Having an alkaline environment in the body helps smooth functioning of the various systems keeping diseases at bay.
According to ayurveda, alkaline environment pacifies all the doshas.
Satvik food, pranayam, proper hydration, correct meal timings help the body to maintain that acid-alkali balance
Alkaline foods - fresh salads, seasonal fruits, citrus, super foods, dairy, mineral water, herbal tea.
Acidic foods - meat and poultry, canned, processed and ready to eat products, fried foods produce an acid environment.
Litmus test - A simple home test of urine/saliva helps to determine whether your body is acidic or alkaline.
Alkaline diet is the basis of health and longevity. We are today exposed to multiple stressors, making our bodies more acidic than it has ever been before → increased stress, polluted air and water, food with chemicals and preservatives, packaged food depleted of natural antioxidants, etc.
Body has a natural mechanism to stay alkaline but once the buffer of alkaline ions are depleted from the body it starts to leach calcium out of soft tissues to make blood alkaline. It further depletes magnesium which leads to heart disease and muscles, joints and calf pains. Acid alkali balance is at the root of almost all physical diseases.
Importance of Alkaline
- One needs to maintain alkaline body (PH value between 7.35 – 7.45) for proper functioning of body’s processes.
- Important for strength and immunity, e.g. cancer cells thrive in the acidic environment.
- An acidic diet aggravates vata and pitta. Alkaline foods pacify all the three doshas
- All alkaline foods are light in digestion and their effect is soothing or cooling on the body.
- Alkaline diets lead to healthier skin. Premature wrinkles, lines, freckles and dryness are the signs of an acidic body.
What supports Alkaline Environment
- All meats, intoxicants, condiments, processed and canned foods are very acidic while all herbs, spices and most vegetables are alkaline.
- A diet made up of 80% fresh vegetable and juices, whole grains, legumes, millets, seeds, nuts and fruits. 20% from cooked foods & beans will help put the body into an alkaline environment.
- Super foods like lime, apple cider vinegar, onion, ginger, garlic, turmeric, cold pressed virgin coconut oil, moringa leaves are highly alkaline
- Eating raw vegetables is also beneficial. Include vegetable juices as it helps in providing live enzymes to build healthy cells.
- Reducing or avoiding meat intake, use fish and lean chicken if you have to. Cutting down on red meats like beef and pork, since the proteins there are harder to digest and slow down toxin elimination.
- Avoid drinks loaded with caffeine like black/milk tea, coffee, chocolate, etc. Switch over to green or herbal or chamomile tea.
- Reheating of the food (e.g in a microwave) can make the food acidic in nature.
- Giving proper gap between meals, recommended 3.5 to 4 hours or at least till the previously eaten meal has been digested. Eating slowly, properly chewing the food helps keep it alkaline.
- Taking optimal water intake, minimum 5-6 glasses of water a day. Water can be made alkaline with lime and cucumber or other herbal infusions.
The sage physicians of Ayurveda didn't call acidity and alkalinity pH, they called it vipaka (the effect of the food -- final stages of digestion). Ayurveda greatly emphasises the consumption of alkaline food; according to it, madhura or kshara vipaka (alkaline effect) bestows the finest health on a person.
- Ayurveda considers all dairy products generated from cow’s milk (Indian A2 cow) to be alkaline.
- Avocados and coconuts are very alkaline, as are rock salt, sprouted beans and vegetables like spinach, cucumber and broccoli.
- All citrus fruits are acidic before ingestion but the act alkaline on the body during and after ingestion
- Indian gooseberry (amlaki or amla) is a very alkaline food. It pacifies vata, pitta and kapha. It is sour but leaves a sweet, honey like aftertaste.
Simple tests to find whether our body is acidic or alkaline
There are few simple ways to test whether your body is acidic or alkaline. These tests are done using a pH strip and at the comfort of your home.
The pH strips are easily available at any pharmacy store. Urine and saliva samples are used to check whether your body is acidic or alkaline in nature.
- Urine sample - taking the urine sample first thing in the morning as soon as you wake up provides a good result. Just dip the litmus paper into it and observe the colour change. Compare the colour change with the colour scale provided with the litmus paper.
- Saliva - Again collecting the freshly produced saliva in the morning before brushing/eating or drinking anything gives a pretty accurate result.
How to read the result
If creating an alkaline environment can keep the diseases away then the simple lifestyle changes given above can be incorporated easily. It makes more sense to prevent the diseases rather than treating them. Prevention is better than cure!