Unlike most diets, alkaline diet focuses on preventing diseases such as urinary tract infection and heart disease.
The Marchioness of Worcester who has survived breast cancer credits her recovery to alkaline diet, but as an 'additional' therapy. A former director of the Soil Association, a charity that promotes organic food, she claimed that alkaline diet helped her overall health – a must in the therapy of breast cancer or any other cancer for that matter.
Let us take a look at what alkaline diet is really about and why is it such a rave these days. Unlike most diets that focus primarily on weight loss, alkaline diet focuses on preventing diseases caused by acid-base imbalance in the body.
Alkaline diet is all about consuming foods that help maintain a neutral (pH=7) or slightly alkaline (pH=7.4) blood reading. The pH is a measurement of the concentration of hydrogen ions in a substance. A pH of less than 7 is acidic and a pH of more than 7 is alkaline, water being neutral with pH=7. Since one of the most important measurements of health is the pH of the body fluids, it is very important to have an acid-base balance. Any imbalance, especially those leaning towards acidic, could be associated with health disorders including obesity, tiredness, premature aging, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
In a way, the Marchioness has a point when she says that alkaline foods helped her overall health and aided her in cancer recovery. For example, a review of the relationship between diet-induced acidosis (pH imbalance caused by accumulation of acids or depletion of bicarbonates) and cancer published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism
reveals that acidosis has a role in the initiation and progression of cancer. Says Ian Forrest Robey, the author of this review, ‘
While there are no studies showing a direct link between diet-induced acidosis and cancer, acid-base disequilibrium has been shown to modulate molecular activity including adrenal glucocorticoid, insulin growth factor (IGF-1), and adipocyte cytokine signaling, dysregulated cellular metabolism, and osteoclast activation, which may serve as intermediary or downstream effectors of carcinogenesis or tumor promotion. In short, diet-induced acidosis may influence molecular activities at the cellular level that promote carcinogenesis or tumor progression’.
The acid-base status is not only important in dealing with cancer, but studies published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology
have shown that alkalization increases the capacity for high intensity exercise. Similarly, clinical nutrition studies have shown that the use of infant and preterm formulas that contain excessive amounts of acid equivalents may cause growth retardation of the infants.
Considering these facts, there may be value in promoting alkaline environment in your body and have an ideal acid-base balance by making smart food choices in the form of alkaline diet.