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The Alkaline Diet, also known as the Alkaline Ash Diet, is being touted as the latest health craze.

The Diet is based on the belief that certain foods, when consumed, leave an alkaline residue or ‘ash’ that is beneficial to the body. This ‘ash’ ensures that the body’s pH level (level of acidity and alkalinity) remains slightly alkaline and therefore allows the body to perform at an optimum level with consequent health benefits. These include weight loss, improved digestion, increased energy levels and lower blood pressure. The Diet is also said to help alleviate seasonal allergies, joint pains, inflammation and urinary problems.

The Diet prescribes high-alkaline foods such as vegetables (including broccoli, celery, garlic, parsley and spinach), fruit (including apples, dates, dried figs, grapes, kiwi, papayas, pears and raisins) herbal teas and lemon water, all of which help reduce the body’s acidity level. Acidic foods (such as red meat, shellfish, sugar and artificial sweeteners) and caffeinated beverages are discouraged when following the Diet, because it is believed that an acidic diet can drain the body of essential minerals and vitamins, which results in an increased risk of high blood pressure, inflammation, osteoporosis and reduced immunity among others.

Despite its popularity, the Diet has its share of detractors. Some researchers feel that the body’s own natural regulatory mechanism prevents the pH level of blood from varying significantly; they further state that the Diet has no proven benefits.
Whatever the case may be, the Diet has found thousands of followers the world over, including celebrities Kirsten Dunst, Chris Hemsworth and Gwyneth Paltrow. Although they may not be expert authorities on the subject, their physical fitness is enough of a motivator for many people to try the Diet out.

As always, before trying out any diet it is recommended that you consult your physician.

– Dr Samia Khan
The writer is Director, Health Awareness Society.