Maca – The Superfood Rebalancer!

Maca roots
Maca roots

Recently the herb Maca has come up frequently during consultations, so this week I would like to look at this new supplement that is rapidly gaining popularity.  Not really a supplement, it is actually a ‘superfood’ with many amazing benefits. Superfoods are those that have very high levels of antioxidants, such as blueberries, spirulina or pomegranates.

Lepidium peruvianum, or Maca, is a tuber vegetable cultivated for thousands of years in the harsh conditions high up at 4,000m in the Peruvian Andes. One of the superfoods of the Incas, it has been used as a medicinal food for over 2,000 years to increase energy, promote endurance and stamina as well as improve fertility and sexual performance in both men and women.

Maca is part of the brassica family and related to broccoli, cabbage and turnip. The harvested root has high antioxidant levels and is loaded with protein. It has more bioavailable calcium than milk, magnesium, potassium, iron, plus other minerals and trace elements, vitamins and all the amino acids. It is rich in the B vitamins and a vegetarian source of vitamin B12.

In addition to the traditional uses maca is great for offsetting the effects of stress, anxiety and fatigue. It stimulates and nourishes the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, the master glands of the body. As these are the glands that regulate all the other glands, maca can help to bring balance to the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, ovarian and testicular glands.

Anxious

The glands in the body produce hormones that regulate many body processes including your mood, sexual development, growth, and tissue function. As well they play a role in many diseases ranging from depression to cancer

Maca is an adaptogen, responding to the individual needs of your body. It regulates as and where needed, where hormones are out of balance. This means if you are producing too much of a hormone it will regulate so production decreases, but if you are producing too much it regulates to increase production. Herbal adaptogens, are a rare class of herbs, valuable in natural health prescribing. Other adaptogens are licorice, Holy Basil, ashwagandha, ginseng, rhodiola, eleuthero and schisandra.

Unlike wild yam, maca does not introduce hormones into your body, nor are the active ingredients phyto-eostrogens. Instead it is thought that it is alkaloids in the maca that act on the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. This means that the effects of maca on the body are diverse, and not just restricted to the sex hormones.

Today the main uses of Maca are for balancing hormones, increasing energy and reducing stress. It offers significant benefits for women suffering hormonal imbalances. Studies have concentrated on the positive effects it has on the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. However it is also very useful and beneficial for other hormonal problems like PCOS or PMS.

USES FOR MACA

MacaBENEFITS OF MACA

Maca produces benefits without the side-effects of many medications and even some herbal remedies.

  • Maca helps to balance our hormones.
  • Studies have shown that it increases sexual function and treats impotence
  • Stimulates fertility in men and women, enhances sperm production.
  • It can be very useful to regulate the menstrual cycle and ease PMS symptoms.  It relieves the unpleasant effects of menopause.
  • Maca has shown anticancer activity in the laboratory.
  • It reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and decreases the levels of triglycerides.
  • It seems to reduce blood sugar levels and improve glucose tolerance.
  • Maca could provide a non-caffeine alternative for those who need an energy boost from coffee in the morning.
  • Is an antidepressant
  • Enhances learning and memory abilities
  • Supports the immune system
  • Increases energy, stamina and endurance, reducing chronic fatigue.
  • Remineralizes the body, making up for the lack of minerals in modern diets.
  • Clears acne and blemishes

MacaHOW TO SELECT AND USE MACA

Maca comes in a number of different colours, the most commonly found is yellow. Scientists have found that each colour has a different effect on the body. Black and red maca improve bone health and black affects memory and learning the best. Darker maca roots contain significant levels of iodine.

The dried root of maca comes in a powder form, tablets or capsules. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavour and can be added to many foods such as soup, herbal tea, or desserts. You can sprinkle it on bananas or popcorn. You can mix it with honey and eat the paste off the spoon, add it to smoothies, juice or to warm almond milk with some raw cacao for hot chocolate. Added to baking maca gives a maltiness to the flavour. But don’t add to much as the flavour can be overwhelming.

Start with ½ -1 teaspoon a day and build up to between 1 and 5 teaspoons a day, over a few days. Some people may experience adverse responses when they start taking maca. These are a sign of the body detoxing and only last a few days. Cut back the amount you are taking and build up slowly.

