Posted: Sep 27, 2013 8:00 AM
 
Alkaline diets have cycled back into popularity. Thought to lower the risk of cancer and the risk of osteoporosis, this diet restricts certain foods. Find out what experts think about the alkaline diet and what it can do for your health.

When it comes to preventing cancer and boosting bone health, it's tempting to try all sorts of diets and superfoods. The alkaline diet is one of many types of nutritional regimes thought to lower the risk of cancer. Also thought to lower the risk of osteoporosis and increase energy, the alkaline diet restricts meat, fish, poultry, dairy, alcohol and grains.

Understand the reasoning behind the alkaline diet

Many of the foods that foster anti-cancer health are alkaline in nature, and many of the foods that foster inflammation are acidic.

In a laboratory setting, cancer cells did not thrive in an alkaline environment. The alkaline diet seeks to replicate those results within the human body. "Moving from that study to the notion that you can dramatically alter your body's pH is a huge leap that has not been proven by scientific inquiry," says Pat Wetzel, founder of The Anti-Cancer Club. "Indeed, the body's pH must remain in a fairly narrow range for human life to exist. But interestingly, many of the foods that foster anti-cancer health are alkaline in nature, and many of the foods that foster inflammation are acidic." Though not proven to be miraculous, the alkaline diet is one that supports balanced nutrition and health.

Make the alkaline diet work for you

Instead of restricting foods completely, try adding more alkaline foods to your diet. Since they're rich in nutrients the body needs anyway, it's a great way to boost your health and balance your diet. "I recommend that you measure your pH with a pH saliva test strip in the morning, on an empty stomach," says nutritionist Valerie Orsoni. "If you've already measured your pH and it's good, then your diet should consist of 60 percent alkalizing foods and 40 percent acidifying foods." To work on alkalizing your body's pH, switch to a slightly higher percentage of alkalizing foods.

Try these yummy alkaline foods to balance your pH

glass of lemon water

When you're working on adding alkaline foods to your diet, think green. Parsley, spinach, kale, broccoli, green beans and asparagus are very alkaline foods. Try a fresh green salad. Surprisingly, many citrus fruits are also alkalizing. Enjoy grapefruit in the morning and add fresh lemon or lime to your water during the day. Create a delicious alkaline smoothie using watermelon, mango and papaya. "Alkaline supplements are simply money-making gimmicks. There is no need to spend extra money on alkalizing your body as this is done quite simply by incorporating more alkaline and less acidic foods in your diet," says Orsoni.

Broaden your fight against osteoporosis

If you restrict animal protein, make sure you're getting lots of protein from vegetable sources such as beans and legumes.

Bone health needs to be addressed in more ways than your diet. For optimal bone health, stick to a fitness routine that includes strength training. Ask your doctor which supplements are right for you. According to a study by Johns Hopkins Medicine, debate continues regarding the role of protein in bone health. Some studies support the alkaline diet's restriction of animal proteins. If you restrict animal protein, make sure you're getting lots of protein from vegetable sources such as beans and legumes.

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