The past few years have seen a resurgence of interest in the anti-aging alkaline diet loved by many celebrities, from Elle Macpherson to Victoria Beckham. As her adherents say, with the help of this type of nutrition, you can not only lose extra pounds, but also improve the condition of the skin. This effect can be obtained by changing the pH level in our body. It is believed that this stimulates increased collagen production (for now, premature signs of aging!), Dry skin receives proper nutrition, and its protective function is restored. Intrigued? We asked an expert to talk about all the pros and cons of this diet.
History of origin
The alkaline diet is not new, although it became popular in the 2000s. Its roots originate in Ayurveda, some of its principles are borrowed from the dissociated diet invented by Dr. William Howard Hay in 1911. In accordance with this type of food, all foods were divided into categories – acidic and alkaline. It was necessary to consume a large amount of the latter and at the same time limit oneself in “sour” food. In the 1980s, there was also a version of the alkaline diet known as the combination diet.
The alkaline diet was revived in the early 2000s when American naturopath Robert Young published the pH Miracle, which became a bestseller. Despite the fact that Young was jailed in 2017 for illegal medical practice and ordered to pay multimillion-dollar fines for misleading cancer patients, the followers of this diet continued to eat according to the principles he formulated. And among the fans of “Miracle” there are many stars: Victoria Beckham, Elle MacPherson and others.
All products are divided into three groups:
Acidic: legumes, nuts, fish, seafood, high yeast breads, butter, eggs, meat, and drinks such as coffee and tea
– alkaline: vegetables and herbs, fruits (apples and pears, apricots, figs, dates, lemon, lime), coconut, avocado, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, walnuts, sesame seeds, almonds);
– neutral: eggs, brown rice, oatmeal, dairy products (sour cream, ice cream, milk and natural yoghurts).
The “formula for success” is simple – 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic. You need to eat five to six times a day, while not eating after 19.00 and chewing food thoroughly.
The basic principles are to reduce the amount of salt (to 2 grams per day) and the minimum amount of spicy food (no burritos and chicken curry). You also need to watch out for what you drink: you should gradually give up coffee, tea and sweet soda.
An alkaline diet means eating in such a way as to help optimize our body’s natural pH balance by reducing the amount of acid-forming foods consumed – processed foods (processed foods), red meat, alcohol, coffee. However, you can and should eat alkaline-forming foods such as fresh leafy greens, carrots, avocados, beets and quinoa.
It’s all based on the idea that after being digested, food becomes a new substance, which scientists call “ash” (metabolic waste), before it enters the bloodstream. Some foods produce alkaline ash, others acidic. Alkali neutralizes acid and accelerates the elimination of toxic substances from the body, helping to cleanse all systems, including mucous membranes. Although natural body processes tend to keep our blood pH at 7.4 (the normal range is 7.35 to 7.45), it is believed that eating foods that are easier to digest and already more alkaline will help balance this balancing process. much easier.
As Margarita Budassi, a specialist in fitness testing and a nutritionist at X-Fit in Russia, explains, the normal pH (acidity) of a healthy organism (blood, lymph, semen, extracellular matrix) is 7.3-7.4. But all processes in the body go with the formation of acids.
To maintain pH, the body’s buffer system (the defense system that maintains balance) must consume alkaline minerals (silicon, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium) that we get from food. If the diet does not contain alkalizing foods, a mineral deficiency condition occurs. Hence, chronic fatigue syndrome appears, hair can fall out, gout and inflammation can develop,
– says the expert.
Nutritionists claim that our bodies are under stress associated with the digestion and processing of large quantities of foods such as refined sugar, gluten, dairy products and meat. While many varieties of alkaline food recommend switching to a vegetarian diet, it is best to achieve a 70:30 balance of alkaline and acidic foods.
Victoria Beckham celebrated Corrett and Edgson’s first Honestly Healthy recipe book, while Elle Macpherson based her entire WelleCo The Super Elixir range of supplements on acid-base principles. Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson are also said to be big fans of alkaline food, along with Kirsten Dunst, Alicia Silverstone and Gisele Bundchen, whose husband, American football star Tom Brady, said he eats 80% alkaline food.
Of our stars, the actress Yulia Snigir adheres to this diet.
