With life throwing so many other stressors at you, the last thing you need is your body feeling out of whack. Yet many people deal with these symptoms daily and they don’t know why. These experiences are frustrating and exhausting and can make you feel out of control.
However, those shifts in mood and energy crashes don’t have to remain a mystery.
Many people are unaware of the connection, but your gut has immense power over the way that you feel. Your gut — responsible for your digestion — could be causing these chaotic disruptions to your daily life. For this reason, many celebrities and wellness experts have sworn by the alkaline diet: a diet in which you eat foods with a higher pH in order to offset the acidity that builds in your stomach. Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Elle Macpherson are just a few of this diet’s success stories — and the secret is simpler than you might think.
Why does your gut’s pH matter?
A digestive imbalance might only feel like a small stomachache in the moment — it might feel like it’s not a big deal. But that small feeling is a telltale sign that your gut is affecting the rest of your body in more subtle, disconnected ways.
As Jay Pasricha, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology, explains, your gut and your brain “‘talk’ to each other, so therapies that help one may help the other. In a way, gastroenterologists (doctors who specialize in digestive conditions) are like counselors looking for ways to soothe the second brain. ” So assisting your gut to maintain its balance could help your brain achieve the same.
Which foods are best for an alkaline diet?
When your body performs optimally it exists in a slight alkaline state, or a state where the pH of your gut is slightly more basic. Of course, swaying too far to the basic end of the pH scale is caustic as well; it’s all about finding your optimal balance.
Experiment with foods slightly basic in pH, called alkaline foods. Many vegetables, such as mushrooms, broccoli, and spinach are ideal for an alkaline diet. According to popular health personality Dr. Josh Axe, however, cooking these foods could result in a reduction of the alkalizing effect. While cooked broccoli is certainly tastier, munching on raw broccoli with some hummus, for example, might be a better idea if you’re looking to aid your digestion. Steaming vegetables has a slightly less harsh effect on them and could serve as another ideal alternative.
The good news is that vegetables aren’t the only foods that optimize your gut with an alkalizing effect. Sweet treats such as dates, bananas, and figs could boost your gut health. Additionally, avocados, olive oil, and coconut provide delicious healthy fats alongside their alkalizing benefits.
Foods to avoid: Caffeine, alcohol, and many processed foods are highly acidic. These foods have the potential to upset your digestion and cause your gut pH to sway to the extreme. There is a reason you don’t feel well after eating something highly processed: Listen to your body and eat these foods in moderation.
Overall, the foods which alkalize your stomach to encourage an ideal pH balance are typically the foods we know to be healthiest. Grains, healthy fats, and fibrous fruits and vegetables all fall beneath this umbrella category of alkalizing foods. Fill your plate and your refrigerator with quality foods — that’s all you need to do to optimize your gut health.
Of course, no food is good for your diet in the extreme — eating only these healthy foods could be harmful, as well, and could sway your pH in the opposite direction. Acidic foods such as coffee and processed sugars won’t make or break your gut health in small quantities.
Just remember to allow yourself these foods when you crave them and refrain from them when you don’t. Your gut and your cravings are likely telling you something, and it’s a good idea to listen to them. Sometimes, eating a cookie is the right choice!