Nowadays you can’t go more than a few moments without being bombarded by some new health product that claims that it can “detoxify” your body and purify it from the many toxins that allegedly plague you on a daily basis. If we are to believe the claims put forward by the proponents of all these detox diets and treatments, we’re barely a hair’s breadth from keeling over at any given moment, but the truth is the whole idea behind the whole detox movement is little better than a carefully constructed myth designed to sell 21st century snake oil.
The Fakes and Hucksters
The worst part is that the companies and individuals touting these detox cures have latched onto a real, clinical term reserved for chronic substance abuse sufferers that actually do need to detoxify from their addiction. The idea of equating the supposed inability of your body to purify itself through removing toxicity as waste (which is what the kidneys, the liver, and the skin do regularly) to the need for someone addicted on a substance such as heroin to get clean is offensive in the extreme, yet untold millions still swear up and down that the specific diet they follow or the supplements they take are “detoxifying” their body in some magical way.
In many instances, these detox cures and products are even constructed specifically to dupe you into thinking that they’re working properly. Some of the tactics of quack medicines include so-called “detoxifying” foot pads that purportedly draw toxins from the soles of your feet as you sleep, turning brown the next morning to show how well they worked – except that many times these foot pads are simply impregnated with a substance that turns brown when it comes in contact with human sweat. It’s hardly an honest bit of marketing, but with little to no regulation in the realm of detox cures there’s not much that can be done to stop the spread of people peddling their so-called miracle cures, all while happily accepting massive sums of cash for their products.
This isn’t to say that the things you put on – or in – your body don’t have a positive or a negative effect on your health. To say otherwise would be to claim ignorance in the face of decades of modern nutritional science. While there is no such thing as a detox diet, there are ways to increase your health by changing your eating habits – one of these techniques gaining popularity is eating foods that can restore a positive acid-alkaline balance to your body. Whether or not attempting to alkalize your body does indeed change your natural pH levels, the types of foods that purportedly do this are the types of foods that are extremely healthy for you.
First Thing in the Morning
Proponents of an alkalizing diet plan recommend beginning the process first thing in the morning. The idea is to keep your bodily pH level slightly over neutral. With the pH scale ranging from 1 (totally acidic) to 14 (completely alkaline), most alkalized diet plans say the pH target for your body should be at around 7.4.
Water in its naturally occurring state is right around seven pH in normal circumstances. Drinking plenty of the water is important to rehydrate yourself after you awake, but many proponents of alkaline diets recommend drinking alkalized water first thing in the morning in order to get that extra boost. It might sound like quack medicine, but there’s early scientific evidence that supports the theory. In fact, many doctors have counselled patients with legitimate medical concerns related to increased acidity to drink water with a high alkaline content – around 8.8 pH – in order to treat conditions like acid reflux or reduce the possibility of kidney stones. However, there has been little evidence beyond this to support that drinking high levels of alkaline water has further health benefits.
It’s largely irrelevant whether alkalized water actually will help you keep your pH balance better than regular water, though. The fact is that keeping hydrated is incredibly important for anyone, and not just those looking to increase their pH balance. This is especially true because many individuals simply don’t drink enough water on a daily basis, which means that it may be less about the alkalinity of the water, and more about the water itself, which helps balance your pH levels.
The Food You Eat
Proponents of alkaline diets also say that there are some fantastic choices out there for anyone looking for high-alkalinity foods that will bring up your overall pH balance and help you live a healthier life. While the human body does of course have the capability of equalizing its own pH level, this ability can become compromised by ailments like kidney disease. Increasing the amount of alkalizing foods in your diet purportedly makes it easier for your body to balance your pH when it has trouble doing it on its own.
There are a number of foods that are said to have alkalizing properties. Most of these food choices are extremely healthy choices irrelevant of their alkaline levels, as they typically include whole fruits and vegetables and non-meat protein sources. Vegetables rich in nutrients and antioxidants such as broccoli and spinach are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals for anyone, not just those looking to balance their body’s pH levels, and the relatively high fiber in those vegetables and most whole fruits are also beneficial in regulating blood sugar levels and reducing inflammation naturally. Since most alkaline diets cut out meat-based sources of protein almost completely, the inclusion of protein sources like tofu, chestnuts and almonds provide for proper nutrition and prevent protein deficiency. The alkalizing effects of these foods, if any, are in many ways a secondary benefit to their other many health benefits.
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