What I love about studying alkalizing foods is that it leads one to a whole food, plant-based diet. If you can’t bring yourself to eat plants for the benefit of the environment, the welfare of animals, or willingness to feed global people, then perhaps you could be convinced to eat a plant-based diet for the benefit of your long-term health.
Understandably the largest group opposing the acid-alkaline concept are those who align with the Paleolithic diet. Paleo adherents avoid dairy, grains, legumes, processed oils, refined sugar or salt, coffee, and alcohol. The bulk of their diet is based on animal meat, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, non-starchy fruit, and unprocessed fats. While I support the omission of the non-Paleo foods, ethically and environmentally I can not support the inclusion of any animal foods especially with an understanding of the the acid-inflammation correlation.
The human body is approximately 65% water (H20) which is composed of hydrogen and oxygen. An alkaline diet is one that supports the body’s natural blood pH (potential of Hydrogen) of approximately 7.4 or slightly alkaline. When there is an equal proportion of oxygen and hydrogen, then the pH is neutral or 7.0 on the pH scale which ranges from 1 to 14. When there is more oxygen than hydrogen, the water is alkaline and measures between 7.1 and 14. When there is more hydrogen than oxygen, the water is acidic and measures between 6.9 and 1.
The pH scale is logarithmic which indicates that pH 7.0 means there is ten times more oxygen available to cells than pH 6.0 and 100 times more available oxygen than pH 5.0. (source) Pathogens thrive in acidic, anaerobic environments which lack oxygen. Unhealthy bacteria, yeast, and fungi can not survive in an alkaline environment.
Our bodies are composed of approximately 70% water. Approximately 60-65% of that water is contained within the cells (in intracellular fluid) with the other 35-40% of body water contained outside the cells (in extracellular fluid). This fluid component outside of the cells includes the fluid between the cells (interstitial fluid), lymph fluid, and blood.
Blood pH and lymph fluid pH rarely change. A 150 pound adult has approximately 22 pounds of lymph fluid and 14 pounds of blood. The cardiovascular system is the internal super highway for red blood cells. The lymphatic system in the internal super highway for white blood cells. They both exchange fluids within the tissues of the body. The cardiovascular system is pumped by the heart muscle. The lymphatic system is dependent on the pumping action of moving muscles, gravitational exchanges (trampoline), or massage for fluid circulation.
One way to increase the oxygen content of our bodies is to breathe in fresh, clean air (O2). Another way is to eat highly oxygenated, water-dense foods and drink pure, clean water. The average American on the Standard American Diet has lymph pH 6.2. This is a 94% decrease in oxygen from the ideal lymph pH of 7.4! (source)
When the overall body is in an alkaline state, it converts free radicals to harmless water and oxygen. A free radical is any atom or molecule that has a single unpaired electron on an outer shell. Free radicals are generally highly reactive and unstable. An overabundance of free radicals and free radical damage is associated with oxidative damage or stress which causes chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can lead to many illnesses including asthma, allergies, autoimmune disorders, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Normal acidic by-products from respiration, metabolism, cellular breakdown, and exercise create free radicals that the body is designed to naturally eliminate. However cigarette smoke, air pollution, pesticides and other environmental chemicals, over-the-counter, prescription, and recreational drugs, toxic food additives, and excessive lifestyle stress create substantial free radical production which the body is not naturally able to combat effectively. Acidic diets of meat, processed foods, dairy, sugar, and alcohol create free radical overload. Animal-fat, plant-fat, and cooked foods contain very little water and therefore very little oxygen.
Earthing – walking barefoot on the beach or park or leaning up against a tree – can help neutralize free radicals. Negatively charged electrons on the Earth’s crust flow into the body through any skin contact.
Antioxidants in food help to prevent and halt free radical assaults. Vitamins A, B, C and E from whole foods, not supplements, in the diet, together with selenium, bio-flavonoids, beta-carotene (a precursor of Vitamin A in the body), zinc and other minerals, phytonutrients, and compounds are known to be capable of either preventing free radicals from forming or protecting the body from damage once free radicals have formed. Antioxidants slow the aging process by slowing DNA damage.
According to Dr. McGregor plant foods have on average 64 times more antioxidant power than red meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs. Even lowly iceberg lettuce has more oxidative benefit than fish (including salmon), chicken, hard boiled egg, EggBeaters, Coca Cola, cows milk, yogurt, or soy milk.
The human body needs alkalizing minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium as well as trace minerals like zinc, selenium, manganese, iodine, chromium, and copper to make enzymes, proteins, hormones, and neurotransmitters. Minerals like sulfur and phosphorus contribute to body acidity.
(Image above used with permission by TheAlkalineDiet.org. Click HERE to see the full chart.)
When the acid overload gets too high for the blood, the body dumps the acid out of the bloodstream and into the lymphatic system, joints, arteries, and fat cells causing chronic inflammation is those areas and systems.
Chronic inflammation is highly destructive to the human body and has been indicated as a common denominator of many diseases. Chronic inflammation is caused by an over abundance of free radicals. A naturally low-fat plant-based diet full of raw, water-dense, whole plant foods is ideal for combatting free radicals and establishing an alkaline internal body environment. Get started eating this way with a free session of Fruit Til Five™!
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• Choosing the Safest Fats, Carbs, and Proteins
• Fruit Over Forks Over Knives
• Is Eating Meat Selfish?
• How Much Water Do You Have to Drink to “Undo” a Cola?
• Acidic & Alkaline Attitudes