An alkaline diet is designed to create an optimum balance between the amount of acid and alkaline in the body. This is also referred to as maintaining a healthy “pH balance”.
Many things we consume today - such as meat, wheat, dairy products, refined sugar, alcohol and processed foods - are high in acid-producing elements that force the body to work harder to maintain its equilibrium.
The body functions more effectively when the blood's pH level is slightly alkaline – with a pH reading of a little over 7. (The pH scale range is 1-14. Less than 7 is acidic, 7 is neutral and more than 7 is alkaline.)
What are the benefits of achieving the right alkaline balance?
By ensuring up to 80% of your diet is made up of alkaline-forming - or 'alkalising' - food and drink, you could lose weight, have more energy, clearer skin and an improved ability to fight disease.
Many followers of an alkaline diet also say they enjoy better moods, improved concentration and deeper sleep.
How do you build an alkaline diet plan?
The aim is to create a regime that has a ratio of 80/20 alkalising to non-alkalising.
This means you don’t have to completely ditch some of your favourite acid-forming foods.
However, you might have to break or significantly reduce some habits - for example, tobacco, coffee, tea and alcohol are very acid forming.
Lots of vegetables feature on the list of best alkaline foods, so start building your meals around tasty root and leaf vegetables, rather than focusing on the meat and starch.
What are the best alkaline foods?
Lots of vegetables! Broccoli, sprouts, kale, cauliflower, cabbage and radish, which are all “cruciferous” vegetables from the brassicaceae family of flowering plants, are highly alkalising.
So are carrots, beetroot, asparagus, cucumber, celery, watercress and spinach.
Also on the list are avocado, garlic and bell (capsicum) peppers.
For protein there's tofu, almonds and chestnuts.
And there are lots of fruits including mango, papaya, grapes, pineapple, bananas, berries, dates, watermelon, limes and lemons.
Surprised to see citrus fruits here? Some foods, like lemons and limes, are acidic but are alkaline forming once digested.
How can I plan my alkaline meals?
A breakfast smoothie packed with alkalising fruit and veg is an ideal way to start the day.
A delicious soup or colourful salad is an easy lunch option, then snack later on some nuts and dates.
For dinner there are many tasty options including stir-fried greens with tofu or almonds, or buckwheat pasta with peppers and broccoli.
Spirulina, an edible blue-green algae, should also play a key role in your alkaline diet plan.
As well as it’s high alkalinity levels, it boasts amino acids, iron, protein and antioxidants like beta-carotene.
In its powder form, you can add it to soups, sauces, puddings, pasta dough, ice cream and baking recipes.
Spirulina converts love to throw it into all their smoothies.
Start your alkaline diet now with our delicious Spirulina smoothie recipe.