The Alkaline Diet

The Alkaline Diet is widely believed to be a specific diet for vegetarians but in truth, non vegetarians need not leave this page now; meat can be eaten in moderation; the proportion of meat or fish per meal should be 20% while vegetables and grains should make up the remaining 80%.

Carrots and Beetroot

The diet derives from the idea that certain foods promote a healthy PH level in the body. Alkaline foods are better able to do this because the natural blood PH is between 7.35 and 7.45 which is slightly alkaline. Various areas of the body have differing PH levels for example the stomach is fairly acid with a PH in the range 1.35 – 3.5 to aid digestion. The body however will maintain the correct Blood PH whatever we eat.

Certain foods are naturally alkaline such as fresh vegetables, certain fruits, soy products, nuts and grains.

Acid promoting foods are discouraged for followers of the diet and include meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, refined sugars and grains, processed foods and caffeine.

Potential Benefits

Diets that include a lot of animal protein can lower urine pH and raise the risk for kidney stones. So avoiding meat can raise urine pH and the kidneys have less work to do breaking down alkaline foods, says John Asplin, MD, a kidney specialist and fellow of the American Society of Nephrology.

Other possible benefits include: less bone loss and muscle waste with age, an increase in growth hormone, lower the risk of certain cancers and relieve lower back pain. Followers of the alkaline diet also testify to improved digestion with less risk of flatulence.

Mood is enhanced with a greater feeling of wellbeing due to grains satisfying the serotonin receptors in the gut.

The oils in seeds and nuts improve skin health.

Alkaline-forming foods to eat

Fruits: grapefruit, lemon, apricot, apple, pear, mango, papaya, avocado, date, fig

Vegetables: tomato, watercress asparagus, fennel, cauliflower, celery, garlic, onion, fresh ginger, beetroot, rocket, spinach, seaweed, coriander, parsley

Seeds and Nuts:  pumpkin sunflower and sesame seeds, pecans, almonds, walnuts, oats, quinoa, millet, brown rice, coconut. Milks made from almonds and coconut; oils made from rapeseed, olives, sunflowers

Acid-forming foods

Meats: Lamb, mutton, beef, pork, venison, poultry including game birds 

Cereals: processed breakfast cereals, biscuits cakes and breads produced commercially which can be high in yeast, white flour, salt, sugar and additives 

Drinks: Cola, alcohol, tea, coffee, chocolate

There are several benefits to the alkaline diet but for me it is a little restrictive in that I do enjoy a cup of tea and alcohol in moderation with a meal. I'm not fussed about meat but I think the benefits of eating oily fish should not be ignored.

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