Buzzwords Beware: Alkalinized products for better health?
Having read that when bodies become acidic, because of a diet of processed foods and proteins, calcium can be leached from bones to keep our natural balance, I took note when I saw “Alkalinized water” at my local grocery store recently. I considered it some sort of epidemiological boost, like fluoride in water or iodized salt. When I looked into it further, I found a lot of information about the alkaline foods diet, made popular a few years ago by Victoria Beckham. However, after doing some research, I’m here to tell you that alkalinized food and water may not be as beneficial (for your health or your wallet) as you might think. It’s time to debunk the alkaline food myth.
Alkaline Vs. Acidic
Liquids can be measured, in terms of chemistry, to be either an acid (pH of 0-7), neutral (pH of 7) or alkaline (a base, with a pH of 7-14). The liquids in our body include intracellular fluid and extracellular fluid. Intracellular fluid is the fluid that is found in all of our cells. It is this fluid that makes up about 66% of our bodies. Extracellular fluids are plasma, which makes up our blood, and interstitial fluid, the liquid that surrounds all of our tissues, that’s in our eyes, lymphatic system, joints, and between membranes.
Naturally, our blood, or plasma, needs to have a pH of between 7.35 and 7.45 for our body to continue functioning, says Dr. Ben Kim on his blog regarding the alkaline diet. Outside of that range, the proteins that help our body to function will lose their shape and their functionality. The result of this could be traumatic. However, according to Dr. Kim, our body has a number of buffer systems to prevent this from happening. The main issue occurs when your diet chronically stresses these buffer systems, and you can see slow, but negative, changes in your health. A poor, and acidic, diet consisting mostly of highly processed foods, white flour, and white sugar over a period of many years can put undue demands on these buffer systems, causing them to have to pull nutrients like calcium phosphate reserves (your bones and teeth) to protect your blood. This can result in weakness of bones and teeth over time. It can also increase your risk of kidney stones.
What Can You Do?
In order to protect these buffering systems, which work by themselves to keep our body balanced, it is important to eat a variety of foods. A healthy diet consists of mixing alkaline and acid forming foods, but ideally contains more alkaline forming foods.
Examples of Alkaline forming foods include: vegetables, fruits, ginger, avocados, parsley, and most herbs.
Examples of Acid forming foods include: alcohol, soft drinks, tobacco, coffee, sugars and sweeteners, seafood, cheese, beans, breads, meats, and white flour products.
Save Your Money
As you can see, by spending extra money on “alkalinized” products, you’re putting into your body what you really should be eating daily. Giving your body a boost of alkalinity may help to neutralize eating some acidic things, but generally eating many acid-forming foods is bad for you. Eating a more balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables will naturally take the stress off of those buffer systems and protect your bones, teeth, and blood… and many other aspects of your general health.