10 Alkaline Foods You Should Eat to Improve Your Health

The human body is an extremely intricate piece of machinery. In order for it to function properly, it needs to keep chemical levels at a near-perfect balance. This is called homeostasis, and is a critical aspect of all living organisms. If pH levels get too low, acidosis can occur. Mild acidosis can result in fatigue, nausea and vomiting, while more severe cases can cause headaches, drowsiness and if left untreated, it can cause stupor, coma, and can be fatal.

When an environment is acidic for a long time, normal cell structures and functions are damaged. The only exception to this is the stomach, which is acidic in order to properly breakdown and digest the foods we eat. The body can become acidic through lifestyle choices like an unbalanced diet, but the good news is that, if this is happening to you, there are steps you can take to fix it.

Here are 10 alkalizing foods that can improve your health.

Lemons are a citrus fruit, and even though you may think this would make them purely acidic, they are actually both acidic and alkalizing. Outside of the body, lemon juice has a pH level below 7. This makes it acidic. However, when lemon juice has been fully metabolized inside the body, it raises the pH levels above 7, which has an alkalizing effect.

1. Lemons

Fresh lemon juice has antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It’s high in vitamin C, and contains vitamins E and B6, as well as lots of folate, potassium, thiamin and pantothenic acid. And as it contains zero sodium and fats, it’s a perfect addition to your diet. Lemon juice not only raises the alkaline levels in your body, it also helps decrease cholesterol, reduce congestion, boosts immunity, increases metabolism, fights aging signs, supports a healthy colon and digestive system, and helps flush out all the toxins that can build up in our body.

Every morning, squeeze half a lemon into a tall glass of warm water and drink on an empty stomach. Not only is it a great way to break the overnight fast and kick-start your metabolism, it also replenishes water and naturally flushes out the toxins that can build up while we sleep. Making this a daily ritual will result in clearer, healthier skin, more energy and an overall feeling of wellness.

If you suffer from strong acid reflux or mouth ulcers, lemon juice may cause irritation or burning sensations and as such, it’s recommended to begin with a smaller amount of lemon juice, slowly increasing how much you drink.

2. Spinach

Spinach is one of the most nutritious vegetables you can find. It’s full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, which act as powerful antioxidants. Spinach is extremely high in vitamin K, with one cup containing 987 percent of the recommended daily intake, and it contains vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, E, and C, potassium, calcium, fiber, phosphorus, zinc, protein, omega-3 fats and so much more.

Spinach contains high concentrations of phytochemicals like carotenoids, saponins and flavanoids, which are found almost entirely in plant-based sources and, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, also have properties that enable them to help fight cancer. Spinach is rich in chlorophyll, which is highly alkaline and holds hugely beneficial properties like aiding in blood clotting, wound healing, balancing hormones and promoting digestive health, as well as deodorizing and detoxifying the body.

Spinach might be one of the only vegetables where it becomes more nutritious once it’s cooked. Boiling or steaming spinach helps break down the large levels of oxalic acid (a compound that can promote kidney stone formation) which makes it easier to absorb. 

One cup of cooked spinach contains 36 percent of your daily recommended intake of iron, which can help maintain brain, metabolic and immune function.

Spinach is a delicious addition to salads, sandwiches, as a side dish with dinner, or even blended up into your smoothies. Choose fresh spinach that is vibrant and dark green with no signs of yellowing. If the leaves look wilted or soggy, or if they have a slimy coating, don’t eat it, as this can be a sign of beginning decay.

3. Avocados

There are over 500 different varieties of avocado grown all over the world. Native to Central and South America, the avocado is the fruit of a tree called Persea Americana, and it has become one of the most popular fruits around. Common varieties of avocado are Hass, Fuerte, Maluma, Reed and more. Avocados are a member of the berry family, and like berries they hold a wealth of benefits.

Avocados are loved for their delicious flavor and high nutrient levels. They’re often referred to as a superfood, with one avocado containing 20 different vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamins K, C, B5, B6 and E, as well as folate, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. Avocados are one of the only fruits that contain monounsaturated fat, and research has shown there’s evidence that including this type of fat in your diet can lessen the risk of coronary heart disease.

Avocados have no sodium or cholesterol, and they contain more potassium than bananas, which supports healthy blood pressure levels. Research on high potassium intake has linked it to a reduction in blood pressure for those suffering from hypertension, and also a 24 percent lower risk of stroke. Combine this with antioxidants like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein and selenium, and you’ve got a powerful, alkalizing superfood.