Improvement can occur within days, even the on same day, although for most people it takes about four days or even weeks to notice changes.

You can find maca at most health food shops or online. Make certain to buy a quality, organic product. Because it is a root vegetable the growing conditions make a huge difference to the level of nutrients. Cheaply priced good will deliver an inferior product (unless it is cheap on special). Only buy reputable, organic brands of maca root. Don’t buy other parts of the plant.

The brand I recommend to my clients, although I do not sell or have any financial interest in it at all, is Loving Earth Maca Powder. It is raw Australian Certified Organic and the company has awesome 30% off discounts on their website for all their maca products through December.

Maca is generally recognized as safe. However, because of the way it works care may be needed. For example, maca balances out your hormones so they are at the required levels. If you are also taking other supplements, such as Dong Quai, Black cohosh, Vitex or phytoestrogens for womens hormones for example, to achieve similar results, these could interfere with the maca and result in an aggravation of your symptoms.

If you take too much too soon maca can actually exacerbate your hormonal symptoms and make them worse. If you are suffering the effects of stress it could exacerbate that also, causing a racing heart and insomnia. I have seen problems that are the result of taking maca. Simply exercise care, stop taking maca if you notice adverse effects or speak to your health practitioner.

If you suffer from any diagnosed illness, particularly those such as hormone related cancers, speak to your health practitioner before starting to take maca.

 Maca uses 2

Do you use maca? How quickly did it work for you? How effective have you found it?

Disclaimer.

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue. 

 

Source articles

http://www.naturalnews.com/027797_maca_root_hormone_balance.html

http://www.naturalfertilityandwellness.com/macas-fertility-benefits/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/159150-benefit-of-maca/

http://www.iquitsugar.com/a-bluffers-guide-to-maca

http://realrawfood.com/maca-history-info

Related articles

The Health Benefits Of Herbal Teas

Loose leaf herbal tea
Loose leaf herbal tea

I’m a big fan of herbal teas, or tissanes. When I started drinking them, I had a difficult time, as like many people initially I did not enjoy the taste. But I had always drunk my coffee and tea without milk and I think that this helped me make the switch. I still find herbal tea with milk added just weird (unless it is chai of course).

The problem for me was that the first herbal tea I tried was peppermint, and I tried it during pregnancy because it was recommended for treating the nausea of morning sickness. However it made me feel even sicker at the time and every since whenever I sip on peppermint tea it comes accompanied with a wave of nausea – the power of suggestion!

Peppermint is well known as a wonderful digestive – and it is, for just over about half the population. For the other half peppermint can have a very different effect. It is a herb that has a relaxing effect on the sphincters of the body. It can have that effect on the sphincter at the top of the stomach, allowing partially digested food to flow from the stomach into the oesophagus, resulting in heartburn and indigestion. It is definitely not the tea of choice for anyone who suffers from heartburn.

This is a wonderful reminder of the power of herbal tea. Herbal teas not only offer a tasty warm drink, they also deliver a dose of medication at the same time. If you have a negative sensitivity to the effects of that particular plant then you are certainly going to feel the negative effect in your body.

The medicinal effects of the plants in the tea you select can also build up. Chamomile is widely recognised as a great herb to relax people sufficiently so they can drift off to sleep. It has a soothing effect on the nervous system. But take too much chamomile tea and you could find yourself far from relaxed. Instead you become a nervous, irritable, difficult to please, pain-in-the-neck.

Herbs are a wonderful way to treat all manner of illnesses, with their prescribing origins going way back into the depths of time. But it is certainly valid to investigate whether consuming herbal teas in any quantity is going to be harmful to you. There are a number of teas that are not good during pregnancy. But there are also other health issues that may make you choose to stay away from certain herbal teas. Licorice for example can cause an increase in blood pressure and is better avoided if you suffer hypertension.

One great benefit of drinking herbal teas is that they are alkalizing when they are metabolized by the body. Too many acidifying foods create inflammation in your body, which contributes to many diseases. Balancing out these foods with alkalizing foods, including herbal teas, helps to bring your body back into balance also.

I try to vary the teas I drink in order to avoid problems from too much of any one herb in my system and so I have a whole shelf in my cupboard devoted to herbal teas. I am continually on the lookout for new ones to try. I occasionally dry my own herbs, although my current garden is not so great for growing the herbs I prefer. Growing and drying your own herbs is very easy and provided you don’t use any chemicals on them an excellent way to make your own organic teas.

