Everywhere you go these days, it seems like someone is swearing by the “Alkaline Diet,” a trending diet phenomenon that has recently become popular. Celebrities are touting this diet for its transformative and restorative effects, but when it comes down to it, what exactly is this food plan, and why is it supposedly so good for the body? Here’s a brief rundown.
The Alkaline Diet (also referred to as the “alkaline ash diet” or the “alkaline acid diet”) is a loosely-based diet prescription that emphasizes foods that “alkalize” the body (i.e., increase pH) and eliminates foods that promote acidity. When the body metabolizes (or breaks down) food, a residue is leftover at the end of the process. This “ash” is either acidic or alkaline, and consequently affects the pH of bodily fluids like blood and urine. The alkaline diet, therefore, is founded on the notion that certain foods affect the body’s pH. Contrary to popular belief, the diet is not based on the pH of the foods themselves.
So, in adopting the alkaline diet, what foods should you eat and what foods should you avoid? Alkalizing foods include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This particular veggie and umeboshi soup is particularly alkalizing and detoxifying. These broad categories are encouraged, while acidifying foods like meat, wheat, dairy, processed foods and refined sugars are eliminated. Although the body is equipped with specialized mechanisms (i.e., in the kidney) to neutralize acidic environments, the alkaline diet can help to alleviate the stress put on these detoxification systems. This helps to maintain the health of integral organ systems in the body.
The Alkaline Diet is often used for dealing with GERD, bone health, and even cancer. Although the evidence-based research supporting this diet has a long way to go and is not yet conclusive, some of the health claims associated with the alkaline diet have some merit, as the diet does reduce some of the acidic “burden” on the body. Whatever you might be treating with this diet, it can be challenging to come up with alternatives to the acidifying foods you may be used to.
To help you think creatively about substitutions, I have come up with the following cheat sheet:
Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Check out The Alkaline Diet Plan by Dr. Connie Jeon for recipes and advice!