It happens very often that the more we learn, the more we complicate things. That is why I decided today to go back to the basics, and talk today about what we mean by alkaline lifestyle. The concept of living an alkaline lifestyle is a very simple approach to improving one’s health and preventing disease. The whole alkaline lifestyle concept, and I will get to it in a minute, makes a lot of sense, and is easy to understand, but it is also backed by very strong scientific body of research.
So what does being alkaline means? It basically refers to the pH in our cells, and our blood. The pH mean potential Hydrogen, or in easier terms, “usable” hydrogen. For our body to function properly, the pH of our blood needs to stay balanced in a very tight range, which is slightly alkaline. An alkaline pH means more potential hydrogen, or more oxygen circulating in our system if you will. To stay alive, our body needs to stay in that small pH range, and in order to do so, it has a lot of mechanisms it uses to balance its pH, call it a defense, or buffering system.
We need to stay at a slightly alkaline pH. But if we look at our modern diet and lifestyle, we are exposed to countless influences that acidify that pH. When this happens, our body, as a self defense, will activate that buffering system, which utilizes our mineral reserves, to alkalize back, and as you can imagine, these reserves can be easily depleted, exposing us to decay and disease.
Some of the factors that contribute to that acidification in our body, and to which we are exposed more and more everyday in our modern lifestyle are: stress and negative emotions, pollution, bad water quality, and bad sleep habits. Not to talk about our diet, excess sugar and sugar substitutes, hydrogenated and trans-fats, yeasts, dairy and animal products, simple carbohydrates, refined and processed foods, and alcohol are extremely acidifying.
So the cards are on the table, we want to be more alkaline, to ease that pressure on our body, and allow it to maintain its important mineral reserves, and stay healthy. We have also identified some of the most acidifying external factors we are exposed to. So adding these two things, we can now define an alkaline lifestyle.
An alkaline lifestyle means a lifestyle that promotes proper oxygen circulation in our system and hence a balanced pH in our cells and blood. When we are able to attain that balance, we prevent disease, increase our energy levels, and slow down aging. Serve me this cocktail of benefits any day!!
- Alkaline foods: If you haven’t seen our alkaline food chart, I invite you to do so, so you can get a visual idea of which foods are considered alkaline foods. Basically, the most alkalizing foods are fresh vegetables, healthy oils, seeds, and whole grains. When you think about our previous explanation of alkalinity, we talked about oxygen present, well water has oxygen, and these are all foods with high water content, and most importantly, with high mineral content too. Fruits also have a very high water content, but since they also have fructose, they are not considered as alkalizing as vegetables. As part of an alkaline lifestyle, the recommendation is that 70% of all you eat is alkaline foods.
- Alkaline water: most of us go through life dehydrated. It is very important to hydrate with the right water. Clean water rich in natural minerals and with a healthy pH. You should drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water everyday.
- Breathing: I always say people go through life breathing short, just the bare minimum. It is important to breath and oxygenate. Breathing exercises, yoga and meditation are excellent alkalizers. Walking and doing low impact exercise also have a very alkalizing effect, as they naturally make us breath deeper and better. Exercise is also very important because it helps our lymphatic system work better and get rid of toxins.
- Alkaline emotions: emotions produce chemical reactions in our body. It has been demonstrated that stress, anger, and bitter emotions are detrimental to our health, and have a very acidifying effect on our blood. On the other hand, laughter, love and positive emotions produce positive chemical reactions in the body, and are very alkalizing. Emotions are more important than we give them credit for, did you know some studies have demonstrated that emotions can have twice the effect food has in our blood?
- Lifestyle: there are two other components of an alkaline lifestyle I would like to mention. Sleep; the quality and quantity of your sleep are very important, this is the time when our body regenerates and heals. And the second aspect is sun. Taking sun in moderation is very healthy as it is a natural source of vitamin D and energy. A few minutes everyday can make a big difference.