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(NaturalNews) Many people have heard or read about how avoiding acidic foods and eating more alkaline ones can help reduce your risk of cancer, but often without understanding the definitions of "acidic" and "alkaline" being used.
Acidic and alkaline substances are, in a sense, chemical opposites. When they react, they tend to produce "neutral" salts and water. Acidity is indicated by pH, with water being neutral at 7, numbers lower than 7 (down to zero) indicating acidity, and higher numbers (up to 14) indicating alkalinity.
But a food that is chemically acidic, such as lemons, might actually have an alkaline effect in the body, by lowering the body's internal pH. Thus, lemons are actually an "alkaline food" according to alkaline diet theory.
Eat like our ancestors did
According to the alkaline diet model, an acidic environment within the body causes toxic waste products to build up, producing various health problems and disease, most infamously, cancer.
"The focus for preventing and reversing cancer must be on maintaining the alkaline pH of the body fluids, and a recognition that cancer is a systemic acidic condition," writes Robert O. Young, author of The pH Miracle.
Acidic foods include meat, dairy, processed sugar, refined grains, junk food, caffeine and alcohol. These foods, formerly rare in our diets, have come to dominate the Western diet in recent decades (and are growing in popularity worldwide). Alkaline foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, along with most nuts and seeds.
In this model, acidic foods are not "bad foods" – they're just not foods that should form the core of the human diet. According to Young, the ideal diet consists of 80 percent alkaline foods and just 20 percent acidic foods.
If you have been eating an acidic diet for some time, you might want to emphasize some of the more highly alkaline foods in order to help re-balance your body. Some of the most potent alkaline foods include buckwheat (a great wheat substitute), flax seeds and oil, olive oil, melons and cabbage. Other good alkaline foods include avocados, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, garlic, grapefruit, green beans and peas, lemons and limes, lettuce, millet, onions (including green onions), parsley, pears, pumpkin, radishes, sesame seeds and tahini, soy beans and products, spinach, sprouts, tomatoes, wild rice and zucchini.
You can also drink a daily tonic of a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in 7 ounces of lemon juice (a little less than a cup), in order to help flush acid wastes from the body and produce an alkaline pH.
Feel the health benefits
According to Young, moving your pH towards alkaline can provide immediate health benefits, even beyond the reduced risk of cancer. That's because over time, an acidic body and the waste it produces degrade all bodily tissues and systems. According to the website pH Miracle Living: "If left unchecked, it will interrupt all cellular activities and functions, from the beating of your heart to the neural firing of your brain. In summary, over-acidification interferes with life itself leading to all sickness and disease!"
Thus, restoring your body's alkaline pH helps remove these chronic symptoms, including fatigue, weakness and poor muscle tone, and lack of endurance.
An overly acidic environment can also produce allergies, including food allergies. Young notes that this stems from the acidic body's weakened immune system being unable to properly digest proteins, thereby leaving behind partially broken down amino acids that can produce allergic reactions.
Young says that fat is also a defense mechanism the body uses to protect internal organs from an overly acidic environment. Thus, an acidic diet produces obesity and an alkaline diet helps prevent or reverse it.