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9 Crucial Alkaline Foods That Should Be in Your Everyday Diet

  Alkaline foods are those we include in our diet in order to maintain the body pH level. Most people are now seeing the importance of… Denis Courtney - July 31, 2016

 

Alkaline foods are those we include in our diet in order to maintain the body pH level. Most people are now seeing the importance of having alkaline foods in their diets for weight loss and prevention of diseases. A balanced body pH level (around 7, which is slightly alkaline) is important as it improves the body’s general well-being. Keeping that balance highly depends on the foods you eat. A diet with about 70-80% alkaline foods, such as vegetables, most fruits, and herbs, improves the body’s alkaline levels for balance and health.

The pH level in the body fluids is determined by the mineral density contained in the food we eat. By pH, we refer to the potential of hydrogen we consume. This is that measure of acidity or alkalinity contained in all products we take in our diet. As we know acidity and alkalinity are measured based on a scale ranging from 0 to 14 and 7 happens to be the midpoint. This is why you should strive to keep the alkalinity of your body fluids at the level of 7. Too much acidity can cause acidosis due to electrolyte imbalances. It can cause other conditions such as plaque formation in blood vessels, kidney stones, faster aging process, gradual loss of organ functions, and degeneration of tissue and bone mass. This is because too much acidity in the body system forces the body organs to rob minerals from bones, cells, organs and tissues hence leading to disease generation in the long run.

An adequate intake of minerals is highly recommended for body maintenance and development of bone structures. The higher the mineral intake the more the defensive mechanism the body accumulates against diseases. A good alkaline diet aids in the production of growth hormones hence promotes healthy production of new and strong cells thus maintaining high immunity. Mineral intake plays an important role in the development of bone structure.an alkaline diet ensures that there is balance in mineral ratios for building bones and maintaining lean muscles. Alkaline foods also enable the maintenance of a healthy weight, they improve the immune function, they boost vitamin absorption and prevent magnesium deficiency. Below are some of the foods you should have in your diet to balance your body’s pH level, and their benefits to your body.

 

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1. Avocado

Avocados are some of the most naturally nutrient-dense foods in the world, as they contain about 20 vitamins and minerals. They are considered the best fruit source of vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant that is important for immune enhancement, and protection against diseases such as coronary heart disease, cancer and cognitive decline. Avocados also contain very healthy fats that boost your immune system and enhances your body’s absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. They contain oleic acid that lowers LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol and increases HDL (‘good’) cholesterol. Avocados contain lots of fiber (and are very low in carbs), which increases the ‘full’ feeling after a meal, and helps a person feel full longer, hence they are recommended for weight loss regimens. Lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that are important for eye health, are found in avocados.

These fruits are very nutritious and when added to other foods they increase the mineral content intake. They help in a faster absorption of fat-soluble nutrients in 5the body. Their low fat content and high fiber availability make it suitable to be incorporated in the diet of type 2 diabetes hence assisting in weight management. Avocados also contain potassium which is among the key minerals needed for bone formation. The more the intake the better the development in bone structures hence no deficiency from the body system. Consumption of avocados reduces the risk of suffering from chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. This is why health specialists recommend it in many diets due to their mono and polyunsaturated fat content. They are a great substitute for foods rich in saturated fat or added sugars.

You can incorporate avocados into your diet by using them in guacamoles and dips, adding them into salads, blending them into soups, or eating them as you would a normal fruit. Avocados are a great bread spread, and can also be used in sandwiches. They are a great butter substitute when baking. When choosing avocados, ripe ones should feel slightly soft.

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2. Spinach

 

The chlorophyll that gives spinach its green color is responsible for its alkaline properties. Having spinach in your food has a wide range of benefits. Just like the avocado, it is a naturally nutrient-dense food that is very high in vitamins and minerals, and low in calories. Spinach is a great source of vitamin K, that improves calcium absorption hence maintaining bone strength and density. Spinach has high levels of chlorophyll and carotene, which have anti-cancerous properties. It has very high iron content (one of the highest among green leafy vegetables), that helps strengthen body cells, especially brain and respiratory system ones, and is required for the production of red blood cells.

