What does "Alkaline" mean?

You’ve been in your fair share of “alkaline” conversations. And whenever you partake in those conversations, you nod your head in agreement and even make a comment or two given the chance.

There is just one problem.

You haven’t quite figured out what “alkaline” means. Yet.

It’s not your fault.

You’ve already done the sensible thing and Googled, “what does alkaline mean”. To no avail.

Not even Wikipedia can give you a straight answer… “Alkaline diet (also known as the alkaline ash diet, alkaline acid diet, acid ash diet, and acid alkaline diet) describes a group of loosely related diets based on the misconception that different types of food can have an effect on the pH balance of the body.”

Mm… Thanks for nothing!

No one could blame you if you gave up on the hope of ever learning what “alkaline” means at that point.

But you didn’t give up. And finally, your persistence is paying off.

This article is dedicated to helping you understand what alkaline means, and how that knowledge will empower you to make better lifestyle choices.

First, We Need to Understand pH

pH (“power of hydrogen”) measures the hydrogen ion concentration in a substance. In this case, our bodies.

The definition of “hydrogen ion concentration” is quite technical and beyond the scope of this article. But if you are curious about it, click here to learn more. 

The higher the concentration of hydrogen ions in your body, the lower your pH level will be. In other words, your body is acidic when it has a high concentration of hydrogen ions.

Thanks to Mokshamantra.com for the image.

Your body is in a constant “battle” of sorts to keep the perfect pH balance. The margins are low: if your pH level falls below 7.3 you have acidosis. If your pH level rises above 7.40 you have alkalosis.

Both acidosis and alkalosis are disastrous for you. That’s why your body will do everything in its capacity to keep your pH level between a narrow 7.35 and 7.40.

I say your body is in a battle because, for most of us, we are not giving our bodies what they need (nutrition) to keep those pH levels at the optimal level. 

Note that the optimal pH level mentioned above is slightly above a neutral state (which would be a value of 7). From this information, you can see that your body thrives in a slightly alkaline state.

And that’s the reason for all the hype around “going alkaline”.

So, What Does Alkaline Mean?

Alkaline refers to a pH level above 7.

Your body needs to keep its pH level between 7.35 and 7.40 to thrive (and survive).

When your body is in an alkaline state, your risk of disease and cellular damage decreases significantly

“The countless names of illnesses do not really matter. What does matter is that they all come from the same root cause… too much tissue acid waste in the body!” – Theodore A. Baroody, N.D., D.C., Ph.D.

How Do I Become Alkaline?

If you have read our other articles, you will know by now what we believe: optimal health begins with what you put into your body. Nutrition is the beginning of natural health.

Following a healthy diet, comprising mostly high alkaline foods, and avoiding processed foods will put you on the right track.

But before you run to the grocery store with your newfound knowledge, we need to talk about something else.

Many health experts will tell you to “just eat LOTS of fruits and vegetables”. While fruits and vegetables are better than processed foods, you still need to consider their sugar content when it comes to alkalizing your body.

What Makes Up “Alkaline Foods”?

"Well, that’s simple,” you might think, “I’ll just do a Google search for a list. How hard can it be?” 

Remember how disappointing those Google results can be? Do you know what’s worse than not getting the straight answer to a straight question? A wrong, misleading answer.

Here are the facts: while some foods may appear acidic from the outside, it doesn’t mean they will stay that way once your body metabolizes them. 

Lemons are a good example. It’s easy to think a lemon is an acid producing food because of how it tastes. But once it enters your body and your body utilizes it, it becomes alkaline.

Speaking of lemons, they bring about amazing health benefits. If you are considering helping your body in maintaining an optimal pH level, you can start by drinking a glass of warm lemon water each morning before doing anything else. Learn more about it here.

A simple rule of thumb is this: If it has a high concentration of sugar (including fructose) and a low concentration of minerals, it will cause your body to become more acidic. 

It stuns most people that only a handful of fruits are alkaline fruits. As mentioned above, this has to do with their high sugar content.

So, alkaline foods are low in sugar and high in minerals. Keep that in mind when you decide to eat more alkaline foods. Try to eat a little more plant-based foods like dark, leafy greens, green juice (without fruit), legumes, herbs and spices, and oils such as coconut oil and avocado oil. 

Want the ultimate alkaline/acid food chart? Head over to our article on alkaline fruits where we share a valuable resource from the Alkamind team.

Should I completely Cut Out Acidic Foods?

Not at all. Balance is the key. But balance doesn’t always translate into 50/50.

At the Metabole clinic we promote a 80/20 ratio to our patients. That’s 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods.

Why Do I Have to Eat Such A High Concentration of Alkaline Foods?

As mentioned above, when we talked about pH, your body thrives in a slightly alkaline state. And because you are what you eat, eating a high concentration of alkaline foods will help your body to keep you healthy.

Bacteria, viruses, and many diseases love an acidic state. It’s their breeding ground. So if you want to keep them away, you can do it by making the environment (your body) intolerable for them.

Final Thoughts

Understanding what alkaline means is, in a sense, knowing the difference between living an optimal, healthy life and living a self-destructive life.

Helping your body cope by ensuring it has what it needs to keep your pH balance perfect will benefit you tremendously.

  • It will help improve your immune system and protect you from diseases like cancer.
  • It will boost your ability to absorb vitamins and minerals and help fight magnesium deficiency.
  • It will lower inflammation in your body.
  • It will protect your bone density and muscle mass.
  • And it will even help you maintain a healthy weight.

Did this article answer your question of, “what does alkaline mean?” How has it helped you to think about your lifestyle choices when it comes to food? Do you have any other questions on this topic? We’d love to hear from you!

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