The other day, my friend and I had a laugh about green juice curing cancer. It sounds funny, but the thing is, more and more compelling stories continue to surface. I’m sure many of you have heard about people curing cancer by significantly altering their diets to include Kale and other green vegetables. Or maybe you’ve heard about an alkaline diet, but you’re not so sure what it is. Alkaline eating is a way to optimize your blood and body in order to improve your health and prevent disease. Although clinical trials have yet to be published examining the effects of an alkaline diet, the theory and anecdotal evidence are creating a green eating frenzy.
Let’s quickly discuss the “basics.” Acidic liquids like vinegar or lemon juice measure a pH<7, where alkaline substances, such as baking soda and bleach, measure a pH>7. Pure water is neutral, pH=7, neither alkaline nor acidic. Our blood pH is very close to neutral measuring precisely 7.365. Having the proper environmental pH is crucial for any organism to survive. Soil must be at an exact pH for plants to grow, just as fish can only thrive in water within a certain pH range. The same is true for the body; even the slightest fluctuation in pH can wreak havoc, affecting our metabolism and organ systems, resulting in various disease and illness.
If we examined a live blood sample from a person with an overly acidic diet, damaged red blood cells, yeast, bacteria, and an increase in the disease fighting white blood cells trying to clean up the mess up could be visible. Mother nature intended for us to eat high potassium, low sodium diets representative of plant-based diets. Our kidneys (a major organ in acid/base regulation) function best to detoxify the body when we eat close to nature. The blood pH is tightly regulated, so the kidneys will send signals throughout the body to draw on alkaline stores, such as bones, if acidity tries to make its way into the body. One part of the alkaline eating theory is that alkaline eating preserves alkaline stores in the body, possibly preventing unnatural acidic environments where bacteria and cancers thrive.
If you frequent most supermarkets and restaurants, pretty much everything is processed with high sugar, sodium, and saturated fat content, all of which are indicative of an overly acidic diet and may result in:
- bone and muscle mass loss
- cardiovascular disease
- type 2 diabetes
- and even some cancers
Scientifically speaking, an alkaline forming food results in alkaline urine, which is measured by a low PRAL (potential renal acid load). Data shows choosing these foods maintain growth hormone levels (which decrease with age) and improve back pain (likely due to preserved alkaline stores in the bone). The alkaline diet, for the most part, includes these foods, but also takes into account the sugar content of food because it elevates yeast growth in the body. This is why you will see conflicting charts online. Various recommendations currently agree with eating ~80% alkaline.
Referencing a chart is helpful because intuitively you cannot predict which foods are alkaline, because naturally acidic foods, like lemons and apple cider vinegar for example, are alkaline producing. On the flip side of the spectrum, the majority of sources will agree to minimize these acid forming foods:
- Sugar (read labels)
Shifting to a more alkaline diet can improve your overall health. Studies are currently being done to really gauge the effects of an alkaline diet, however, personally, I have been able to fight off common colds from eating this way, and by adding some extra alkaline forming habits to my day. I also know people who have prolonged their lives and in other cases cured themselves of cancer with a supervised alkaline diet.
I’m not saying green leaves cure cancer. I am, however, bringing light to the fact that food is medicine. It is quite evident that we can choose to shift our diets to eat closer to nature. Maybe this is common sense for some, and a gentle reminder for others. I’m simply providing information so that you can make the best choices for you! If eating a more alkaline diet has the potential to prevent disease, and maybe even cure it, why not opt for these foods whenever possible? Eating this way can make you look and feel younger, and promotes weight loss as well.
The top 10 tips to keep you in a healthier alkaline state include:
- Consume as many green vegetables as possible!
- Try limiting meat, fish and cheese consumption to a few times a week.
- Minimize most grains, especially bread, opting for vegetables and quinoa instead.
- Avoid the tap and drink naturally alkaline water like bottled spring or mineral.
- Add a capful of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water daily.
- Squeeze some lemon into your water whenever possible.
- Opt for almond milk, instead of cow’s milk.
- Cut artificial sweeteners (Equal, Splenda) and sugar out of the diet.
- Add Himalayan pink salt or Real salt to your diet, throw away the table salt!
- Choose olive and coconut oil to cook with.
Eat Kale. Your body will be happy, but you may get gassy, so just increase your water intake :)