My herbal tea cupboard with some of the herbal teas we drink
My herbal tea cupboard with some of the herbal teas we drink

Here are some guidelines for growing your own tea herbs. Home grown herbs are often more flavoursome than bought varieties.

If you prefer to buy packaged herbal teas there are many great brands out there, so you don’t need to buy those made by Liptons or other big companies. I love quite a few. Pukka teas are made according to Ayurvedic medicine principles and there are some great blends in their range. Tea Tonic  is the brainchild of a naturopath and herbalist Lisa Hilbert and teas in the range are formulated for good health. Healing Concepts make a big range of awesome teas, including an excellent dandelion root tea, which is great for your liver. Plus there are many other companies making great, often organic, teas. If you want quality tea that not only tastes good but is really good for you, source your teas carefully. I read a few months ago that many of the teas from a well-known and long established herbal tea company were found to contain worrying high levels of pesticides.

If you are using the herbal teas for a specific health issue you need to drink about drink two to four cups a day for a few weeks. By then you should know whether it is helping to improve your problem.

photo credit: Khairil Zhafri
photo credit: Khairil Zhafri

 

12 HERBAL TEAS TO TRY

Chamomile

One of the most popular herbal teas, it is calming and soothing and helps people who lose their appetite when stressed. It soothes tense stomachs or digestive problems like heartburn or nausea. Because it relaxes it is useful for PMS or abdominal cramps.  It is also excellent for nervousness or anxiety and is a wonderful relaxant before bed. It’s a great stress buster and usually available.

Dandelion

The part of the plant used dictates the benefit. The leaves are a diuretic and increase your urine output. The root however gives excellent liver support and helps bile secretion. It is also helpful for skin conditions. Dandelion ‘coffee’ makes an excellent liver tonic, helping it in its detox role, for those times when you have eaten too much rich food or drunk too much alcohol.

Fennel

It is often drunk by new mothers to improve production of breast milk. A good stomach tea, it eases indigestion by increasing the secretion of digestive enzymes. It increases the appetite and has been used for cancer patients to help them put weight on. Like dandelion it is also a gentle liver and bile stimulant. Also good for coughs and colds. It can be blended with chamomile for colicky babies.

Lemon Balm

Another tea helpful for stomach problems particularly cramping and it relaxes the muscles around the bowel. It also helps to lift your mood if you drink it regularly and is fantastic for the nervous system.

Ginger

Excellent for anyone with a cold or flu, especially combined with lemon. It increases blood flow and helps clear blockages. It is also wonderful for upset stomachs, nausea, indigestion and diarrhea. You can simply grate fresh ginger but will get more flavour from the dried herb.

Rosemary

Rosemary is fairly strong tasting and helps to ease joint pains and headaches. It also has antiseptic properties so is useful to relieve mouth ulcers and sore throats.

Hibuscus

Pretty dark rose coloured and delicious tasting hibiscus is great for lowering blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol. It is a diuretic like dandelion leaves, useful in cystitis. It is high in antioxidants, is a rich source of Vitamin C and strengthens the immune system. It is useful for colds, sore throats, gum disease and other inflammations of mucous membranes.

Lemongrass

Good for reducing blood pressure and improving circulation. Also an antioxidant, it boosts the immune system, calms the nervous system, helps tone muscle and tissue and detoxifies the organs. It can aid digestion particularly bloating and flatulence.

Nettle

A great tea to drink for seasonal allergies, excessive mucous discharge, difficulty or burning when urinating, and skin disorders.

Rooibos

Rapidly gaining popularity, this wonderful antioxidant tea is up there with green tea. Great for irritability or mild depression, it helps maintain a healthy nervous system. It is a broad anti-inflammatory. It is useful for hypertension, headaches, heartburn, nausea or stomach cramps. Known as the ‘complexion tea’ it is good for your skin.

Tulsi

This is one of my very favourite teas, it has a strong flavour with just a hint of mint. Tulsi, or Holy basil, has held a significant place for centuries in Ayervedic medicine. You can read all about the extraordinary benefits of Tulsi here.

