What is the Alkaline Diet?

Plant Based Alkaline Salad

What is the Alkaline Diet?

The new buzz work among my clients for nutrition is the Alkaline diet. To me it seemed so similar to an anti inflammatory diet. Let’s find out more about how this diet works.

I don’t know any diets that say go out and eat as much packaged food as possible with heaps of red meat and grains. When we break any diet down for better health and weight loss, we usually find the same formula repeated time and time again, but with each diet and research we can have a better understanding of how the body processes food and nutrients. If we choose to eat as much organic fresh fruit, vegetables and good quality plant based fats and proteins with less hormones, byproducts, processing with the best farming and transport practices, we will be healthier and have the ability to live life to the fullest with greater athletic performance and vitality. A good diet for health and nutrition is a good diet for athletic performance.

pH value in foods

Acidic: Meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, grains and alcohol. pH Level 0-7

Neutral: Natural fats, starches, and sugars. pH Level 7

Alkaline: Fruits, nuts, legumes and vegetables. pH 7-14

The alkaline diet is a diet free of processed foods, grains, low in sugar, free of heavy red meat, land animals meat, fish and high in good fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, healthy fats and nuts.

Eating fruits and vegetables that are high in alkaline nutrients like magnesiums, potassium and calcium are also beneficial to our body and will lover our urine pH level.

This is also making sure you are getting the right electrolyte balance in your body too, helping us to look after our heart and muscles health and increase our hydration all while providing the right nutrients for our body. As an athlete is a win, win all round for our muscles and our kidneys. We will have less muscle soreness, be more hydrated and put less stress on our kidneys. This is so important when our organs are being pushed to their limits while racing and training.

The alkaline diet also suggests that we source proteins from vegetarian options, like eating more green beans, beans and legumes or be careful with our food combinations like adding lemon or lime, leafy greens to acidic food like meat, fish and poultry to help neutralise the acids in our body. Adding more leafy greens is better for our body any way and is proven to increase everyday vitality and prevent cancers.

Hang on, we all know lefty greens are alkalising but isn’t lemons acidic?

Lemons, Limes and citrus fruits when enter the body are acidic however when processed in the kidneys with produce an alkaline byproducts in the urine. The pH reading is a good indicator of food acidity level digestion but  the body metabolises foods and changes their acidity in the kidneys. All foods are given another score called a PRAL (potential renal acid load). The higher the score the more acidic it becomes after processing in the kidneys. Foods high in proteins, phosphorus and sulphur are given a positive PRAL score, which is meat and grains. Foods containing potassium, calcium and magnesium are given a negative PRAL score. Lemons are given a score of-2.5. Yes, you guessed it leafy greens are again at the top of the list for the negative PRAL score meaning they are the most healthy for you.

You can alter your pH level in your urine easily but not as readily in your blood as the body needs to be in a neutral pH level of 7.35-7.45 for healthy cell life, regeneration and development. If your blood pH level does change outside of this range then this is called metabolic acidosis or metabolic alkalosis when is extremely dangerous and can be life threatening if left untreated. Lucky, our kidneys do an excellent job at filtering out the excess acids in our body through our urine, hence the reason why the urine can become more acidic a few hours after eating a large meat meal. While your urine will change pH level, the pH level of your blood will remain neutral and consistent.

When we metabolise food an extra ash is produced in the waste that can be acidic. When we burn proteins, this process leaves and acidic ash as a byproduct. If you eat foods which produce an alkaline ash when metabolised then your body will become more alkaline, less inflamed and suffer from less muscle soreness when exercising. As athlete we also produce lactic acid when exercising thus creating a more acid environment in our body. Thus if we eat a alkaline diet we will help provide a buffer for this acid thus be able to perform at a higher intensity for longer.

A great practical tip to food preparation is to always add leafy greens to our meat including fish with lime or lemon juice. This will help uptake the nutritionist from the food as the vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in lemon and lime will help neutralise the acids once processed in the kidneys. So having bowls of leafy greens with your proteins will help with this uptake of alkaline but also provide the iron, b vitamins, calcium, magnesium, potassium and high in antioxidants that you need to be healthy. I say to my clients to use spinach, coriander or basil as your bowl filler instead of pasta.

If we look at recipes over time it usually always places an alkaline food with an ascorbic acid with a protein and a healthy fat. We’ve been doing this naturally for centuries. The real science and understanding of why we do it is becoming more wildly understood and really put into practice with the benefits to athletic performance in mind and also understanding the realisation that eating this way will reduce our risk of cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis and other diseases in the future. If your body is not fighting inflammation then it will uptake nutrients much faster and with less energy wastage into your system allowing you to refuel, repair and recovery faster.