What do you know about the acid-base balance of the body? PH, the ratio of acid and alkali. Violation of this balance leads to disruption of our system. What is the plan of action? We find on the Internet lists of acidifying foods and try to eat them as little as possible, and as many alkalizing foods as possible, – Julia shared her experience.
Where to begin?
First, you need to learn to distinguish between alkaline and acidic foods, which is not always easy. For example, lemons and limes seem very acidic, but actually produce alkaline “ash”. The opposite is true for most meat and dairy products.
The goal is to saturate the diet with food with a pH> 6. The most alkaline foods are greens, lettuce, then vegetables, fruits, cereals, except wheat. It is advisable to use them without heat treatment, so we get the maximum amount of macro- and microelements that will be easily assimilated.
Once you’ve figured out which foods to eat first, start with small changes. For example, make yourself a green cocktail for breakfast. Nutrient-rich salad for lunch instead of a quick sandwich you grabbed on your way to work. Let everything happen gradually – this is not a standard diet, so it requires reflection and preparation. This is a lifestyle change, after all, not a six-week trendy express diet.
It is also necessary to limit or exclude acidifying products:
– cheese and other dairy products;
– instant coffee;
– White rice;
– most of the fish and seafood;
– some types of nuts and fruits with a high glycemic index.
The ideal alkaline diet is an all-plant, predominantly raw food diet. You can replace dairy products with yoghurts and plant-based milk drinks. However, in fact, three times a week you can eat grains and fish (seafood), turkey and chicken.
What is allowed and what is not?
Almost all vegetables (with the exception of pickled and pickled vegetables) are on the list of “permitted”. Wheat and barley sprouts, cabbage, eggplant and zucchini, as well as root vegetables (beets, carrots, kohlrabi, radishes and radishes) are held in high esteem. For fruits, the best options are cherries, watermelon, apples and bananas.
It is better to replace vegetable oil with coconut, olive, sesame, and flax seeds. More rare oils, such as almond and cedar, are considered useful for an alkaline diet.
The carbohydrates necessary for the body can be obtained from lentils, buckwheat, wheat, spelled and millet. But look for protein in beans and tofu.
Among drinks, water, herbal and green teas are in favor. Most meats are considered acidic: beef, pork, veal, sardines and tuna are the most acidic. But chicken, turkey, salmon and freshwater fish are acceptable.
Sample menu for several days
Breakfast: natural yogurt without sweet additives, banana.
Lunch: durum wheat pasta with mushroom or tomato sauce.
Afternoon snack: pear and whole grain cracker.
Dinner: boiled chicken breast, vegetable salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, bell peppers, basil.
Breakfast: scrambled eggs from two eggs.
Snack: prunes, dried apricots or other dried fruits.
Lunch: pumpkin cream soup with croutons.
Afternoon snack: banana-cherry smoothie with skim milk or yogurt.
Dinner: fish baked in the oven, vegetable salad dressed with olive oil and citrus juice.
The third day
Breakfast: hot sandwich.
Snack: apple or orange.
Lunch: wild rice with vegetables and herbs (zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, onions).
Afternoon snack: cottage cheese with a spoonful of honey.
Dinner: stewed white cabbage with boiled potatoes.
Pros of an alkaline diet
Many skin problems, including acne, dryness, eczema and psoriasis, can be related to the level of slagging in the intestines and digestive system. Alkaline nutrition experts agree that removing acidic foods from your diet will eliminate the root cause of rashes by restoring the skin’s barrier function.
A diet rich in acid-forming foods destroys some of the defenses provided by essential fatty acids such as omega-3s and leads to inflammation, high cholesterol, and skin damage. Eating an alkaline diet makes the skin smoother and increases collagen production.
Among the advantages of the diet, one can single out the slowing down of the aging process, the effectiveness for weight loss, the saturation of the body with vitamins and minerals, the provision of strong immunity, the prevention and treatment of gout, the normalization of the digestive process due to the “light” sources of protein.
Cons of an alkaline diet
Margarita Budassi highlighted the following disadvantages of the diet: you need to prepare and tune in emotionally, you need to control the total protein of blood, iron, hemoglobin, the duration of such a diet is selected individually, taking into account the state of health, because there are contraindications. These include childhood, kidney failure, ulcerative colitis (ulcerative colitis), and other bowel disorders. In any case, you should not switch to such a diet without consulting a doctor.