Do you know the benefits of alkaline foods? Alkalinity means something has a pH higher than 7, on a scale of 0 to 14.  Your blood is slightly alkaline, your stomach is very acidic, and your urine and saliva change pH, depending on what you eat and upon your metabolism.1, 2  The human body is naturally slightly alkaline, with an urine pH around 6.2   According to research, alkaline foods, such as the ones above, are good for health and immunity, and a good way to give our bodies extra protection against viruses and bacteria.3,4  Below are some of the key ways alkaline foods can improve health

  1. Immunity Boost: vegetables and fruits are loaded with immune supporting nutrients such as vitamins C, A, E and Zinc.1  Studies have shown that diets higher in vegetables, and lower in protein are associated with a more alkaline pH2.  Rich in fiber, another immune boosting ingredient, alkaline foods provide food for the friendly bacteria in our gut which help keep our bodies strong and healthy.
  2. Diabetes: our immunity is lower when blood sugar levels are high, making us more susceptible to viruses and bacterial infections.5 Alkaline foods help regulate blood sugar levels and may help to lower your risk for Type 2 Diabetes.6 
  3. Healthy Weight: Obesity can weaken the body’s immune system and reduce its ability to fight off infections, according to scientists.7 Alkaline foods tend to be lower in calories and fat and may help in weight loss.
  4. Heart Health: fruits and vegetables are powerful allies for your heart, because they will help you lower your cholesterol levels, a risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the USA8.  
  5. Kidney Health: according to a 2017 study, the typical diet in the United States is very acidic and this can be challenging to the kidneys.9 Alkaline foods may help improve the health of your kidneys and decrease your chance of having kidney stones.10
  6. Bone Health: avoiding highly acidic food (such as coffee, tea, alcohol, meat, and sugar) and eating more fruits and vegetables have a positive influence on bone health, helping to delay bone loss and preserve bone mass.1, 2  
  7. Muscle Mass: We all lose muscle mass as we age, and this increases our risk of falls and fractures. According to a 2013 study, there is preliminary evidence that an alkaline diet may improve muscle health.1, 11
  8. Reduce Body’s Acidity. A pH level below 5.3 can negatively affect cardiac function, cause poor nutrition, and weaken the immune system.  A low pH can be due to only consuming foods highly acidic foods which are typically high in fat and protein, while fruits and vegetables offset the acidic effects by making the body more alkaline.  In a previous study, our team showed that ingesting a dietary greens supplement once daily for several days can help make the body less acidic.2       

So go ahead and have an extra servings of green vegetables with your next meal. Your body will appreciate it!

References

1.         Schwalfenberg, G. K. The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health? J. Environ. Public Health 2012, (2012).

2.         Anton, S. D. et al. Effect of a novel dietary supplement on pH levels of healthy volunteers: a pilot study. J. Integr. Med. 11, 384–388 (2013).

3.         Mousa, H. A.-L. Prevention and Treatment of Influenza, Influenza-Like Illness, and Common Cold by Herbal, Complementary, and Natural Therapies. J. Evid.-Based Complement. Altern. Med. 22, 166–174 (2017).

4.         Sturman, L. S., Ricard, C. S. & Holmes, K. V. Conformational change of the coronavirus peplomer glycoprotein at pH 8.0 and 37 degrees C correlates with virus aggregation and virus-induced cell fusion. J. Virol. 64, 3042–3050 (1990).

5.         Butler, S. O., Btaiche, I. F. & Alaniz, C. Relationship between hyperglycemia and infection in critically ill patients. Pharmacotherapy 25, 963–976 (2005).

6.         Mousa, H. A.-L. Health Effects of Alkaline Diet and Water, Reduction of Digestive-tract Bacterial Load, and Earthing. Altern. Ther. Health Med. 22 Suppl 1, 24–33 (2016).

7.         Jha, A. & correspondent,  science. Obesity may harm immune system. The Guardian (2007).

8.         CDC. Heart Disease Facts | cdc.gov. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm (2019).

9.         Passey, C. Reducing the Dietary Acid Load: How a More Alkaline Diet Benefits Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease. J. Ren. Nutr. 27, 151–160 (2017).

10.       Reddy, S. T., Wang, C.-Y., Sakhaee, K., Brinkley, L. & Pak, C. Y. C. Effect of low-carbohydrate high-protein diets on acid-base balance, stone-forming propensity, and calcium metabolism. Am. J. Kidney Dis. Off. J. Natl. Kidney Found. 40, 265–274 (2002).

11.       Welch, A. A. et al. A higher alkaline dietary load is associated with greater indexes of skeletal muscle mass in women. Osteoporos. Int. 24, 1899–1908 (2013).