The alkaline diet
What do Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Elle Macpherson and many more have in common? If you can't guess, and if the title didn’t give you any clues, the answer is the alkaline diet. Yes, they all follow the alkalising concept.
Although alkalinity has been the talk of the town for over 10 years, many of us still are unsure what alkaline or alkalising really means. When it comes to your health, learning about alkalinity and alkalising is probably one of the best things you can do, to determine what is right for you.
In my practice, I give my clients a food list with a plus and minus next to them; this indicates the acidity of each food so, meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, grains, alcohol would have a minus sign - (acidic) next to them. Fruits, nuts, legumes, and vegetables would have a plus sign + (alkaline). My clients always get the + and – food list because the diet starts at the supermarket.
I'm going to explain the concept of the alkaline diet, and some of its potential benefits.
Here is the science bit. The pH scale (acidity or alkaline scale) goes from 0 to 14 so food with a pH of one is very acidic, and food with a pH of 13 is very alkaline. Take ‘flow’ alkaline spring water, for example, it has a pH of 8.1 while tap water has a pH of seven.
An alkaline body is less acidic and therefore healthier, in short alkalising can lead to better health and fitness, research, although in its infancy, alludes to this.
How flow becomes alkaline
Water from a ‘flow’ spring is naturally alkaline and so it has a high pH level at its source. Springwater is filtered through limestone, which gives the water its unique mineral content. Essential minerals, like magnesium, potassium and bicarbonate, make the water naturally alkaline by changing the water’s pH level and replacing the flow electrolytes with a soft smooth taste.
How could following an alkaline diet support you?
Let's look at some of the benefits an alkaline diet could promote.
1. Settles acid reflux and heartburn
The pH level of alkaline water is higher (lower acidity) than tap water and other waters, this helps neutralise stomach acid and alleviate symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. Research shows that patients with reflux disease had therapeutical benefits from drinking alkaline water.
Laryngopharyngeal (LPR) studies for reflux sufferers show that consuming a raw healthy organic plant-based diet as well as drinking alkaline water is as effective as the anti-reflux medication. Most of these patients get better and will stop the drugs which lead to much better health says Dr Craig Zalvan, the medical director of the institute for voice and swallowing disorders at Phelps Hospital in New York.
2. Positive impact on fitness and recovery
When you alkalise you neutralise the acid in the bloodstream, this increases oxygen levels and may improve energy and metabolism. Blood viscosity is a measurement that shows how the blood flows through the vessels, it was done on 100 people in a recent study after consuming high pH water (alkaline water) compared with normal pH water after strenuous exercise.
6.3% reduced viscosity compared to 3.36% with regular water, this means that blood flowed more efficiently with alkaline water concluding that increased blood flow means greater oxygen delivery throughout your body, which helps with fitness recovery.
3. Contributes to skin health
We know by now that clear, healthy skin comes from within. In my beauty days we used to say, “If you can't afford a facial, drink plenty of water,” and how true! It is a very well-known fact that drinking plenty of water is the easiest way to get a healthy glow but, also drinking water with a low pH (too acidic) can lead to dryness, rosacea, and acne.
In order to reap the benefits of water on your skin, drinking good quality water is advised. This could include using a distiller, or if you are fortunate enough to live close to a natural spring, you can mix your distilled and spring water together - that really would be the perfect water! Although there is no evidence to show that distilled/spring water benefits to skin and hair if you wash with it if I had a spring at my disposal I would love to use it.
The best way to reap the benefits of alkalinity in the cells - hair, skin and all other organs - is to drink high pH water, you could also add Plasma pH drops to your distilled water - 10 drops to a litre is ideal, alongside introducing other rich alkaline foods into your diet.
Using distilled water for cooking and teas is also preferred over boiling tap water if possible. When I worked for a hair and skin clinic some years ago most of my clients started having problems with hair loss and skin once they moved to the UK - sometimes when I go on holiday my hair doesn’t feel as soft and my skin dries up, further research is certainly needed to determine this, but in my opinion, this is a direct result of low alkaline water.
4. Increases longevity
Early research suggests that mice who drank alkaline water over a period of three years lived longer than the mice who drank regular tap water over the same period. Even though more research is needed on the subject – in humans for example – there is evidence that drinking alkaline water could play a part in longevity and delay the ageing process.
How to access good quality water
If you do buy bottled water, if possible, opt for glass-bottled, islandic water rather than plastic. Plastic often contains BPA and other toxins, which make their way into your bloodstream and can cause many different types of cancers and can damage the liver and kidneys. If you do opt for plastic, it's advisable to choose bottles that say BPA free on the bottom.
A balanced body
Water is the most important nutrient you feed your body with every day – you will consume 30.000 gallons in your lifetime, up to 60% of the human adult body is water. The brain and the heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs around 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, the bones are also watery at 31%.
Given the importance of water in the body, consuming high-quality water is recommended, particularly alkaline water. Naturally alkaline promotes optimal hydration and a balanced pH.
I appreciate the fact that we can't all live near a natural spring, so I recommend the next best thing if you can, is to buy a distiller. I was shocked the first time I distilled and what I saw at the bottom of my distiller and at the realisation of all the heavy metals I was ingesting. Distillation gets rid of heavy metals and other inorganic substances like lead, mercury, arsenic, hard water, sodium fluoride, iron, barium, nitrates, copper and chlorine.
The TDS (total dissolved solids) of water to be drinkable is 0-149, distilled water is three while tap water is anything over 250 and more depending on what your pipes are made of and where your water comes from.
If you're considering an alkaline diet, it's key to learn about the effects that alkalinity could have on your body.
Working with a nutritionist
Learning about alkalinity and alkalising is probably one of the best things you can do. Working with a nutritionist will help you to get there faster and help you determine if this approach is right for you. Very often we think that we are following the right diet or that drinking water in plastic bottles is enough, but plastic bottles bring serious issues for our health as well as the environment.
Your nutritionist can help coach you through your alkaline journey if it's right for you. As a result, you can expect to feel more energetic as well as having a clear mind. I think we all deserve that.
To your health.
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