Boost Your Immune System Naturally
Alkalize your body
Boost your immune system through alkaline foods
An alkaline body is a stable and healthy body that can easily prevent diseases. One easy and effective way to alkalize your body is through foods.
9 Benefits of alkaline foods
balances your pH,
improves bone health,
reduces muscle wasting,
increases growth hormone,
improves cardiovascular health,
improves memory and cognition,
strengthens your immune system
and mitigates chronic diseases such as hypertension and strokes.
Life on earth depends on appropriate pH levels in and around living organisms and cells. Human life requires a tightly controlled pH level in the serum of about 7.4 (a slightly alkaline range of 7.35 to 7.45) to survive.
As a comparison, in the past 100 years with increasing industrialization, the pH of the ocean has dropped from 8.2 to 8.1 because of increasing CO2 deposition. Even the pH of the soil in which plants are grown can have considerable influence on the mineral content of the food we eat.
The ideal pH of soil for the best overall availability of essential nutrients is between 6 and 7. Acidic soils below pH of 6 may have reduced calcium and magnesium, and soil above pH 7 may result in chemically unavailable iron, manganese, copper, and zinc.
When it comes to the pH and net acid load in the human diet, there has been a considerable change from the hunter-gather civilization to the present. With the agricultural revolution (last 10,000 years) and even more recently with industrialization (last 200 years), there has been a decrease in potassium (K) compared to sodium (Na) and an increase in chloride compared to bicarbonate found in the diet.
The ratio of potassium to sodium has reversed, K/Na previously was 10 to 1 whereas the modern diet has a ratio of 1 to 3. It is generally accepted that agricultural humans today have a diet poor in magnesium and potassium as well as fiber and rich in saturated fat, simple sugars, sodium, and chloride as compared to the pre-agricultural period.
The pH in our body may vary considerably from one area to another with the highest acidity in the stomach (pH of 1.35 to 3.5) to aid in digestion and protect against opportunistic microbial organisms. But even in the stomach, the layer just outside the epithelium is quite alkalic to prevent mucosal injury.
The skin is quite acidic (pH 4–6.5) to provide an acid mantle as a protective barrier to the environment against microbial overgrowth. This is also seen in the vagina where a pH of less than 4.7 protects against microbial overgrowth.
The urine may have a variable pH from acid to alkaline, depending on the need for balancing the internal environment.
Foods can be categorized by the potential renal acid loads (PRALs).
Fruits, vegetables, fruit juices, potatoes, and alkali-rich and low phosphorus beverages (red and white wine, mineral soda waters) having a negative acid load.
Whereas, grain products, meats, dairy products, fish, and alkali-poor and low phosphorus beverages (e.g., pale beers, cocoa) have relatively high acid loads.
Potential renal acid load (PRAL) can be calculated according to Remer using the following formula
(0.49 x total protein intake) + (0.037 x phosphorus intake) – (0.021 x potassium intake) – (0.026 x magnesium intake) – (0.013 x calcium intake).
PRALs of Vegetables, Fruits & Fruit Juices
PRALs of Meat and Dairy Products
PRALs of Grains & Grain Products
PRALs of Beverages
Chronic Acidosis & Bone Disease
Calcium in the form of phosphates and carbonates represents a large reservoir of base in our body. In response to an acid load such as the modern diet, these salts are released into the systemic circulation to bring about pH homeostasis.
It has been estimated that the quantity of calcium lost in the urine with the modern diet over time could be as high as almost 480?gm over 20 years or almost half the skeletal mass of calcium.
Another element of the modern diet is the excess of sodium in the diet. There is evidence that in healthy humans the increased sodium in the diet can predict the degree of hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis when consuming a net acid-producing diet. As well, there is evidence that there are adverse effects of sodium chloride in the aging population.
A high sodium diet will exacerbate disuse-induced bone and muscle loss during immobilization by increasing bone resorption and protein wasting.
Excess dietary sodium has been shown to result in hypertension and osteoporosis in women.
As well, dietary potassium which is lacking in the modern diet would modulate pressor and hypercalciuric effects of excess sodium chloride.
Excess dietary protein with high acid renal load may decrease bone density if not buffered by the ingestion of supplements or foods that are alkali rich. However, adequate protein is necessary for the prevention of osteoporosis and sarcopenia; therefore, increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables may be necessary rather than reducing protein.
Alkaline Diets & Muscle
As we age, there is a loss of muscle mass, which may predispose to falls and fractures. A three-year study looking at a diet rich in potassium, such as fruits and vegetables, as well as a reduced acid load, resulted in preservation of muscle mass in older men and women.
Conditions such as chronic renal failure that result in chronic metabolic acidosis result in accelerated breakdown in skeletal muscle.
Correction of acidosis may preserve muscle mass in conditions where muscle wasting is common such as diabetic ketosis, trauma, sepsis, chronic obstructive lung disease, and renal failure.
In situations that result in acute acidosis, supplementing younger patients with sodium bicarbonate prior to exhaustive exercise resulted in significantly less acidosis in the blood than those that were not supplemented with sodium bicarbonate.
Alkaline Diet & Back Pain
There is some evidence that chronic low back pain improves with the supplementation of alkaline minerals. With supplementation, there was a slight but significant increase in blood pH and intracellular magnesium. Ensuring that there is enough intracellular magnesium allows for the proper function of enzyme systems and also allows for activation of vitamin D. This, in turn, has been shown to improve back pain.
Alkaline diets result in a more alkaline urine pH and may result in reduced calcium in the urine, however, as seen in some recent reports, this may not reflect total calcium balance because of other buffers such as phosphate. There is no substantial evidence that this improves bone health or protects from osteoporosis. However, alkaline diets may result in a number of health benefits as outlined below
Increased fruits and vegetables in an alkaline diet would improve the K/Na ratio and may benefit bone health, reduce muscle wasting, as well as mitigate other chronic diseases such as hypertension and strokes.
The resultant increase in growth hormone with an alkaline diet may improve many outcomes from cardiovascular health to memory and cognition.
An increase in intracellular magnesium, which is required for the function of many enzyme systems, is another added benefit of the alkaline diet. Available magnesium, which is required to activate vitamin D, would result in numerous added benefits in the vitamin D apocrine/exocrine systems.
Alkalinity may result in added benefit for some chemotherapeutic agents that require a higher pH.
From the evidence outlined above, it would be prudent to consider an alkaline diet to reduce morbidity and mortality of chronic disease that are plaguing our aging population.
One of the first considerations in an alkaline diet, which includes more fruits and vegetables, is to know what type of soil they were grown in since this may significantly influence the mineral content.
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Source: US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health