Another performance tip is a teaspoon of Bicarb Soda in 500ml water drunk 30 minutes before exercise will help provide a lactic acid buffer to our muscles helping to increase our lactic acid threshold thus your athletic performance. I also suggest drinking natural mineral water with bicarbonate and calcium, magnesium and potassium while exercising will also help improve your athletic performance. Look for Italian mineral waters. Note avoid the mineral waters with Sulphur or sulphates in them.

Here is a list of foods and their PRAL Score Remember a Negative Score is an Alkaline Food. Positive Score Acidic Food and Fats are Neutral.

Parsley Dried -108

Parsley Raw-11.12

Coriander Dried Leaf -99.4

Basil Dried  -85

Beetroot Greens -16.7

Basil Raw -10.01

Dill Dried- 75

Seaweed Dried Agar -46.3

Rosemary -16.4

Green Beans -16.7

Lemon Grass (Citronella) -12.9

Spinach -11.8

Kale Raw -8.3

Ginger -7.9

Sweet Potato -5.6

Carrots -5.7

Beetroot Raw -5.4

Pumpkin Raw -5.6

Peppers -5.3

Cabbage -5.0

Celery -5.0

Seaweed Kelp -4.8

Mushrooms Portabella 4.5

Tomatoes -4.1

Cauliflower -4.1

Zucchini -4.1

Potatoes -4.0

Garlic -2.6

Cucumber -2.1

Rasins -21

Figs Raw -4.9

Figs (Dried) -18.1

Plums (Prunes) -13.4

Avocados -8.2

Bananas -6.9

Kiwi Fruit -6.12

Guava -5.6

Oranges -3.6

Mangos -3.0

Lemons -2.3

Lime -2.1

Blueberries -1.0

Beans White -23.2

Lima Beans -18.3

Kidney Beans -8.4

Navy Beans -5.3

Tofu -12.3

Lentils 5.4

Buckwheat Flour -0.5

Quinoa -0.2

Rice 7.5

Sunflower Seeds 12.1

Almonds 2.3

Brazil Nuts 8.1

Cashew 8.9

Pumpkin Seeds -14.3

Pinenuts -8.7

Coconut Water -5.1

Hazelnuts -1.9

Macadamia -1.4

Fish Oil 0

Sunflower Oil 0

Olive Oil 0

Pecans 2.1

Flaxseed 2.1

Pistachio 2.2

Granola Bar 4.7

Walnuts 5.6

Herring 7.0

Red Meat 7.8

Salmon 9.4

Tuna 12.7

Ground Beef 12.5

Chicken 8.7

Eggs Whole 8.2

Egg White 1.1

Egg Yoke 23.3

Parmesan Cheese 34.2

Duck 4.1

Pork 12.4

Sardines 13.5

Mussels 15.3

Prawn 15.5

Tiger Prawn 18.2

Shrimps 7.6

Sole 7.4

Chocolate, Milk 2.4

Bitter Chocolate 0.4

White Sugar -0.1

Brown Sugar -1.2

Honey -0.3

Expresso -2.3

Leavening agents 270

Puddings all flavours except chocolate 85.3

Gelatine Deserts 74.5

Swiss Cheese 74.5

The Above PRAL Measurements Data bases on upon the USDA Data base (rev. 18). 2006

Top 10 Alkaline Diet Tips

  1. It is recommended that 80% of our diet is made up of Alkaline Foods.
  2. Essential Fatty Acids and Amino Acids are important for healthy body and brain function to prevent dementia. You can source Essential Fatty Acids from vegan and non vegan sources. Get educated on essential fatty acids and amino acids.
  3. Eating a diet that is smart and full of all the good healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, and all the nutrients that are needed to support healthy cell life and muscle regeneration. They also have a great anti-inflammatory effect.
  4. Avoid grains, dairy and meat in your diet and add in fresh fruit and vegetables whenever you can.
  5. If you can be vegan then fantastic, if you like meat, then look for wild caught small fish as they are low in poisonous heavy metals and  high in omega 3’s like Herrings. Always have your fish with lemon or lime and a lovely bowl of leafy greens and avocados and loads of vegetables.
  6. Always combine your lefty greens with a lemon, lime with your proteins and you will absorbed and process your food in the best possible way to help improve your long term quality of life.
  7. If you are vegan always have your salads combined with Beans with Nuts and seeds, Tofu with Quinoa, Legumes and Buckwheat to ensure you have the building blocks for a complete amino acid profile if you are avoiding acidic grains.
  8. Be smart about your food combinations, remember it is all about balance.
  9. Follow a mainly plant based diet.
  10.  Ensure your salads are full of as much colour as possible to ensure you are getting as many nutrients from your vegetables as possible.
Plant Based Alkaline Salad

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