If you are looking for changes to make to your diet, then you should think of eating more alkaline foods. But what are alkaline foods and why does your body need them? And what are some alkaline foods in Nigeria? We would be looking at all of that in today’s article.
Most of the foods we eat are very acidic, even though we do not realise it. Foods like burgers, sausages, sandwiches, pizza, doughnuts, and other pastries are noted to be quite acidic. When you eat such foods, it causes an increase in the acidic levels in your stomach, since there are already acids there. This would cause your body to work itself to balance or bring down the acid levels in your body. This it does by tapping into the alkaline in your body, with the first source being your bones and teeth, due to the abundance of calcium in those places. Besides calcium, another thing you can do to increase the alkaline in your body is by eating alkaline-rich foods.
What Are Alkaline Foods?
When your body metabolizes food it leaves ash residue behind, also known as metabolic waste. This metabolic waste or ash can be alkaline, neutral, or acidic. What this means is, if you eat foods that leave acidic metabolic waste, it makes your blood more acidic. If you eat foods that leave alkaline metabolic waste, it makes your blood more alkaline. You should note that a food’s acid or alkaline forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the actual pH of the food itself. For example, lemons are very acidic, but the metabolic waste they produce after digestion and assimilation are very alkaline.
Food that leave an acidic waste often contain protein, phosphate, and sulfur, while alkaline foods often contain calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
The body’s pH
The pH is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline something is, and the pH value ranges from 0–14. Acidic pH ranges from 0.0–6.9, neutral pH is 7.0, while alkaline or basic pH ranges from 7.1–14.0.
The human blood is always slightly alkaline, with a pH of 7.36–7.44, while the pH of the stomach is very acidic and has a pH of 2.0–3.5. These pH levels are normal and good. Certain disease conditions, such as ketoacidosis caused by diabetes, starvation, or alcohol intake can affect the pH of the blood. However, in most cases, the foods you eat can only change the pH value of your urine.
Note that urine pH does not indicate the overall body pH and your body’s overall health. It can also be influenced by factors other than what you eat.
Are there are benefits of eating alkaline-rich foods?
First of all, alkaline foods are good for you and generally healthy. They have many health benefits and useful nutritional properties. However, note that, alkaline foods are not healthy because they affect the pH of the body. Alkaline foods don’t affect the pH levels of the blood or stomach. The only pH levels they can affect is that of the urine, and urine pH doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy or not.
In addition, no reliable medical studies have shown that eating alkaline foods will “alkalize the body’s pH” the body to make it healthy. Some studies show that eating low protein, alkaline diet may benefit people with chronic kidney disease.
5 Healthy Nigerian Alkaline Foods
Like I mentioned earlier, alkaline-rich foods are very good and healthy. Some Nigerians who want to go on an alkaline diet, might decide to eat alkaline foods. The good thing about this is that foods rich in alkaline are foods we are already used to and can easily get, meaning you do not have to go out of your way to provide your body with alkaline foods.
We would be looking at some of those alkaline foods, and alkaline fruits in Nigeria.
1. Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables, like spinach, fluted pumpkin leaves, bitter leaves and lettuce, are very important in our meals. They supply the body with tons of nutrients that do everything from strengthening the immune system to improving eyesight. These vegetables are alkaline, and also rich in fiber, which makes them great for the digestive system. There are many other healthy Nigerian leafy vegetables you can eat.
2. Root Vegetables
Root vegetables like carrots and potatoes supply your body with alkali, which balances the pH levels. Carrots are best eaten raw, so long they are washed clean. Potatoes should not be overcooked so that they do not lose all their goodness. Irish potatoes are great for you, and have many amazing health benefits.
Fruits contain a lot of nutrients, and alkali as well. One of the best alkaline foods you can eat is citrus fruits. Citrus fruits might seem acidic, but they provide the body with alkali, helping the body find relief from acidity. Other kinds of alkaline fruits in Nigeria you should eat include lemons, garden eggs, dates, pineapple, Nigerian grapefruit, tomatoes, bananas, watermelon, avocado, coconuts, and apples.
4. Egg White
Eating the white part of a boiled egg also supplies your body with alkaline. It is also very rich in protein.
Cooking with millet would be a great choice if you are looking for alkaline-forming foods. Millet is one of the few grains that supply the body with alkaline. It is also low on the glycemic index, meaning it is good for those with diabetes as eating it would not cause a sharp spike in blood sugar levels. Millet also digests easily and improves overall digestion. A lot of Nigerian foods are prepared with millet such as Pap (Akamu or ogi), kunnu zaki, and Millet fufu swallow.
Eating alkaline foods are good for the body. They are full of nutrients, and should be eaten often. Some Nigerian alkaline foods are millers, leafy vegetables, egg white, and citrus fruits.
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