Alkaline foods and alkaline nutrition have been on everyone’s lips for years. The diet is less a diet than a basic attitude. But how can you eat alkaline, which foods are alkaline, and for whom is this type of nutrition worthwhile?
What is an alkaline diet?
The basic idea of alkaline foods is based on a civilizational problem. Accordingly, the food and drinks that modern people consume to ensure that the so-called acid-base balance of the body gets out of balance. This can trigger various complaints and illnesses – from flatulence to migraines. An alternative diet with alkaline foods should counteract this.
An alkaline eating plan can be implemented either as a strict regimen that eliminates all acid-forming foods or as a dietary guide. In everyday life, you can do something good for your body, for example by integrating certain basic foods into your main meals and enjoying them as snacks.
Where does alkaline nutrition come from?
As early as the 17th century, it was said that an imbalance of acids and bases in the body could cause disease. Since then, this theory has been taken up and researched again and again. For over a hundred years, alkaline nutrition has been recommended as health-promoting and healing in alternative medicine, while at the same time warnings are given against acidosis. However, the alkaline diet is without a doubt healthy and largely corresponds to the recommendations of the German Society for Nutrition (DGE).
The so-called pH value describes the degree of acids or bases in a solution. The number 0 stands for very acidic, 7 is neutral and 14 means that the solution is strongly basic. The acid-base balance describes the body mechanisms that regulate the pH value of the blood. The optimal pH value of blood is between 7.36 and 7.44 – it is therefore slightly alkaline. There are only minimal fluctuations in the pH value in the blood. If he slips into the acid, this is a medical emergency. It cannot be influenced by diet. However, a diet low in alkaline foods can increase the level of the stress hormone cortisol.
What positive effects do alkaline foods have?
By eating certain foods, the body is constantly burdened with excess acids. These are then neutralized or flushed out through bodily excretions such as sweat and urine. Nevertheless, a diet with too few alkaline foods can lead to problems: headaches, migraines, hair loss, impure skin, and even rheumatism are suspected to be triggered or worsened by this. Alkaline foods can counteract or prevent this. Those who eat an alkaline diet may benefit from numerous positive effects, including improved concentration, performance, and deeper sleep.
Which alkaline foods can I eat?
If you value an alkaline diet with many alkaline foods in everyday life, you should first make a plan. Unlike a cure, it is recommended to eat products in a ratio of 80 percent basic foods to 20 percent acid-forming products. A basic rule of thumb for processed foods is quite simple: the more ingredients there are on the ingredients list, the more likely it is that you’ll end up with unwanted acidity. You should therefore completely avoid ready meals.
Acid-forming foods also include most dairy products, alcohol, caffeine, meat, grain products, and sugar. However, that does not mean that you have to do without these products in general. You should just keep the 80/20 rule in mind.
Alkaline foods include a variety of vegetables and fruits. The following alkaline foods are recommended:
- Lettuce and almost all vegetables – for example, spinach, kale, savoy cabbage, and cucumber. The leaves of carrots and kohlrabi are also edible and have an alkaline effect.
- Fruits, fresh and dried – such as lemon, orange, or grapefruit, which taste sour but have an alkaline effect, and raisins.
- Potatoes – they are also a popular filling side dish for many alkaline dishes.
- Sprouts, sprouts, and mushrooms – such as broccoli or radish sprouts, button mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, or chanterelles.
- Apple cider vinegar – although it also tastes sour, it has an alkaline effect on the body, for example in a salad dressing or added to a glass of water.
- Nuts – but be careful: some nuts are acid-forming. Almonds and walnuts are recommended as alkaline foods.
- Amaranth – the pseudo-grain is not considered alkaline per se, but it is a good acidifier and is therefore highly recommended in combination with fruit.
It is also important for an alkaline diet to drink a lot. The acids should also be flushed out. You should drink at least two liters of water or herbal tea per day. Certain mineral waters contain a particularly large amount of so-called bicarbonate. This has a basic effect, i.e. as an acid buffer, should not be missing from any meal and should of course be drunk throughout the day.