Sometimes tiredness seems like just part of living as the world seems to get ever more busy. It’s common to hear ‘I’m tired’ as a description of someone’s day and often it’s often met with a nod of agreement. But we forget there is a difference between ‘common’ and ‘normal’. Just because tiredness is common, doesn’t mean it’s normal. Feeling tired when you wake up, or tired all the time, is a sign that your body is out of balance. This balance can be restored though changes to lifestyle and diet. Becoming sugar free is a popular and excellent way to do this. Making your diet more alkaline is another method that we highly recommend, especially if you are having trouble tackling sugar as it can be a more gradual process and makes it easier to go sugar free by reducing your cravings.
Alkalising is about balancing your body’s pH. If you remember back to science class, pH is measured on a scale of 0-14 to show how acidic or alkaline a substance is. The optimum pH for our bodies is 7.3, slightly on the alkaline side of the neutral pH of pure water at 7.0. Our bodies are constantly balancing this level eliminating excess acids produced in digestion though alkalising. This is aided by a variety of fresh, raw foods that contain minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium) that are naturally alkalising.
Acidic foods create inflammation in the body. This often leads to achy, sore muscles and joints. When a diet includes daily portions of refined grains (white bread, white rice and pasta); sugar or sweeteners; caffeine and alcohol it leads to an over acidic body. Combined with the daily stress most of us are feeling, this is a toxic combination for our bodies and minds. A diet like this is low in minerals, so acidic waste cannot be neutralised and is stored as fat, cholesterol and lactic acid. This slows down the metabolism and increases acid levels in the blood, resulting in weight gain and feelings of lethargy.
The best way to rebalance our digestive systems, bring our bodies’ pH level to it’s normal slightly alkaline level and increase energy levels is by adding lots of nutrient dense alkaline foods to our day. You can still have a treat now and then, but keep it to once a day and really savour it!
Whether a food has an acid or alkaline affect on the body can be determined by drying the food to ash and testing its pH. The following chart categories different foods based on this testing and is helpful for regulating food intake in this regard:
Alkalise With Greens!
So what are the best foods for alkalising? It's not such a surprise that the answer is dark green veggies. Who doesn’t think of green as healthy? Peas, green beans, broccoli, spinach and asparagus are all great alkalising veggies. If always being told to eat your greens has put you off, it might be time to try them with some new recipes or to try some greens that are new to you, perhaps arugula, bok choy, mustard greens, endive or chard, because if you don’t get your greens you are really missing out. Some foods are more alkalising than others, so we've made a list of our 7 favourite alkalising foods:
Be Well's TOP 7 ALKALINE FOODS
Find baby spinach ready to go at your supermarket or fully grown spinach cheap at the Wellington markets, both are easy to get, easy to use, amazingly alkaline and full of nutrition. As well as being a powerful alkaliser, spinach is rich in vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin c, vitamin b2, calcium, potassium, vitamin e, dietary fiber. Its dark green colour is a clue that it is also full of chlorophyll which assists in the building of red blood cells, improving their quality and quantity and thus increasing our energy.
Another lovely leafy green, kale has gained well deserved fame and popularity for its health benefits. This alkalising superstar is rich in antioxidants, vitamins A, B, c and K, and assists the body in detoxifying and lowering cholesterol. Like spinach, kale is easy to use in a range of meals and smoothies. So don’t be too cool for kale, try it!
When it comes to being cool, its hard to beat a cucumber. With 95% percent water content this alkaliser is a refreshing and hydrating food and provides a great base for alkaline smoothies, soups and juice. While drinking your cucumber smoothie you are also gaining a mountain of minerals including: copper, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus calcium, iron, selenium, manganese and zinc. Recent research has also found that cucumbers are also a source of the lignins: lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol which reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and several types of cancer. So add those cucumbers to your market trolley!
The benefits of broccoli make it an essential addition to diet. Full of soluble fiber, broccoli helps draw cholesterol out of the body. A cruciferous vegetable it possesses immune boosting properties and is powerful in inhibiting cancers. Broccoli is an all systems go vegetable, assisting the digestive system, immune system, cardiovascular system and the body’s metabolism and detoxification process. With high levels of calcium, chromium, folate and vitamins C and K, broccoli is nutritious and great for the bones. All these things are in addition to it being exceptionally alkaline, so it’s no wonder you should have broccoli at least 4 times a week. This is made easy by its versatility blend into juices, smoothies and soups, chop into salads or steam with other veggies. Avoid boiling as this can damage the enzymes and nutrients it contains and make it less alkaline. Stick to raw or steamed and you will get the best of its benefits.
Avocado should be on your list purely because of how delicious it is, a prefect creamy accompaniment to anything, but it’s also another great alkaliser! Use it as a healthy spread on a wholegrain sandwich, slice it into a salad, add to a smoothie or soup for a smooth consistency, and in all these cases you will also be adding to your health. Avocado is full of good fats and helps your body get rid of bad fats with its high content of oleic acid which promotes the making of antioxidants and slows the development of heart disease. The omega oils it contains speed up the metabolism and the other nutrients it contains provide anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and blood sugar benefits. Add an avocado to your plate now!
Like a cool cousin of cucumber, celery is also both alkaline and has high water content. It is excellent for juice and soup bases. Most people eat the stalks, but the leaves are also edible and beneficial so add them in too! Rich in vitamin C, celery assists with cardiovascular health and supports the immune system. It is also a source of sodium, potassium, phthalates (which lowers cholesterol) and coumarins (which inhibits several types of cancer). The later two which lower cholesterol and inhibit cancers.
Crunchy and sweet, capsicum is a delicious alkalising vegetable for adding to meals or just snacking on between them. When you want to munch on some chips, try capsicum sticks instead, they go great with humus and are much more refreshing and healthy then the those slices of salty fried potato. Capsicum is packed full of antioxidants including a range of flavonoids, carotenoids and hydroxycinnamic acids. Carotenoids are highly researched for their range of health benefits including their support of eye health, the cardiovascular system, skin health and more. With over 30 different types of carotenoids capsicum is the best source for this family of nutrients. Vitamin wise it brings to the table vitamins C, A and E. So crunch away on some capsicum!
To really rebalance your system Sarena recommends following a Low- Inflammatory Diet for 6 weeks, and then maintaining your alkalising food intake after that.
6 Week Low- Inflammatory Diet
For some refreshing ideas on how to get more alkaline foods into your diet, head to our facebook page where we will be posting some delicious recipes for green smoothies!