Trends in healthy eating seem to change year to year. Any time we hear about trends, it's important to think about the bigger picture when it comes to nutrition and long-term health. One of the easiest ways to keep things simple is to eat more whole foods that are less acidic and hard on the body to process. This is often referred to as an alkaline diet.
Now, if you're just getting started on learning how to eat a healthy diet, the whole concept of eating alkaline may seem a little foreign or maybe even a little silly. Don't let the word alkaline overwhelm you or seem strange.
WHAT IS AN ALKALINE DIET?
Alkaline eating means that you reduce the inflammatory foods in your diet and replace them with anti-inflammatory foods. This has so many benefits which include:
- reduced joint pain
- more energy
- possibly better digestion and less acidic stomach
- reduced risk of diseases that are triggered by inflammation
- lower cravings for sugar, caffeine and processed foods
- less headaches
- better ability to deal with stress
- enhanced workouts
- better sleep
- an overall healthier body
- can result in weight loss
- better skin
- stronger hair and nails
- aging benefits
- hormone benefits
- better immunity
Those are a lot of benefits, right? There's no one food that is a miracle for any of these issues, but when pooled together and consumed on a day to day basis, anti-inflammatory foods have proven throughout years of scientific research to provide these benefits that many people miss out on.
The reason an alkaline diet does all of this is because it reduces stress in ALL areas of the body, not just one or two. When physical and emotional stressors are gone, a body has the chance to heal and regenerate tissue and repair tissue. When this happens, everything else falls into place.
SO, WHERE SHOULD YOU START?
Here are the top 5 most inflammatory foods that promote breakdown of minerals, muscle and can increase fat in the body along with promote disease and ageing:
- refined sugar
- processed oils (highly heated vegetable oils, shelf-stable products with oils)
- animal saturated fats
These foods increase inflammation no matter what you may read otherwise, and they have never shown to actually improve a person's risk at fighting disease, combating inflammation, or improving longevity.
Here are some foods to focus on to reduce inflammation and eat more alkaline:
- unprocessed, whole grains (not whole grain products)
- legumes (beans, peas and lentils)
- raw nuts and seeds
- root vegetables
- cruciferous vegetables
As you can see, these items are all foods that come from the earth which is where all animals and humans get their nutrition. These foods all promote longevity, decrease risk for disease, and they also contain whole food sources of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that require little to no processing to benefit from.
So remember, though it's really easy to get caught up in trends, they simply don't work over the long haul. Reducing the unhealthy foods and replacing them with healthier foods that decrease inflammation is the real key to improving your health. When you can do this, everything else falls into place and health becomes much more than a concept that sees out of reach.
To get started, why not try some Nuzest recipes that feature some of these anti-inflammatory foods?
Heather McClees - Plant-Based Nutritionist and professional health journalist. For Nuzest USA