6 Alkalizing Super Greens You Probably Aren’t Eating Enough Of

by: Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD

You want to feel your best, but in our toxic world there is a lot working against that goal. Pollution, chemicals, and stress, just to name a few, all have a major negative impact on your health and how you feel. But, let’s be honest most of us have less than ideal diets, eating too few healthy veggies, like leafy greens, and too many processed foods. All of these external factors, in combination with not enough nutrients, all impact our health and can throw off your body’s pH. Since it’s likely you don’t give much thought to pH levels, let’s take a look at why it is important for your health and how a healthy diet, and greens in particular, helps keeps it balanced.

Food Plays a Big Role in Maintaining Healthy pH

Let’s take a step back to high school chemistry and talk a little bit about pH level. pH is a scale that ranks various substances based on how acidic or basic they are. A neutral pH is seven. Any substance that falls below seven is considered an acid, anything above seven is a base, also referred to as alkaline. For example, lemon juice has a pH of two, meaning it’s very acidic. Bleach has a pH of 13, making it a strong base.

There are toxic substances at both ends of the spectrum. Your body also has an ideal pH, between 7.35 and 7.45. It works hard to maintain this slightly alkaline range. If it isn’t able to maintain this range, it could cause complete shutdown of all systems.

How Greens Help

Maintaining a slightly alkaline state is associated with higher energy, better digestion, increased mental function, and lower inflammation. Whereas acidosis or moving outside of this range can cause fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, and inflammation. [1] As you can see it is pretty critical to keep pH tightly controlled.

Although your body is able to maintain this pH range well-controlled under most normal circumstances, poor diet, pollution, and stress, make it a very challenging task. All of these factors can make the body more acidic.

Therefore, your body must do whatever it takes to keep the pH alkaline. It does so by removing calcium from the bones, which neutralizes the acid. Over time, using calcium for this purpose starts to diminish the strength of our bones. It is believed that over ½ our skeletal mass is lost simply trying to prevent acidosis. [2]

But, there is hope. Certain foods are considered “alkalizing” meaning they help the body maintain proper pH, so it is not forced to borrow calcium from your bones. In general, these foods are high in alkalizing nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, chloride, chlorophyll, and calcium.

It’s no surprise that the top alkalizing foods are greens, and that most of us aren’t getting enough of them.

– Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD

Here are some of the best alkalizing greens that will help your body more easily maintain its ideal pH.

Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is the sprouted version of the common wheat plant. It is harvested early in its growth, after about 7-10 days, of planting. And is widely used for its many health benefits. Wheatgrass is incredibly high in chlorophyll, amino acids, and valuable antioxidants. These nutrients make it highly alkalizing, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-bacterial. [3]

One thing to note, even though the word “wheat” is in the name, wheatgrass is actually gluten-free.

Kale

Kale is a popular green leafy vegetable and member of the cruciferous family, similar to broccoli and Brussel’s sprouts. It is high in nutrients, such as vitamins, K, A, and C. Kale is also high in two alkalizing minerals magnesium and calcium. [4]

Spinach

Spinach is a versatile leafy green that can be easily eaten raw or lightly sautéed. It is a natural source of alkalizing nutrients such as magnesium and calcium. It is also a great source of vitamin K and folate, important for blood clotting and DNA production. [5]

Spirulina

Spirulina is a blue-green algae that grows in water that is rich in alkalizing minerals. By absorbing the minerals from the water these tiny algae contain almost every necessary nutrient for human health. Spirulina is particularly high in iron, copper, and B-vitamins. It has the perfect ratio of healthy omega fats, boosting its alkalinizing, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. [6]

Olive leaf extract

Olive leaf extract is derived from the leaves of the olive tree. It is an incredible source of an antioxidant called oleuropein. This antioxidant has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve blood sugar, and work as an anti-inflammatory agent in the body. All of these benefits, make it a highly alkalizing food. [7]

Celery

Celery, a popular food for people trying lose weight, actually has more health benefits than just its low calorie content. Celery is also high in potassium, an electrolyte necessary for maintaining alkalinity. It has also been found to have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. [8]

Prior to our current industrialized era and on our constant consumption of diets high in sugar, processed fats, salt, and caffeine, our bodies didn’t have to work as hard to maintain proper pH balance.

But now, in our highly acidic environment, our bodies must be constantly struggling to preserve an ideal alkaline environment. These six green superfoods can help give your body a little break, making it work a bit less to keep you healthy and feeling your best.

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References
[1] Schwalfenberg GK. The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health? Journal of Environmental and Public Health. 2012;2012:727630.

[2] Fenton TR, Eliasziw M, Lyon AW, Tough SC, Hanley DA. Meta-analysis of the quantity of calcium excretion associated with the net acid excretion of the modern diet under the acid-ash diet hypothesis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008;88(4):1159-66.

[3] Rana S, Kamboj JK, Gandhi V. Living the natural way- Wheatgrass and Health. Functional Foods in Health and Disease. 2011;1(11):444-456.

[4] Sikora E, Bodziarczyk I. Composition and antioxidant activity of kale (Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala) raw and cooked. Acta Sci Pol Technol Aliment. 2012;11(3):239-248.

[5] Food Composition Databases Show Foods — Spinach, raw. Ndb.nal.usda.gov. Published 2018. Accessed October 18, 2018.

[6] Deng R, Chow TJ. Hypolipidemic, Antioxidant and Antiinflammatory Activities of Microalgae Spirulina. Cardiovascular Therapeutics. 2010;28(4), e33–e45.

[7] Lee OH, Lee BY. Antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of individual and combined phenolics in Olea europaea leaf extract. Bioresource Technology. 2010;101(10):3751-3754.

[8] Li MY, Hou XL, Wang F, Tan GF, Xu ZS, Xiong AS. Advances in the research of celery, an important Apiaceae vegetable crop. Crit Rev Biotechnol. 2018;38(2):172-183.

Author

Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD, Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist & Writer

Ana is a Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist and freelance writer with 11-years of experience in the field of nutrition and dietetics. Currently, she works to share her nutrition expertise on a larger scale as an author. She writes for major health brands and nutrition websites such as Abbott, Walgreens, and Chalene Johnson. Through her writing, she demonstrates her passion for helping people achieve ideal health and make transformational changes in their lives.

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