Many people have heard of the “pH miracle plan” for restoring and preserving health, but are unclear on exactly which foods are considered “acidic,” and which are considered “alkaline.”
The “pH miracle” is an idea developed by researcher Robert O. Young, and introduced in his 2002 book of the same name. Young suggested that the body’s natural pH is slightly alkaline, but that the modern diet is high in foods that tend to produce an acidic effect in the body. These foods, such as processed sugar, dairy, meat, junk food, alcohol and caffeine, shift the body’s pH towards acidic. This causes acid wastes to build up in the body’s organs, producing a variety of diseases, including cancer.
“The focus for preventing and reversing cancer must be on maintaining the alkaline pH of the body fluids, and a recognition that cancer is a systemic acidic condition,” Young has written.
Top five alkaline superfoods
Unsurprisingly for anyone who follows the most current dietary advice, the most alkaline foods tend to be fruits, vegetables and oily foods, such as avocados, nuts and olives. These foods, by no coincidence, also tend to provide numerous other health benefits. The following five foods are considered among the most alkaline-promoting:
Cabbage, in addition to its alkaline nature, has been shown to fight infections and cancer. If you boil cabbage, be sure to save the water and use it in soup, sauces, or even as a beverage. For an extra health boost, eat your cabbage fermented in the form of sauerkraut (make it at home, or buy it in the refrigerated section so it hasn’t been killed!).
Olive oil, made famous by proponents of the Mediterranean diet, is known to be high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. It is also high in vitamin E, which has been shown to reduce the symptoms of hot flashes and may benefit heart health as well.
Flax seeds and flax seed oil have also gained quite a bit of attention, largely for their high content of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s, which are thought to be too scarce in the Western diet, have been linked with improvements in cholesterol and blood pressure, among other benefits. Flax seeds are also high in lignans, which help fight cancer and improve kidney function. Flax seeds can be eaten whole or ground, but many of the nutrients are best absorbed from the ground seeds or the oil.
Melons are incredibly nutrient rich, containing high levels of dietary fiber, potassium, folic acid and vitamins A, B6 and C. They have been shown to help prevent heart attack and stroke, perhaps by helping thin the blood. Watermelon is also considered an alkaline food.
Buckwheat is relatively uncommon in the Western diet, but functions as a highly effective wheat substitute for those trying to reduce their intake of the latter grain. Buckwheat has been shown to help prevent strokes, and ease the discomfort of hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
More alkaline diet tips
Other alkaline foods include alfalfa sprouts, avocado, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, chives, cucumber, garlic, grapefruit, green beans, green peas, leeks, lemon and lime, lettuce, millet, onion, parsley, pears, pumpkin, radishes, sesame seeds and paste (tahini), soy (beans, sprouts and products), spinach, tomato, wild rice and zucchini.
According to Young, the average person’s diet should consist of 80 percent alkaline foods, such as those listed above, and only about 20 percent acid foods, such as meat, dairy and refined carbohydrates.
Young also recommends the consumption of alkaline water, with a pH of between 9 and 11, to help dissolve the acid wastes that have built up in the body over years of eating an excessively acidic diet. He suggests the use of water ionizers to produce this water.
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