Peppermint

Generally used as an excellent digestif, it reduces bloating and flatulence and helps indigestion (for some people). It can also ease stuffed-up colds. Very cooling, it can be drunk iced in the summer.

In fact many herbal teas are wonderful cooling summer drinks. When my children were small I often made them iced blackcurrant tea on hot days. They were happy to drink it unsweetened and it made an excellent fruity alternative to soft drink (soda) or cordials with the extra benefit of being sugar-free and artificial sweetener-free.

These are just a few of the herbal teas available. There are many other herbal teas and herbal blends for you to enjoy. If you find you don’t like one, then keep trying them out until you work out your preferences.

What’s your favourite herbal tea? Do you grow any yourself?

Herbal tea
Herbal tea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Disclaimer.

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended
as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.

 

Source articles

http://www.naturalnews.com/040501_herbal_teas_healing_natural_remedies.html#ixzz2Ujzot3Gc

http://blendhappy.com/herbal-tea-benefits

http://www.littleecofootprints.com/2012/05/growing-herbal-teas-at-home.html

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/nutrition/nutrition+tips/a+guide+to+herbal+teas,1336 1

http://blendhappy.com/herbal-tea-benefits

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Fight Anxiety With Natural Medicine

AnxiousEveryone feels anxious at some time or other, but for some people anxiety is an overwhelming part of their everyday life. For some, stress or depression walks alongside, and insomnia likes to drop by too.

Modern life moves so fast and our lives are constantly changing. Upheavals such as moving house, redundancy, the passing of a loved one, or even something joyful like a wedding or a birth, can set up the arena for feelings of anxiety. Your body recognises the feelings as stressful and responds by sending out a flood of stress hormones to deal with the situation. If you are healthy, you deal with the feelings, and move on. But for others, unable to move past the feelings, anxiety interferes with their daily life to such an extent they cannot cope well with everyday things. This is an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is not stress. Anxiety is a fear-based emotion that results in a physical and emotional response in the body. Stress is the body’s response to stimuli, which can be a problem is if is ongoing or overdone.

There are a number of different forms of anxiety including Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social Phobia and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) phobias, Separation Anxiety.

Anxiety is experienced in many, many different ways. It may show as constant and obsessive worrying, panic attacks, feeling overwhelmed and teary, repetitive thoughts, huge emotional swings, having concentration difficulties and being easily distracted, trouble remembering things, difficulty learning, insomnia, tension that makes relaxing difficult, low libido, appetite changes such as cravings, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, or weight change. A combination of life experiences, hereditary tendency and chemical imbalances in the brain leads to the symptoms.  It develops gradually and runs in families.

The conventional treatment calls for a combination of strategies to deal with the symptoms, which include a number of effective natural methods. But there are many other very effective ways to reduce anxiety in the long term that are not a part of the normal conventional treatment plan, but are well worth trying. They can be used to treat both anxiety disorder or a simple anxious response to a life event.

Some of the common Conventional ways of dealing with anxiety:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Breathing techniques
  • Diet changes
  • Counseling
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy
  • Behaviour Therapy
  • Exercise
  • Medication
photo: Alain Abplanalp Photography
photo: Alain Abplanalp Photography

So How DO You Reduce Anxiety?

NATURAL MEDICINE

Homeopathy

Homeopathy has a great track record when it comes to dealing with anxiety. Remedies such as homeopathic Aconite is a very useful first-aid remedy for dealing with panic attacks or fear of flying. Homeopathic Gelsemium is one of the remedies that can help exam nerves. There are many others which are very effective when they are closely matched to the exact nature of your individual anxiety symptoms. Other remedies can be used for long-term anxiety issues but again, need to be matched to your own particular symptoms. Certain remedies are helpful when you wake during the night with worry and anxiety that keeps you awake, others for when you avoid social situations due to anxiety, others for control issues, others for anxiety due to a range of particular stimuli and so forth. Consulting with a qualified Homeopath  will identify which remedy suits your needs the best.

EFT

Emotional Freedom Technique  or Tapping, is so simple, anyone can learn it and do it anyplace as it only takes a few minutes. It works on the principle that the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system, and seeks to shift the points along the body meridian system where energy is blocked.