Consumption of spinach improves blood glucose control in diabetes. This in return ensures that it lowers the risk in cancer development and blood pressure. The high alkaline content in it regulates body fluids from acidity. Spinach contains an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid which lowers glucose level and increases insulin sensitivity. This reduces oxidative stress induced changes in patients with diabetes. Due to its high level of potassium content, its consumption is of great importance to patients with blood pressure. It negates the effects of sodium hence maintaining a favorable alkaline pH. Spinach is one of the best sources of magnesium when added in one’s diet. Magnesium is necessary for energy metabolism, maintaining muscle and nerve functioning, heart rhythm and a healthy immune system. It is leafy and comes in handy for those with digestive disorders and alcoholism who are suffering from magnesium deficiency.

Spinach can be eaten raw, lightly cooked for a short period (long periods of cooking significantly lower it is antioxidant properties) and eaten on its own, blended into a very nutritious spinach smoothie, or added to soups. You can also make a spinach dip, or add it raw to your sandwich, burger, and salad. Choose spinach that is crisp and has a dark-green color, and avoid the pale ones or those with yellow

 

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3. Broccoli

This vegetable contains so many super-nutrients that support your body’s health. Broccoli has large quantities of Vitamins A and K that keep the body’s Vitamin D metabolism in balance. Broccoli has anti-inflammatory benefits, as it contains a flavonoid called kaempferol, that reduces the impact of allergens on our bodies. Folate, a vitamin found in broccoli, decreases the risk of cancers such as breast, cervical, colon and stomach cancers. A single cup of broccoli contains 92 mg of vitamin K, which improves calcium absorption, hence improving bone health. The natural fiber in broccoli aids in digestion helps prevent constipation and maintains low blood sugar. Broccoli is a powerful antioxidant, having the highest concentration of vitamin C among the cruciferous vegetables (such as cauliflower and Brussels sprouts), and has the necessary flavonoids for effective recycling of vitamin C. The vitamin C builds collagen, which in return form body tissues and bones and helps cuts and wounds heal faster.

Broccoli has high fiber nutrient. The adequate fiber produced promotes digestive body health hence lowering body cholesterol. It also has potassium which is basically a mineral and electrolyte that boosts the functioning of nerves and heart contraction. It negates sodium content in body electrolytes maintaining the required body fluid alkalinity. Additionally, folate is another mineral found in broccoli that is essential for the production and maintenance of new cells in the body. It is best consumed raw because cooking destroys some of its nutritious antioxidants. It contains high amounts of vitamin C almost twice as much as that in oranges, more calcium than that found in whole milk and it has antiviral properties due to its selenium content.

Broccoli is best steamed so as to preserve all the nutrients. You can also add the florets to omelets, stir-fry broccoli with other vegetables, or even eat it raw. Pureed cooked broccoli and cauliflower, combined with various seasonings, make a very delicious soup. When choosing broccoli, ensure the floret clusters are compact (not bruised) and are uniformly colored.

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4. Eggplant

 

Eggplants are a good source of iron, calcium, potassium, and Vitamins B1, B3, and B6, which are essential in the human body. The skin of an eggplant contains essential phytonutrients, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants that improve blood circulation and nourishes the brain. Bioflavonoids relieve stress, regulate high blood pressure, and together with Vitamin K, prevent blood clots by strengthening capillaries. Eggplants are rich in fiber, which protects the digestive tract. They have low fat content, hence ideal for those with type 2 diabetes, and anyone with weight problems. Nasunin, an antioxidant, protects the lipids found in brain cell membranes from free radical damage, and also lowers cholesterol in the body. It also improves blood flow to the brain. Eggplants contain phenolic compounds which have chlorogenic acid that decreases low-density lipid levels and also serves as an antimicrobial and antiviral agent.

Consumption of one cup of eggplant provides 10 percent of daily fiber needs. Increasing its intake decreases the risk of obesity, overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease and promotes increases body energy and lowers body weight. Its dietary fiber is essential for weight management. It serves as a bulking agent and its mineral contents increase the level of satisfaction and reduce appetite making one feel fuller hence reduce the amount of food intake. This reduces calorie intake into the body hence contributes to a healthy weight management.

You can include eggplants in your stews and vegetable and curry stir-fries. Eggplants are also used to make dips, and as sandwich fillings. They can be baked, roasted or steamed. When buying eggplants, go for those that are firm and heavy, with a smooth and glossy skin. Avoid those that have bruises, discoloration and scars. Either side of the eggplant (the stem and cap), should have a bright green color. Store them in a refrigerator until you ready to consume.

