Which alkaline foods are good for gut health?

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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Switch to an alkaline diet by including these foods to maintain healthy pH levels in your gut.

It takes just a few clicks to order food online, and while that has made life simpler, it has also given rise to various health complications! We tend to binge on unhealthy food and our gut continues to cry out for help. This also means that it is important to maintain the pH levels of your stomach, in order to enjoy a good metabolism and stay protected from digestive issues. So, what’s the solution? A diet with alkaline foods is your best bet!

What is an alkaline diet?

Dr Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head, Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Max Hospitals, Saket, New Delhi, tells HeathShots, “Eating alkaline foods helps to maintain the pH of the body, reduces the acid load and boosts the body’s energy levels, thereby improving health. The alkaline diet focuses on consuming foods that have an alkaline effect on the body. Our blood is slightly alkaline, and our stomachs highly acidic, so eating alkaline foods will help in maintaining the pH on the alkaline side”.

An alkaline diet lays emphasis on consuming more vegetables, fruits, drinking lots of water, and reducing intake of sugar, alcohol, as well as non-vegetarian food especially meat, dairy and processed foods. Hence, adding certain vegetables, fruits and nuts that have high pH levels can help you maintain a healthy gut.

Dr Samaddar mentions a few foods that must be included, as a part of your daily diet.

1. Vegetables:

  • Broccoli:

    This green vegetable is all you need in your diet to stay healthy. It promotes healthy gut bacteria, bowel health, and improves your immune health.

alkaline food
Broccoli and green veggies are evergreen superfoods! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Spinach:

    Loaded with a host of nutrients and antioxidants, this leafy veggie keeps your bowel movement healthy and maintains the acidity levels in your stomach.

  • Beetroot:

    It is packed with essential nutrients as well as fibre, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. Beetroots also help to regulate your blood flow, endurance and metabolism rate.

  • Beans:

    Beans are one the healthiest vegetables, as they contain protein, folate, antioxidants etc that help you keep fatty liver, various heart diseases, diabetes and glucose metabolism in check.

  • Vegetable juices:

    Consumption of vegetable juices, especially during the winter season, helps to maintain the acid level in the stomach.

2. Fruits:

  • Lemons:

    They contain a high amount of vitamin C, soluble fiber, and plant compounds, which may aid in weight loss and reduce your risk of heart disease, anemia, kidney stones, digestive issues, and cancer.

Add these fruits in your alkaline diet plan! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Grapefruit:

    It contains vitamins A and C, and has been proven to help in healthy immune function.

  • Kiwi:

    Kiwis are high in vitamin C and dietary fiber, and this tart fruit also helps to support heart health, digestive health, and immunity.

  • Grapes:

    Packed with potassium, vitamins C and K, and antioxidants, grapes are one of the juiciest fruits that helps to keep your body hydrated.

  • Apple:

    An apple a day keeps the doctor away ! Well, this is true because this fruit contains antioxidants and fibre, which aids in digestion and supports a healthy immune system.

3. Nuts:

  • Almonds:

    Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. They keep you fuller for a long time and aids in weight loss. Also, it’s alkaline in nature and controls acidity level, if eaten at the appropriate time.

  • Flaxseeds:

    Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 acids and dietary fiber. They are considered probiotic food due to high fibre and it breaks down in the gut and ends up providing good bacteria to the gut’s microbiome, which has been linked to digestion, immunity, mood, and weight loss.

alkaline foods
You may not know the benefits of flaxseeds for healthy immune!  Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are some other tips, as suggested by Dr Samaddar

1. As alkaline foods mainly comprise fruits and vegetables, it is sometimes difficult to follow the diet on a regular basis.
2. One needs to track their protein intake, as fruits and vegetables are low in protein content. Alongside, try and increase the intake of beans, soy and legumes.
3. While alkaline diets/foods are good for weight loss, make sure to also have an abundance of all the vitamins and minerals.
4. These diets are anti-inflammatory and loaded with antioxidants.

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