Few would dispute that good health is about balance. But maintaining a healthy acid-base balance – rather than simply balancing your levels of protein, carbohydrates and fat – is something you should definitely consider.
Why? Because achieving pH balance is one of the best things you can do for your health. The modern western diet, replete with processed, acid-forming foods, is a major driver of the societal disease and debility we have lately become accustomed to.
Although the alkaline diet has plenty of science behind it, many critics like to point out that changing one’s diet will not affect their pH. And this is true, to an extent; blood pH is very tightly regulated by the body.
However, the body maintains its ideal pH at the expense of bicarbonate levels and bone minerals to combat the acid load. (This is why people who eat an acidic diet have lower bone density than those following an alkaline diet.)
It’s analogous to the way blood levels of sodium are tightly regulated, even when one follows a low-sodium diet. Think about it: this natural regulation is achieved only at the expense of sodium, magnesium and calcium levels in bone.
Without further ado then, let’s look at the best alkaline drinks and foods to achieve proper pH balance: the sort that will prevent your body from looting your bones and muscles for the alkaline minerals it needs.
1) Alkaline Water
Alkaline water tends to divide opinion, partly due to the aforementioned misunderstanding: altering pH. However, drinking mineral-rich alkaline water is a great way of avoiding low-grade acidosis.
Needless to say, alkaline water has a higher pH than the kind coming out your tap. Unless, of course, you’ve already fitted an alkaline water filter to your tap.
In any case, a study published in the Shanghai Journal of Protective Medicine proved that alkaline water helps to lower cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure. What’s more, alkaline water with a pH of 8.8 neutralised stomach acid and pepsin among acid reflux sufferers in a study from 2012.
Furthermore, alkaline water has been shown to improve acid-base balance and hydration status, making it a great option for just about everyone. Remember, spring water becomes alkaline naturally by acquiring minerals from passing over mountain rocks. It is not a 21st-century fad.
2) Leafy Greens
Leafy green vegetables are the cornerstone of the alkaline diet, and indeed any serious diet purporting to be healthy.
According to a 2017 study by Imperial College London, eating 10 portions of vegetables and fruit per day could prevent as many as 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide every year, lowering one’s risk of stroke, heart disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
It is no leap to imagine that much of the benefit comes from highly alkalising leafy greens, examples of which include kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage and micro greens.
When it comes to these and other foods, it is recommended to choose organic – or mostly organic – since pesticide-ridden crops are believed to be another cause of acidity in the body.
3) Green Juices and Smoothies
If the prospect of munching 6-7 servings of vegetables each day – half or more of them alkalising – makes you queasy, don’t fret: green juices and smoothies offer palatable alternatives.
Green drinks composed of alkalising vegetables and detoxifying herbs have become popular with the wellness set in recent years, but the health benefits can’t be denied. A green smoothie is one of the best alkaline drinks you can have, even more so if you blend all that green goodness with alkaline water.
As well as containing plenty of alkaline minerals, green drinks are loaded with chlorophyll, vitamins and plant-based antioxidants known as polyphenols. If the taste is a problem, just add a little natural fruit juice or a chopped ripe banana.
More Tips for pH Balance
Of course, there are many more foods which will help to promote better pH balance; they include soy nuts, lima beans, red pepper, garlic, pumpkin seeds and ginger.
Naturally, you should not be expected to solely eat alkaline foods; there are beneficial nutrients in meat and fish which you don’t want to go without. The same is true for vegetables on the more acidic end of the scale.
It is vital to pay particular attention to maintaining a healthy omega-3 level by eating a few portions of fatty fish every week. Omega-3s soak up the most acid of any kind of fat, and they’re widely heralded for their anti-inflammatory properties.
By largely limiting your consumption of highly acidic foods and eating alkaline instead, you’ll promote a healthier heart, stronger bones, higher energy levels and a more pleasing body composition. You’ll also avoid the nutritional deficiencies which lay the groundwork for ill health.