What constitutes a healthy diet can be confusing.
Ideally, we should only eat foods that actively do us good and are nourishing. Every cell in our bodies performs the vital tasks of respiration, growth and repair, and to do the best job possible each cell requires adequate nutrition. As we metabolise our food, we also need to excrete acidic metabolic wastes regularly. While our bodies go to great lengths to neutralise and detoxify these acids before they can act as poisons in and around the cell, it’s vital that we complete the process by going to the toilet regularly.
A healthy diet is based on eating natural, organic foods, which form an alkaline residue in the body to help neutralise and detoxify acidic waste.
Acid-forming foods contribute hydrogen ions to the body, making it more acidic. They can have a tensing, contracting, constipating effect. An alkalising food removes hydrogen ions from the body, making it more alkaline, and can have a relaxing, expanding and laxative effect.
Examples of acid-forming foods:
- Any form of meat, including meat stocks
- Fish and shellfish
- Milk and milk products (including low fat versions) like Quark, yoghurt, kefir (a fermented milk drink), cheese, ice cream, eggs and milkshakes.
- Mustard, vinegar, and ketchup
- Most nuts, except for almonds
- Wheat products, including pizza, pasta, rice, bread, rolls and wholemeal products.
- Sugar, sweets, honey, and artificial sweeteners
- Trans fats, margarine, saturated fats, hydrogenated oil and corn oil
- Fruit juices and sparkling drinks, such as fizzy lemonade or cola
- Coffee, black tea and fruit teas
- All ready meals
It’s best to try and avoid fatty meats, dairy products, sweets, alcohol, and tobacco. Ready meals and fast food are often low in important nutrients and are full of sugar, salt, and other hidden additives, as well as leaving an acidic residue.
Alkaline-forming foods include most vegetables, fruit, herbs, and lettuce, sprouts and seeds and good fats and oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed and hempseed oil.
Everyone is an individual, and there are various theories on the proportions of acid/alkaline/neutral food compositions for a healthy diet. For most of us, though, the ideal diet consists of 75 per cent alkalising and 25 per cent acidifying foods by volume.
For many of us, our typical diet contains lots of white flour, sugar and chemical flavourings and additives – a diet that some experts estimate contains up to 80 per cent acidifying foods.
Over time, if we continue to eat a diet high in acid-forming foods, our electrolyte mineral reserves can become depleted as our bodies use them to counter the excess acids. Once the electrolyte reserves run down, your body begins to take electrolytes from various internal organs and systems to maintain a constant pH level. At this point, the imbalance begins to show. For example, your body starts to maintain blood and tissue alkalinity by abstracting calcium salts for the cell spaces of the bones and teeth and by also taking the alkaline element, potassium, from muscles. Bones and teeth are left weakened, and muscles become acid contracted.
Alkaline-forming foods are generally rich in minerals, fibre, and plant protein. They are also often low glycaemic foods, meaning they’re broken down slowly and steadily. Digesting low glycaemic foods means a smooth curve of blood sugar levels throughout the day, which is much healthier than the sharp peaks and troughs associated with high glycaemic foods such as refined sugar and will leave you feeling more balanced and healthier.
For more information about how to make simple changes to your diet and feel better, give me a call at the Complete Health Clinic on 07900082080.