes that lead to an increased acid production. Avoiding stress and specifically scheduling relaxation breaks during the day are good measures that help the entire organism. An alkaline foot bath or full bath reduces stress and supports deacidification. Alkaline teas or tablets are suitable for an alkaline boost in between. Sports such as yoga can also help to reduce stress.