Consuming excess, acidic foods can harm our health. To counterbalance their effects, it is important to give pride of place to so-called “alkaline” foods, whose role is to promote the acid-base balance of our body. How do they act? What are they ? And for what benefits? Explanations.
Alkaline foods, sometimes also called “alkalizing foods”, are those with a high pH. They are opposed to so-called “acidic” foods. An acidic food has a low pH.
“It should not be understood that “have an acid taste” but whose pH is low, and which generate, during their digestion, acidity in the body“, specifies Marie-Laure André, dietitian-nutritionist.
In excess, these products are responsible for an inflammatory state of the body, called metabolic acidosis. It can be the cause of many health problems such as fatigue, headaches, insomnia, constipation and bloating, dermatological problems (acne, brittle nails, striated nails, etc.) and hair problems (hair loss). hair), hypersensitivity to stress and a tendency to gain weight.
In the long term, acidic food also makes the bed of diseases such as cardiovascular pathologies, osteoporosis and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, tendonitis. According to a study published in November 2017, it may also be responsible for liver problems.1. To counterbalance these effects, the solution is to include alkaline foods more often in your menus: their combination promotes the acid-base balance of our body and allows a much more harmonious functioning and better health! Ideally, our plate should consist of 70% alkaline foods and 30% acidic foods. How do we know if our body is out of balance? That our diet is too acidic? Simply by dipping a strip measuring the pH in his urine. You will see the degree of acidity present in your body.
List of Alkaline Foods
Foods are classified according to their degree of alkalinity: it is the PRAL index, Potential Renal Acid Load, which is authentic. The PRAL indicator, developed by scientists, takes three parameters into account: the quantity of minerals that the food contains, its bicarbonate content and that of proteins. If the result is above zero, the product is said to be “acidifying”, if it is at zero, it is said to be “neutral”, below this value, it is “alkaline”. You can find the PRAL index on the internet.
Here is the list of alkalizing foods:
- The fruits : cherry, banana, apple, lemon, dates, watermelon, strawberry, blackberries, blackcurrants, mango, apricot, raspberry, grapefruit, kiwi, fig, pear, nectarine, pineapple, orange, peach and grape;
- The vegetables : spinach, asparagus, avocado, broccoli, carrot, garlic, beets, celery, bell pepper, seaweed, fennel, zucchini, pumpkin, cabbage, kale, cabbage from Brussels, cauliflower, green beans, lettuce, endive, leek, onion, dandelion, cucumber and parsley, as well as potatoes;
- Legumes: lentils, chickpeas, broad beans, white beans, mung beans, etc. ;
- Oleaginous seeds and fruits: pumpkin, sunflower, squash and flax seeds, almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts and cashews;
- Spices and herbs: ginger, curry, mustard, black pepper, cardamom, rosemary, thyme, dill, coriander, nutmeg, red pepper, tamari and cinnamon;
- Dairy products : fermented milk;
- The drinks : water, consumed with lemon, mineral waters, vegetable juices, fermented milk, tea;
- Sweet foods: honey, brown sugar;
- Fatty substances : rapeseed, linseed, olive and sunflower oils.
With this list of alkaline foods, you have enough to imagine your next recipes!
Limit acidic foods
Conversely, it is recommended to slow down the consumption of acidic foods. These are foods like:
- The proteins : white meat, red meat, charcuterie, eggs, fatty fish (salmon, herring, sardines…), lean fish (whiting, sole, trout, perch, cod…), seafood (periwinkles, oysters , clam, etc.), shellfish (lobster, crab, mussel, shrimp, etc.);
- The cereals : whole wheat, brown rice, rye, barley, spelt, buckwheat, quinoa, wholemeal bread, rusks and wholemeal pasta;
- Dairy products : pasteurized milk, fresh cream, butter, fromage blanc, yoghurts, cheese;
- Sweet products: maple syrup, white sugar;
- The drinks : alcohol, soft drinks such as soda, industrial fruit juices;
- Refined foods like pasta and white rice, white bread and white flour.
The benefits of an acid-base balance
Alkalizing foods prevent the risk of cardiovascular disease
Rich in antioxidants and minerals like vitamins A, C and E, selenium and zinc as well as polyphenols, active ingredients that protect the cardiac system from the deleterious effects of free radicals, alkalizing or alkaline foods are an asset in preventing the risk of heart attack.
Alkaline foods are also a source of potassium, a mineral that promotes the contraction of muscles, including the heart, and participates in nerve impulses. Thanks to this, it allows good cardiovascular functioning, fights against high blood pressure and prevents the occurrence of Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA). In short, all good for the body!
Alkalizers contribute to good intestinal function
The advantage of alkaline foods? Their wealth in fibers. If among the alkaline foods are fruits and vegetables, whole grains are part of the acidic foods. Their combination promotes good intestinal transit, provides a quick and lasting feeling of satiety, ideally nourishes our intestinal microbiota, participates in the fight against cancers, including those of the colon, breast and stomach, and plays a role in the good health of our heart by reducing the level of bad blood cholesterol.
Alkalizing foods help prevent diabetes
The Glycemic Index is a value that measures the capacity of a food to raise the level of sugar in your blood: the higher it is, the more the food increases the level of blood sugar and, in the long term, makes the bed of the Type 2 diabetes ; conversely, the lower it is, the less the food has an effect on blood sugar levels and protects against this metabolic disease.
However, most alkaline foods, especially fruits, vegetables and legumes have the advantage of having a low glycemic index, as do whole grains, foodstuffs present in acidic foods when it is not a question of whole foods.
It is advisable to increase the share of fruits, vegetables, legumes and seeds in one’s daily diet, knowing that raw vegetables have a higher alkalizing power than cooked ones. Ideally, the ratio between acidic and alkaline foods should be 40/60 up to 20/80.
The disadvantages of the alkaline diet
In itself, the acid-base diet has no disadvantages for health and the body since it does not exclude any categories of food: it recommends maintaining a good ratio between acidic foods and those alkaline in order to achieve a balance. It therefore does not lead to nutritional deficiencies.
On the other hand, it can seem tedious to have to constantly refer to a list of foods and to check if the composition of your plate corresponds to the recommended 70-30. Finally, people who suffer fragile intestines will have to gradually increase the amount of fruits, vegetables and legumes in their diet so as not to risk abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea due to the influx of fibre.
But food is not enough to balance your body: if it becomes acidic due to excessive consumption of acidic foods, other factors also come into play: a poor sleep, physical inactivity, stress and lack of hydration. At the same time, it will therefore be necessary to take care of your lifestyle by practicing 30 minutes of moderate activity every day such as brisk walking, taking care to take care of your sleep to have a rest located in 7 and 8 hours per night. , by treating your stress either through sport or relaxation methods and by drinking the equivalent of 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day.
NO to diets, YES to WW!
Example of a typical acid-base diet day
- Green tea ;
- Bowl of red fruits;
- Lentil flour waffle;
- Almond butter.
- Raw vegetables seasoned with lemon juice and rapeseed oil. ;
- Salmon steak;
- Complete rice ;
- A handful of almonds.
- Mix of chickpeas and semolina;
- Cooked vegetables ;
- A white cheese.
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