They are an easy addition to any diet, as they go with just about anything. A perfect ingredient for salads, on pizza, in pasta dishes and smoothies, or even as a dairy substitute in vegan alternatives like mayonnaise, ice cream and chocolate.

4. Kale

Kale was one of the lesser known greens up until a few years ago, when its countless health benefits propelled it well and truly into the limelight. Since then, it’s become a hugely popular source of nutrients. Kale is a member of the cabbage family, and is related to cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. There are different types of kale, like curly kale, Lacianto kale, Red Russian kale and Redbor kale, but they’re all packed with at least 45 antioxidant flavonoids and very little calories.

Kale is a great source of fiber to aid digestion functions and intestinal cleansing, and it contains more iron than beef, which promotes proper liver function. High in vitamin A and vitamin C, kale helps protect your vision and skin, and supports immune system, metabolism and hydration. One cup of kale contains 684 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K, which is an extremely important vitamin that plays a critical role in protecting the heart and building strong bones.

Kale contains at least four glucosinolates, which, when ingested, are turned into compounds called isothiocyanates that have been linked to reducing risk of colon, bladder, breast, lung, ovarian and prostate cancers. 

Kale is also very high in alkaline-forming minerals such as calcium and magnesium, and it’s a rich source of chlorophyll.

You can enjoy kale in many different ways. It can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted, boiled, put on burgers, mixed in with salads or thrown into soup. You can even make kale chips. Including kale in your regular diet will benefit your whole body, inside and out.

5. Celery

Celery is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean, and wild celery can also be found across Europe and Asia. The word celery is thought to have come from the French word ‘celeri’ which in turn was derived from an ancient Greek word, and it was first used purely for medicinal purposes.

Celery is one of the underappreciated vegetables, thought of as only a low-calorie vegetable with no other benefits, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sure, celery contains only 16 calories to each 100 grams, but it’s loaded with lots of healthy phytonutrients like vitamin K, folate, potassium, calcium, fiber and more.

Celery has anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to protect the digestive tract from inflammation. Celery contains a lot of phenolic nutrients that act as antioxidants and protect us against unwanted free radical damage to our cells, blood vessels and organs. 

Celery regulates alkaline balance, and can also calm you down as it is a great source of magnesium, which soothes the nervous system. Eating it before bed may even help you sleep better.

Celery goes with many other dishes. Chop it up and add it to your favorite tuna or chicken recipe, use it in stews, salads and stir fry, or simply eat it raw, and dip it in some organic hummus for flavor.

6. Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians, who used it as a source of health and vitality more than 5,000 years ago. Wheatgrass was first introduced commercially in 1937 in a blend called Cerophyl.

Wheatgrass is a liquid nutrient and a huge source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids as well as vitamin C, vitamin A, and the full range of B vitamins. Wheatgrass contains many therapeutic minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and phytonutrients, and it also acts as a detoxifier, especially in the liver and blood.

Wheatgrass is an effective alkalizer because it helps neutralize toxins and other environmental pollutants that can harm the body, and it’s one of the best sources of fresh chlorophyll available, containing up to 70 percent.

You can buy powdered wheatgrass, but it’s best to consume as fresh and undiluted as possible. Take on an empty stomach in order for the nutrients to be properly absorbed. Wheatgrass can cause a number of uncomfortable side effects like headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and allergic reactions. These can occur if you consume too much in a brief period of time, because the body can’t digest it quick enough. The best way to add wheatgrass into your diet is by starting small and increasing the dose of wheatgrass little by little as your body gets used to it.

7. Cucumbers

Cucumber is a member of the gourd family Cucurbitaceae that first appeared in ancient India over 4000 years ago, and quickly spread through ancient Greece, Rome, Europe, China and the rest of the world. They were used both as a food source and for medicinal remedies, treating everything from bad eyesight to scorpion bites. Scientifically known as Cucumis sativus, cucumbers belong to the same family as melons and squashes.

There are three main types of cucumber: slicing, pickling and burpless. All types are full of antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory compounds called cucurbitacins, lignans and flavonoids, which have been the subject of many active studies aiming to determine the extent of their cancer-fighting properties.

Fresh cucumber has been known to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes. Cucumbers are highly alkaline, made up of almost 95 percent water and are full of vitamins and minerals, found mostly in the skin. They’re naturally low in calories, carbohydrates, sodium, fats and cholesterol, and the seeds contain a healthy amount of calcium and other minerals.

Cucumbers are a wonderfully healthy addition to smoothies and juices, and are a good base to use as a soup, or in salad. You can enjoy them cooked or raw, but the peel and the seeds are the most nutrient-rich, so ensure you eat the whole thing.