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5. Bell Pepper

 

Bell peppers are rich in Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps in the body’s absorption of iron and protects the body from scurvy, while boosting the body’s immunity. They contain Vitamin A which improves eyesight, and Vitamin B6 and folate, which help prevent anemia by ensuring the formation of the red blood cells. They contain lots of antioxidants such as flavonoids and carotenoids, which are important in cancer fighting. Bell peppers are sources of vital minerals such as iron, copper, zinc, potassium and magnesium. Several phytochemicals and carotenoids, especially beta-carotene, contained in bell peppers have anti-inflammatory properties. Capsaicin in bell peppers reduces bad cholesterol and eases inflammation. Bell peppers also contain vitamin K1 which are important for bone formation and blood clotting.

They are low in calories and contain many antioxidants making them favorable to be incorporated into any diet. Bell peppers are mostly made up of water and carbs which mean high sugar in form of fructose and glucose which play an essential role in maintaining body alkalinity. They have lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids which improve eye health. They also happen to be rich in iron which is essential in blood thus preventing anemia in the immune system. The vitamin C in it also increases the absorption of iron from the gut. Bell pepper consumption has no side effects however it can cause allergies for some people.

Bell peppers can be served raw in salads, or cooked in stir-fries. They can be grilled and served with dips or sauces. In Italy, they are some of the popular ingredients used when making pizza and pasta. Fresh bell peppers are crisp and bright in color (whether red, yellow, orange or green) with green stems. Avoid the ones with soft spots or darkened areas. Though bell peppers can be eaten at any stage of their development, their vitamin C and carotenoid content are optimal when the bell peppers are ripe.

 

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6. Onions

Onions contain a flavonoid, quercetin, that reduces the symptoms of bladder infections, improves prostate health, lowers blood pressure and improves dental health by fighting the bacteria that cause dental decay. They contain high levels of antioxidants that reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of cancer and help improve heart health. Onions are a source of Vitamin C that helps fight the formation of free radicals that cause cancer. The fiber in onions helps in digestion, and oligofructose, a soluble fiber, promotes the growth of good bacteria in the intestines. Some minerals found in onions help regulate blood sugar by triggering increased production of insulin. Onions also contain vitamins A, B6, and E plus minerals such as sodium, potassium, iron and dietary fiber. They are a good source of folic acid.

Onions are best consumed raw than when cooked. This is because onions contain a variety of organic sulfur compounds that have volatile oil that has many health benefits. These minerals are destroyed by heat. They contain allyl propyl disulfide which has similar effect to insulin thus playing a role in balancing the blood sugar levels. They should be stored in a well-ventilated area to avoid damage. The manganese mineral in onions provides relief to cold and flu since it contains anti-inflammatory abilities. Onions have a significant amount of polyphenols and an antioxidant flavonoid called quercetin which has anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic functions which play a role in disease prevention. Cooking them in soup does not diminish this disease prevention property.

Since flavonoids have a higher concentration in the outer flesh layers of onions, try to peel off as little of the edible portion as possible, when removing its outermost paper layer. Onions can be used raw in salads and sandwiches or added to dips and salsas. They can also be used in savory dishes. Fresh onions have crisp and dry outer skins.

 

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7. Dried Fruit

 

Dried fruits are several times more alkaline than fresh fruits because dehydration of fruit results in the cations (positively charged ions) present in them becoming more concentrated. They are a great source of energy and fiber, though one should be careful since they contain more calories than fresh fruit. Dried apples and apricots contain phytonutrients, powerful antioxidants that help rid the body of cancer-causing agents, and are a good source of fiber. Dry apricots and prunes have very high levels of potassium that helps in maintaining the required blood pressure level. They also have high iron content, which helps prevent anemia. Raisins contain phosphorous, iron, potassium and magnesium, and they help promote blood circulation.

