Feeling fatigued? Maybe your diet is too acidic. Find the right balance for you and your family to maintain or restore good health.
There’s a theory in some alternative health camps that a correct acid/alkaline balance in the body (four parts alkaline to one part acid) is essential for maintaining good health. It is also believed that when this ratio is maintained, the body can resist disease.
If you are looking to restore health, a diet consisting of 80 per cent alkaline and 20 per cent acid is recommended. Unfortunately, most people eat 60 per cent acid and 40 per cent alkaline.
The more acid in the blood, the less oxygen it contains. This means vitamins and minerals are compromised making us more susceptible to fatigue and illness, and unable to repair cells and produce energy. (Arthritis and rheumatoid diseases have been linked to elevated levels of acid in the body.)
A highly acidic diet combined with stress, exposure to toxic chemicals and immune responses can also lead to an imbalance of pH levels. But it’s important to note that the natural pH of any food does not translate to its acid or alkaline tendency once it has been digested.
For example, citrus fruits have a high chemical acid pH, but produce an alkaline ash when digested by the body. Meat has an alkaline pH, but once digested leaves an acidic residue in the body.
However, cutting down on the amount of meat, fish, shellfish, dairy (this includes yoghurt and cheeses) and eggs will help lower the acid-forming foods in your diet. Please note we’re not suggesting you eliminate these foods from your diet. It’s about getting the proportions correct.
HOW TO RESTORE BALANCE
In short, reduce your intake of foods that cause an acid build-up.
Avoid processed and highly salted foods, and limit your consumption of coffee and soft drinks.
White flour and white sugar are highly processed and hidden in many foods, so check labels carefully. Nutrasweet (aspartame) or other artificial sweeteners are extremely acid forming. Beans and legumes also create an acidic ash in the body so don’t eat too many.
Avoid alcohol, drugs, tobacco and many pharmaceutical medications as they are acidic, which causes an imbalance in the body’s natural pH levels.
Even chocolate is acid forming –that includes the 70 per cent cocoa varieties!
HOW TO ALKALISE YOUR BODY
Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. If you can, buy organic produce as non-organic fruit and vegetables are sprayed with acid-forming fertilisers and pesticides. And always wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly in filtered water.
Start the day with a fruit or vegetable juice, or replace your morning or afternoon snack with a juice.
Drink plenty of alkaline water. You can make this yourself by adding a pinch of bicarbonate of soda to 1 litre of filtered water.
Replace your daily “cuppa” with a herbal or lemon ginger tea. If you’re finding it difficult to say no to coffee, try and ditch the sugar.
Grapefruits are very alkaline. So substitute your morning toast and jam with half a grapefruit.
Snack on sulphur-free dried fruits, such as apples, figs and raisins, or vegetable sticks with a vegetable dip. Celery is incredibly alkalising, nutritious and requires little preparation.
Greens, such as spinach, broccoli and asparagus, are very alkalising, so eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alternatively, add sprouts to salads, soup, and stir-fries.
Accompany each meal with a big bowl of salad or steamed vegetables, or simply enjoy as a main meal.
Prepare soups with plenty of vegetables, or serve roast vegetables as warm salads. Add bicarbonate of soda (alkalising) to the cooking water of soups and vegetables.
Substitute hard cheese with soft cheese, such as fresh goat’s cheese.
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to alkalise the body. When a cell is depleted of oxygen it is likely to create acidity.
Finally, learn to relax. Take up yoga, tai chi, Pilates or other forms of gentle exercise and discover new ways to release any emotional stress from your body.