8. Broccoli

Broccoli is a form of cabbage from the Brassicaceae, or mustard, family. Native to Italy, it has been a popular vegetable since the Roman Empire and is available all year round. It’s likely that broccoli began as a wild cabbage, and through careful selective planting and agricultural practices it became broccoli as we know it today.

Because it’s a cruciferous vegetable, broccoli is full of phytonutrients that help support immune function and provide antioxidant support. It’s rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, copper, folate, fiber, potassium, manganese, and much more. Broccoli is also one of the world’s highest food sources of a mineral called chromium, which helps balance blood sugar levels.

Broccoli is one of the best alkaline vegetables. Packed full of soluble fiber that helps draw cholesterol out of the body, it contains significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which help fight inflammation and reduce allergic reactions. Broccoli holds lots of calcium, which makes it ideal for strong bones and osteoporosis prevention.

Broccoli also contains those all-important cancer-fighting compounds, glucosinolates. In order to keep these and all the other vital nutrients when cooking broccoli, it’s best to quick steam them for five minutes. This keeps the enzymes whole and enables you to get the most out of them.

9. Garlic

It’s believed that garlic was one of the earliest plants used for disease prevention and health maintenance, and has been found in both Egyptian pyramids and ancient Greek temples. 

Many different cultures have used garlic for its medicinal and health benefits for centuries, and it’s been known by various names including Russian penicillin, vegetable Viagra and natural antibiotic.

Garlic is native to Middle Asia, but is cultivated all over the world. It’s been used as a curative remedy for typhus, dysentery, cholera and influenza, and modern studies have begun to prove the varying ways in which garlic can be beneficial to our health. Garlic contains sulfur compounds like allicin, which is what gives it that distinctive smell, and it’s this compound that makes garlic an effective antibiotic, antibacterial, antifungal and alkalizer.

Garlic is an effective remedy for nausea and colds, and it can reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and help detoxify the body. It’s packed full of manganese, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium and fiber, as well as calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus and iron.

While the taste can be quite strong, garlic is a great garnish for many dishes. The best way to receive all the nutritional benefits of garlic is to eat it raw, and even though this may sound unappealing, you can simply crush it and spread it on toast with a drizzling of olive oil to make your own garlic bread as a quick and delicious way to start introducing alkaline foods into your diet.

10. Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are fruits from flowering plants of the nightshade family. Technically called Capsicum annuum, they’re related to chili peppers and tomatoes and are native to Central and South America. There are various colors like green, red, yellow and orange, and they can range from spicy to mild and sweet.

Fresh bell peppers consist of up to 92 percent water, as well as protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. Their benefits come from the huge amounts of vitamins and minerals contained within. They’re exceptionally rich in vitamin C, with one medium-sized pepper containing 169 percent of your daily recommended intake. Bell peppers also contain vitamin B6, vitamin E, folate, potassium, and vitamin A.

They’re also full of various antioxidants like capsanthin, which is found in abundance in red bell peppers and is responsible for their bright red color. Studies have indicated that capsanthin has anti-tumour properties, and increasing your intake of capsanthin-rich foods like red bell peppers can improve your health. Bell peppers also contain the antioxidants violaxanthin, lutein, quercetin and luteolin, which are all hugely beneficial polyphenols that act as effective antioxidants.

What we eat has the potential to alter our pH levels. Signs of an overly-acidic diet include weight gain, aching bones, painful joints, acid reflux, heartburn, poor digestion, fatigue, receding gums and skin problems. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and you’re unsure why, visit your doctor or physician to discuss the options of an alkaline diet plan in order to begin rebalancing your pH levels.

If you’re focusing on alkaline-forming foods, bell peppers are a great place to start. They can be roasted, grilled, steamed, pan-friend, stuffed with mushrooms, eaten in salads, on sandwiches, dipped in condiments, or simply eaten raw.

When eaten regularly, bell peppers help reduce anxiety, boost immunity, lower hypertension, support eyesight, fight stress and increase the body’s metabolic rate. They also help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, inflammation and more.

Try to eat 3 to 4 servings of bell peppers per week. One serving is equal to 1 cup of chopped, raw peppers or 2 small peppers. You can include bell peppers in your diet in raw, baked, roasted, grilled, cooked or stuffed form.

Additional Tips:

Some other alkalizing foods and beverages you can incorporate into your diet include mustard greens, figs, ginseng, apple cider vinegar, almonds, pumpkin seeds, carrots, beets, turnips, horseradish, capsicum, ripe bananas, watermelon, legumes and beans.

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