Replace “sour” sugars and starches with alkalizing vegetables! Surprisingly, watermelon, lemon and dark green bitter vegetables are the most alkaline. The most acidic are non-alcoholic sweet drinks, alcohol, coffee and sugar, says nutritionist Dr. Lindsey Duncan - one of the best expert nutritionists in the world. We offer an interview in which he explains the ins and outs of the acid-alkaline diet
Dr. Duncan, why did the acid-alkaline diet become popular in America?
- Yes, it is. At one point, this topic became popular among many American nutritionists. At the beginning of 1991, Teodora Baroudi's book "Alkalize or Die" was published. It was read by many specialists and ordinary people. This is how we learned about the benefits of alkalizing products. But this concept gained the most popularity in 2019 after the book "The Miracle of Acid-Alkaline Balance" written by Robert and Shelly Yang was released.
How can a person measure the pH level in his body?
- For this purpose, buy paper pH-strips (they are made of litmus paper). They are sold in a special color range. Using this color scale, you compare the color change of litmus paper to find out the level of acidity. That is, the matching color determines your pH. Checking your body's acidity level may be the first thing you do in the morning right after getting up. You can test saliva and urine before first going to the toilet or taking water and food.
Most often the acidity level of urine is lower than that of saliva. This is because urine fixes all the "acidic" waste that the body produces. Therefore, saliva testing is better, clearer and more accurate. It gives information about the chemistry of the whole body and the level of acidity accordingly. By the way, it is very interesting and useful to open a diary where you record the indicators, observing the changes that begin with the change of the menu. For example, I check my pH in the evening to see how sugar or dark green vegetables consumed during the day can affect acidity.
Why is it harmful for the body to have an excessively high level of acidity?
- The acidity level of a he althy organism should be within a narrow range.
If the balance is disturbed and the internal environment becomes too acidic, the body tries to correct this through internal processes: for example, by secreting more bicarbonate from the pancreas and excreting more carbon dioxide from the lungs. We provoke this defense system not only with acidic food, but also with drugs, various harmful substances and even with negative emotions, with stress.
Keep in mind that our body is initially more alkaline, so acidic waste can accumulate in the body in the form of s alts (edema and kidney disease), stones, crystals, bone spurs, etc. In addition, useful minerals that are washed from the bones contribute to the restoration of the alkali level and the creation of buffers for the acidic environment. For this reason, they become weaker and more fragile, i.e. unhe althy. And to top it all off, in an acidified body, a number of diseases, viruses and disease-causing microorganisms spread faster and simply thrive.
In what range should the acid-alkaline balance of a he althy organism be?
- The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14. The lowest end of the scale reflects the highest acidity. When it reaches 7, the pH factor is neutral. And higher numbers are correspondingly more alkaline. The he althy pH of saliva and blood lies between 7.35 - 7.45.
Which products are the most alkaline, if one may say so?
- Watermelon, lemons, dark green bitter vegetables like cabbage, Swiss chard (also called spinach or leafy beet), dandelion, etc. As well as many Asian products, such as seaweed, burdock roots, daikon (a type of turnip).
Fruits such as lemons, limes or oranges are alkaline products. It is hard to imagine that sour-tasting fruits can lower the pH in our body. Interestingly, acidic fruits such as lemon, lime or noni (a medicinal plant from Asia) themselves have neutral acidity
Yes, closer to the acidic spectrum, however, after absorption by the body, they have an alkalizing effect on the body.
Is there any general rule by which we can tell if the food in front of us is alkaline or acidic?
- Practically all vegetables and most fruits are neutral or alkaline products. The most acidic are non-alcoholic sweet drinks, alcohol, coffee and sugar.
How can we balance our diet if it is impossible to imagine our dinner without a steak or a glass of red wine?
- Very simple - make sure you combine these acid-forming foods with plenty of vegetables. Instead of bread and starchy side dishes, add dark green vegetables, cabbage or fresh salad to the meat. In general, increase the vegetables in your menu - it's always a good idea.
Explain the principle of acid-base digestion
- A he althy digestive system has an acidic region - a stomach with gastric juice that processes and digests food, releases enzymes to process proteins, and signals the release of bicarbonate of soda from the pancreas. The small intestine becomes alkaline thanks to the bicarbonate of soda released. The colon is he althy if its environment is more acidic. That is why lactic acid and polyunsaturated fatty acids help to form he althy microflora and good bacteria in this part of the digestive system.
Is there a relationship between acidity in the stomach, digestive juices and the overall pH of the body?
- Yes, stomach acid should protect or rather prevent the imbalance in the body in favor of alkali. Such an imbalance can occur with age, when less stomach acid is produced and the body becomes prone to indigestion, changes in immunity and the spread of infections.
In short, say a few sentences about the alkaline diet: does it help you lose weight or just balance the acid-alkaline balance?
- Alkaline products are very useful and are generally missing from the menu of overweight people. All they have to do is replace "sour" sugars and starches with alkalizing vegetables, and then they won't have to wait long to lose weight.
In America, for the production of bread and macaroni, spaghetti and other pastas, they use only flour ground to such an extent that no connective tissue remains. White flour and starch have very high acidity, so they should not be consumed if a person is trying to lose weight. If you don't want to give up bread, buy pasta and bread made from whole grain flour, which is high in connective tissue and nutrients. And, as with wine and steak, balance their acidity with more fresh green vegetables and other alkalizing foods.