An alkaline diet is one in which the aim is to keep the acid and alkaline levels in your body system correctly proportioned. The fact of the matter is that while an excess of acidity can be harmful, and in the long term can even lead to death, it is okay to eat some acidic foods. The trick is to maintain a balance, but leaning toward the alkaline side.
The food that we eat plays a major part in this crucial balance. Food acidity can create an excess of acids in our body systems, and if left unaddressed over a long period of time, this can lead to illness. The natural condition of the human body is a slight alkaline state. Our early ancestors would unknowingly have eaten an alkaline diet. This is down to the fact that fresh fruit, vegetables, and unprocessed foods create alkalinity when digested. Their bodies would have been in an alkaline harmony with the very oceans from which all life originated.
Although it may at first sound a little odd, not every acidic food generates acid in your body system through the digestion process; that is not the way that food acidity works. Acid foods, for the purposes of an alkaline diet, are those that are high in acidifying minerals, especially phosphorous and sulfur. Foods can be strongly acidic or strongly alkaline, but there are also those that are mildly biased one way or the other, and these are deemed to be neutral.
Some foods masquerade as being strongly acid before being eaten, but once ingested and digested, they become strongly alkaline. The lemon is one such fruit. Outside of the body it is classed as being strongly acidic, but during digestion, the body is capable of breaking down or metabolizing the lemon's juice, and the "ash" that remains once digestion is completed, is alkaline and therefore beneficial.
Alkaline foods (these are the ones that you should eat to follow an alkaline diet) are those that are found to be rich in alkaline minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The problem with having too much acid in your body system is that it actually depletes your body's reserves of alkaline minerals. This is because these minerals are used in your body's natural defense for neutralizing excess acid. In other words, constantly eating acidic foods will lower your body's levels of alkaline minerals, and this can be severely detrimental to your well being. It is well known for example, that a deficiency in calcium levels (one of your body's essential alkaline minerals), can lead to bone loss and osteoporosis.
The trick in maintaining a healthy alkaline/acidic balance, is to follow an alkaline diet, eating plenty of the right foods. The beauty of it is that most alkaline foods are also healthy foods, full of vitamins and minerals, and are they also tend to be lower in fats and simple carbohydrates. It is no coincidence that fresh fruits and vegetables form part of both a well-balanced calorie controlled diet, and a good alkaline diet; they fulfill the main criteria for belonging to both.
Foods that generate most acid, and that should therefore be minimized on an alkaline diet to keep food acidity in check, are meat and poultry, fish and seafood, many dairy, and eggs. Sugar, sweeteners, and alcohol are also strongly acidic and should therefore be consumed in strict moderation.
A good, well-balanced alkaline diet is not only good for promoting your overall well-being, it is also an excellent diet for weight loss. In other words, it's the best of all worlds.