Temporal Tap

Affirmations are employed in conventional treatments but you can take this much further to get a greater impact by combining them with ‘Tapping’.  Stimulating acupressure points on the body helps awaken the chi energy and keep it flowing smoothly. By tapping on certain points on the head while you say the affirmations, you can help to set the self-reprogramming in place quicker and stronger. Temporal tapping influences your thinking, your nervous system and the cellular activity of the body. Watch this demonstration by Donna Eden of the Temporal Tap method. She explains how it works and demonstrates the process very clearly and simply.

Flower essences

Essences are a very gentle form of natural medicine that work directly on the emotions. Bach Rescue Remedy is extremely effective for panic attacks and can be carried with you in your bag. It is simple to use and gives fast, gentle results. Australian Bush Flower Emergency Essence has a similar effect to Bach Rescue Remedy. Some people respond better to the Bach and others to the Australian Bush Flower remedies. Try both to see which works best for you. Bach Mimulus is the remedy to use for a known fear, such as public speaking or dogs. Bach Aspen is better when there are more general, vague fearful or anxious feelings without a specific cause.

Aromatherapy

Because the sense of smell bypasses the part of the brain that does all the worrying, aromas and smells can be powerful helpers. Light some (100% natural and plant-based) incense such as frankinsense or sandalwood which are very relaxing, or lavender if you need calming. The incense slows the heart rate and soothes nerves. Or burn quality pure essential oils such as lavender, geranium or bergamot, which are all calming and effective relaxants. If you soak in a bath with added essential oils or add the oils to a massage oil base, you get added relaxation benefits.

DIET

Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that triggers the body to release adrenaline, a major stress hormone and the one you need to avoid. You find caffeine in coffee, cola, guarana, chocolate, diet supplements, and now it is also added to many other soda drinks so always read the labels and don’t assume that if you avoid the cola drinks you will be ok.

Adjust Meals

Eat small meals frequently. Stable blood sugars help maintain stable moods. Eat every couple of hours and make sure the meal contains some protein. You can get protein from a boiled egg, a handful of almonds or other nuts and seeds, a small tin of tuna, a quinoa salad, a slice of turkey or organic chicken breast, nut butter, hommus, tempeh, grain fed organic beef.

There has been much research recently into how anxiety originates in the gut, so it is no surprise that it also affects digestion and the bowel. Reduce caffeine, sugar, dairy, increase vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and grains to ease the load on your gut – basically, eat healthy!

Supplements

Magnesium  is a mineral that is often deficient in much of the population, but more so in anxiety sufferers. Available in many foods including green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, brazil nuts, brown rice, bananas, and dark chocolate, to make sure you are getting adequate amounts it high-quality supplement can be better.

Vitamin B is also often deficient in the diet of anxiety sufferers and a daily Vitamin B complex is worth taking. Take a high quality complete B rather than single B vitamins.

HERBS

Calming herbs include passionflower, kava, oats and chamomile which are also good for helping with sleep problems, and St John’s Wort.

 Holy Basil, or Tulsi, is one herb that helps the body respond to stress and anxiety, whether that is emotional or physical, by reducing the levels of stress hormone. It produces feelings of calm and relaxation.

A cup of chamomile tea in the evening eases stress and promotes sleep by helping you relax and easing tension before bed. Chamomile is a useful relaxant and will help sedate you to sleep

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnate) is an old folk remedy for anxiety that acts as a mild tranquilizer, calming without sedating. It can be taken as a tablet, a tea, or a liquid tincture from your practitioner. It also assists with insomnia. Don’t use passionflower if you are already taking sedatives, or if you are pregnant, nursing or have established kidney or liver disease.

Kava Kava (Piper methysticum) is widely known and used to reduce anxiety symptoms by activating GABA receptors in the brain.

image: Shawn Rossi
image: Shawn Rossi

OTHER NATURAL STRATEGIES

Bodywork

Muscle tension can be an effect of anxiety, particulary if it is ongoing, and body therapies such as massage, reflexology or shiatsu can relieve the muscles and help you relax. Yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong are other techniques to help the body relax. Yoga incorporates good breathing practices and is especially useful.

Cranialsacral therapy uses more gentle techniques than massage on the head, spine and pelvis, the source of the nervous system. Gentle manipulation of this area of the body leads to reduced nervous, as well as muscle tension.

