Are you alkaline? Explaining Elle Macpherson's favourite diet
Elle Macpherson's favourite
The Alkaline diet is based on purportedly altering the measure of the body's acid and alkali balance. On the pH scale, below seven is classified as acidic, and between seven and fourteen is alkaline. The Alkaline diet is based on the principle that your body will function at its best when slightly alkaline. An acidic environment is thought to induce inflammation, which we know is at the root of many disease states. Foods classed as acid-forming are meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, alcohol and grains. Alkaline foods include vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes.
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It is now popular practice among alkaline aficionados to measure the pH of their urine using a dipstick test. A measure coming in over seven is considered a healthy alkaline reading. It's worth noting though that different parts of the body vary greatly in their pH. The stomach is highly acidic as it's loaded with plenty of the hydrochloric acid needed to break down food. Blood pH is very strictly monitored, always remaining within a pH of 7.35-7.45 - regardless of how much kale you've been eating!
Even if you have consumed more 'acidic' foods, your body will quickly neutralise and expel acids to regain its usual balance without having affected the pH of the blood or tissues. So even though urine pH levels can vary, that isn't providing any real insight into overall health. In fact, many 'acid-forming' foods are very good for you. Grass-fed meat, organic poultry, dairy and eggs and wild caught fish make up an important component of most balanced diets.
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The Alkaline diet encourages a high intake of fruit and vegetables while reducing alcohol, caffeine and processed foods, which is why many people report looking and feeling better after adopting its principles. A diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables is rich in antioxidants which combat oxidative stress, and that's what is responsible for the beneficial effect on inflammation reported on this diet.
So, while I will remain dubious about benefits of the Alkaline diet having anything to do with its alkalinity, nobody can deny how fantastic Elle looks, so it certainly has some principles worth adopting.
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5 ways to be more 'alkaline' (or just to be healthier in general)...
1. Eat a minimum of five servings of vegetables, and up to two servings of fruit daily.
2. Eliminate refined sugar and carbohydrates, trans fat, soft drinks, artificial colours and flavours.
3. Reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine.
4. Ensure poultry, eggs and dairy are organic and fish is wild caught; reduce red meat intake and ensure it is grass-fed.
5. Reduce your toxic load by doing away with commercial cleaning products, spending time outside in nature and prioritising sleep and relaxation.
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