Dried fruit have more concentration of nutrients due to dehydration. They contain antioxidants that are twice as potent as those in fresh fruits. Dry fruit is loaded with fiber. A dried piece of fruit contains almost as much nutrient content as a fresh one. It contains 3.5 times the fiber, vitamins and minerals of fresh fruit. However, some nutrients such as vitamin C are greatly reduced when the fruit is dried. However, fiber contained in large amounts provides a source of antioxidants which include polyphenols which contribute to health in ways such as improving blood flow, better digestive health, and decreased oxidative damage and reduced risk of diseases. Intake of dried fruit increases nutrient consumption and reduces obesity risk. Eating dried fruit means improving blood sugar control, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and decrease in inflammation. Due to the high fiber content, dried fruit is very filling and it helps fight oxidative damage in the body.

When buying dry fruits you, however, should check out for added sweeteners such as sugar and corn syrup. Avoid fruits that have sulphite preservatives. One should be aware that dried fruit has relatively higher calories of sugar than fresh fruit. Eating too much of them, therefore, can contribute to weight gain and many other health problems.

 

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8. Cucumber

 

Cucumbers are vegetables that are made up of 95% water. They are very high in fiber, which helps in digestion. They contain lignan, which helps fight cancer and cardiovascular disease. Cucumbers are important for hydration due to their high water content. Cucumbers are ideal for people looking to lose weight, due to their high water and low-calorie content. They are an excellent source of silica, which strengthens the connective tissues in joints. Vitamin K found in cucumbers improves calcium absorption, which in turn improves bone, muscle and cartilage health. The high water content in cucumbers is useful in sweeping out waste products from the body. They ensure kidney health by lowering the levels of uric acid in the body.

The peel and seeds are the most nutrient dense parts of the cucumber as they contain fiber and beta carotene a form of vitamin A that is good for maintenance of the human eye. Cucumbers are a good source of minerals and they contain high levels of calcium which is essential for body development. They also have small amounts of vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and vitamin A. They contain the anti-inflammatory compound which helps in removing waste from the body and reduce skin irritation. The mineral properties in it also contribute to promoting anti-wrinkling and anti-aging activity. Vitamin K is important for bone formation and one cup of cucumber contains 19 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K. Cucumber contains antioxidants like beta carotene and manganese which also have anti-inflammatory properties. They have immune benefits thus help the body immunity system stay strong and fight against diseases.

Cucumbers are best consumed raw. They are a great salad and sandwich addition. You can add them to your drinking water for extra hydration, or include them in your vegetable juice. Fresh cucumbers feel firm, with a bright green and even skin color. Avoid any that have discoloration and blemishes, or those that easily bend.

 

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9. Almonds

Almonds, a popular tree nut, are extremely nutritious and healthy. They are an excellent source of antioxidants, which help prevent damage to cell molecules and cancer. The antioxidants are mostly found in the brown layer of the skin, hence almonds that have had their skin removed are not the best choice. They are rich in fiber, healthy fats and proteins, which makes them ideal for diabetics. Magnesium, found in high levels in almonds, is important for blood sugar and blood pressure control. Calories found in almonds help lower the levels of LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol. Monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants in almonds help improve heart health.

They are used as a health solution to relief from constipation, respiratory disorders, cough, anemia, impotency, and even diabetes. They are highly nutritious and act as a source of vitamin E, calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, and niacin. When compared with other fruits they contain the most nutrients. Almonds are considered very helpful in the development of the human brain. They contain two vital brain nutrients that are riboflavin and L-carnite which increases brain activity hence resulting in creating neural pathways. This decreases the occurrence of the Alzheimer disease. Almonds also regulate cholesterol in the body. They play a role in healthy bone formation since they contain phosphorous, vitamins and minerals. They also prevent an onset of age-related conditions like osteoporosis. The vitamin E in its minerals is instrumental in heart health and presence of magnesium is essential in preventing heart attacks. The almond skin contains flavonoids which combine with vitamin E to form a shield against damage to the wall of the artery. Basically, almonds are a great source of alkali materials and they are able to strengthen the immunity system. The high vitamin E mineral content enables the body to eliminate all the damaging free radicals in the immune system hence acting as prevention against chronic diseases. Almonds help in preventing the rise of glucose and insulin levels in the body after meals. This offers protection against the rise in blood sugar level and development of diabetes.

They can be eaten raw as a snack, or as an ingredient in products such as almond butter, milk, and flour. They can also be added as ingredients in salads, casseroles, and other dishes.

 

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