Meditation

In meditation controlled breathing techniques are used to free the mind of chatter and activity. By practicing meditation on a daily basis you can develop a more relaxed outlook. Meditation does not need to be difficult. There are many different ways of meditating and it is simply a matter of finding the one that suits you. Take a look here to discover some different forms of meditation for beginners and find the one that is right for you. If even the idea of meditating freaks you out start here instead.

Breathing

Learn to breathe correctly. When you get anxious you start to breathe more and more shallowly, using just the top of your chest. Breathing deep down in the belly helps to bring about calm. Learn more about controlled breathing techniques here.

Self-talk

Using positive affirmations can be very effective. When you form an affirmation try to phrase it as if it already is happening. For example, instead of saying “all will be well” use “all IS well” instead. Placing the thought in the present is more effective. “I am coping, breathing deeply, and feeling relaxed” is more likely to calm you because it is strongly placed in what is happening now, in the present, rather than “I always cope if I breathe and relax” which is far more general.

Centring

To create calm in the moment place both your palms on the side of your face and rest your fingers gently on your closed eyelids. This cradles and quiets the mind, allowing you to centre yourself so you can face things again.

Release the built-up adrenaline

Move your body about. Play some up-beat music and dance, scrub the walls or floor, weed an overgrown patch of garden, go for a run or a bike ride. Exercise burns up the stress chemicals , promotes relaxation and helps circulate blocked energy that contributes to anxiety.

Distract yourself

Put on your favourite music, take the dog for a walk, make a cup of soothing herbal tea, revisit your favourite beach holiday photos, especially if they were in the tropics or whatever calms you in the moment.

Taking steps to reduce your anxiety in a more natural way allows you to experience more of life. Try out some of these strategies for yourself.

What natural strategies do you find most useful to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, tell me in the comments section below? For me it is homeopathy, flower essences and EFT.

fearless

Disclaimer.

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue. 

Source articles

http://www.naturalnews.com/042748_anxiety_natural_treatments_fight_or_flight_mechanism.html

http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/article/Natural_Treatments_for_Stress_and_Anxiety

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health/natural+health/ten+ways+to+beat+stress+and+anxiety+naturally,10965?gclid=CNjOycSxzLoCFQLvpAodlA8Abg

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2006/08/26/one-simple-solution-addresses-6-different-types-of-anxiety-disorder.aspx

http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/conditionsatod/a/Anxiety.htm

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Anxiety_treatment_options

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Alkalise Already! Acid And Alkaline Foods

Increasingly it’s recognized that every modern disease is caused by inflammation in your body. One cause of widespread inflammation throughout your body is eating too many acid forming foods. eating a diet with a good balance between foods that have an alkalizing effect on your body after they’re metabolized, and those with an acidifying effect on your body,  is a relatively new practice, but one that’s being addressed far more often in the ongoing quest to make healthier eating choices.

Reduce acidity in your body to reduce inflammation

If your immune system is strong and can overcome the inflammation then all is good, but if not, then illness and premature aging are what lies right ahead of you.

The difficulty for us is that the modern western diet is heavily loaded with acidifying foods. As a result of eating lots of these foods the acid/alkaline balance of the majority of the population is way, way out. Most people’s immune system cannot keep up with the levels of inflammation that result from the diet they eat.

Finding Balance Between Acidic And Alkaline Foods

The important thing to know however is that YOU NEED BOTH ALKALINE AND ACIDIC FOODS.
But, the balance needs to be right, with your diet weighted more heavily towards alkaline foods.  About 30% acidic and 70% alkaline would be good to aim for.

You can find out the pH of your body, which indicates whether it is more acidic or more alkaline, by testing your saliva or urine with pH strips, which are easy to obtain either on the internet, in your health food store, or from your Natural Health practitioner.

 

What Foods Are Acidic?

Acidic Foods

The list of acidifying foods includes most foods that fall into the following food groups:

  • Meat
  • Fish & shellfish
  • Poultry
  • Dairy foods (milk, cheese, cream, ice-cream, butter)
  • Eggs
  • Sugare
  • Grains (bread, pasta, flours, crackers)
  • Most nuts
  • Legumes
  • Coffee, soft drinks (soda), alcohol
  • A few fruits and vegetables
  • Junk foods
  • Miscellaneous items
  • Pharmaceuticals & chemicals

Alkaline Foods

  • Most vegetables
  • Most fruits, including lemons wheich even though they’re acidic to taste actually metabolize to one of the most alkaline foods around
  • Some nuts
  • Stevia
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Miscellaneous items

Alkaline green vegetables

Think of just how many vegetables are on a plate or a sandwhich, or in a pasta sauce, compared to the quantity of meat or bread or pasta itself in the dish.

