A quick look at the average western diet presents an obvious truth when it comes to the state of wellness in the west; for the most part, we are eating ourselves sick.
Interestingly, how we combat the reality of our sick state is often disconnected from the reasons why we got sick in the first place; our diets. What if doctors prescribed dietary changes first before even looking at medication, especially if it’s not needed? What if food was seen as a mechanism to prevent illness? I believe there is a growing body of people looking at our diets in this manner, but for the most part we’re blind to the fact that our diet is likely one of the biggest contributors to why we are sick.
Of course emotions and our state of being is another huge factor, but let’s start here for now.
A recent study found that a diet rich in acidic foods increases uric acid levels in the body, leading to conditions such as gout (form of arthritis), joint pain, and uric acid crystallization.
What you might notice here is that the average western diet is very acidic, so is it any surprise that so many struggle with these conditions?
Peter was suddenly jolted from his sleep by a sharp and throbbing pain in his left foot. He looked down to see that his big toe was extremely swollen and red, so tender and sore that even the lightest friction from the bed sheet was too much to bear. This was becoming a common occurrence in his life, a highly inconvenient one at that.
Wendy could barely function at work. She struggled to even finish her morning coffee for fear of having to go to the bathroom, for every time she did, she would nearly pass out from the immense pain shooting through her belly and pubic area. This was her second case of kidney stones in the same year.
If you or somebody you know is suffering from kidney issues, joint pain, or a condition known as gout, then you probably know how unfortunate it is to experience a lower quality of life at the hands of a debilitating ailment.
According to Global RPH, approximately 2 million people suffer from gout, a form or arthritis, 75-90% of which are men. Gout has been known to lead to painful conditions such as kidney stones due to the build up of uric acid in the blood or urine.
Although there are multiple factors which can lead to high levels of uric acid in the body, a recent study suggests that uric acid build-up can be linked to one substantial factor – an acidic diet. The study explores the theory that by introducing a more alkaline diet to the body, one can effectively lower uric acid levels, thereby reducing instances of gout and other kidney and joint related issues.
What The Scientific Evidence States
The study enrolled a group of healthy female students, who had no medical problems at their regular physical examinations provided by the university, in a back-to-back 5-day study which compared urine samples from a high-protein, less vegetable/fruit laden diet (acidic) to a low-protein, high-vegetable/fruit diet (alkaline).
Researchers measured the total volume of urine, the pH, levels of organic acids, creatinine, uric acid, and titratable acid, as well as all cations (Na+,K+,Ca2+,Mg2+,NH4+) and anions (Cl−,SO42−,PO4−) necessary for the estimation of acid–base balance.
The study noted a linear relationship between higher acidic serum levels and the metabolic degradation of materials being consumed (diet). Uric acid in the serum was higher in the acidic group than in the alkaline group, therefore from these observations, it is considered that uric acid may be reabsorbed more actively in acidic urine than in alkaline urine where it is more actively excreted.
Conclusion & What To Eat For Alkalinity
According to the study, high protein foods (rich in amino acids) were prone to acidic by-products. This included meat, eggs, and some dairy products such as butter. Furthermore, foods such as corn, alcohol, sugar, salad oils, and mayo were also found to produce acidic by-products in the body.
On the flip side, here are the foods that produced alkaline conditions in the body: Green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, miso, basil, cucumber, cabbage, kiwi, pineapple, mushrooms, yams, vinegar, walnuts, bell peppers, and more. (For more info, see appendix)
Researchers also noted that since the study was conducted exclusively on female students, experiments of the same kind need to be performed on male students, on older populations and also on people with hyperuricemia at baseline for generalization of dietary intervention.
Bottom line: Dietary intervention is one of the best choices in preventing conditions caused by uric acid build-up such as gout and joint pain, and an alkaline rich diet is an effective way to go about preventing these types of disorders.
The Ultimate Alkalizing Cocktails
Using the acidic/alkaline chart from Alkalife, we’ve put together two fantastic alkalizing cocktails to help eliminate acidic environments in the body. Enjoy!
Ginger-Fruit Iced Tea
- Organic ginger tea
- Purified water
- 1-2 tablespoons of fresh lemon &/or lime juice
- 1/4 cup of organic grapefruit juice
- Steep the ginger tea in purified, alkaline water for 5 minutes or until desired colour. Let cool.
- Stir in lemon and/or lime juice as well as the grapefruit juice. Add ice and enjoy! (Can be enjoyed hot as well during the winter months)
The Very-Berry-Banana Smoothie
Ingredients (serves 1):
- 2 ripe medium-large bananas
- 2 cups of frozen mixed berries (strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, and/or raspberry)
- 1-2 cups of kale (spine removed; your choice of variety)
- 2-3 tablespoons of raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup – 1 cup of purified water.
- Throw all ingredients into a medium-high powered blender until smooth consistency (I used a Vitamix; a Nutribullet also works well).