When you consider that most of the diet needs to be made up of mainly fruit and vegetables and a few other foods in order to meet the 70% alkaline level it becomes quite apparent just why our diets are so unbalanced and why we have so much chronic illness. Our meals contain far too much acidifying foods.

It’s not common to see a meal that’s over two thirds vegetables and only a very small amount being meat, cheese or other acidifying foods. You might even say it’s very rare to see that. Which means it’s rare to see a meal where the acid-a;kaline balance is right.

You can see from these brief lists why most people suffer from inflammation. Their diet is weighted very heavily in favour of acidifying foods.

Acid and alkaline foods

Alkaline And Acidic Food List

Here is a comprehensive list of alkaline and acidic foods. This list ranks the foods from the most alkalising to the most acid forming, as some foods within the category will be more acidic or alkaline and some less acidic or alkaline.

For example, within the legume group lentils are highly alkaline while soybeans are highly acidic.

Vegetables that are normally alkaline when fresh are acidic when frozen.

It’s also worth remembering that chemicals fall into the acidic group so foods that have been grown commercially and have pesticide residue on them may not be as alkaline as you would expect.

Try and concentrate your choices from the high alkaline and low acidic columns to get the balance closer to optimum.

I’m sure you noticed the acidic list contains lots of very healthy foods, like pomegranates, acai berry, most of the nuts, or raspberries which we know are extremely high in antioxidants. This is NOT a problem. You need to eat SOME acid forming foods.

But given that the acid-forming foods need to make up a smaller quantity of the total, it is much smarter to select acidic foods like raspberries or pomegranate or nuts that are also going to give you loads of beneficial nutrients to form the acidifying portion of your diet instead of junk foods.

The healthy foods on the list of acidifying foods, like fruits, vegetables and foods rich in omega-3, are the ones you should choose when you’re selecting the acid forming foods you will eat, rather than the unhealthy ones like fried foods or sugar.

 

Western Diets Are Very Acidic

If you take a look at this interesting collection of pictures showing what makes up a weeks groceries in 20 different countries, one thing that stands out about the diets of the families living in western countries is the preponderance of grains and meats and the very small amounts of fruits and vegetables. In addition there is a large amount of junk food in their diet.

To consistently achieve an optimum balance between acidifying foods and alkalizing foods can be difficult while continuing to eat the standard western diet. To make the change you really need to seriously increase your fruit and vegetables, cut back on the grains, coffee, sugars, and junk foods. basically to adopt healthy eating habits.

 

Finding The Sweet Spot

You really don’t need to be exact about quantities, just aim to get as close as you can. And you don’t need to cut out all the acidifying foods.

Try replacing the creamy sauce on your pasta with a vegetable sauce, and cut back the quantity of pasta while increasing the vegetables. Eat it with a huge, enormous fresh salad. Use the pasta as a smaller part of the meal instead of the bulk of it.

Getting the balance closer to the optimum for any given meal may be as simple as adding some fruit at the end of the meal or a big salad at the start.

Don’t forget about all the hidden contributors such as coffee. Making the switch, for even just one or two cups of coffee a day, to an alkalizing drink such as herbal tea, can help reduce the inflammation in your body.

Be on the look out for ways to replace an acidifying food with an alkalizing alternative. Opt for an open sandwich for your lunch or ditch the bread altogether and just have the salad. Use carrot sticks for your dip rather than crackers. You get the idea.

The science behind the alkaline diet is still contentious with lots of debate about whether the reasoning makes sense or not. However, the fact remains that the diet is sound, because relying heavily on fruit and vegetables whilst reducing foods that are known to be harmful.

Unless you are eating only fruit and vegetables there will never be a problem getting enough acidifying foods, it will always be the alkalizing foods you need to consciously include. Your body will love you for doing so.

 

Aim for a healthy balance between alkalizing and acidifying foods

 

Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.

 

Source Articles

http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/article/acid_and_alkaline_foods

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