This morning I came across an interesting article titled “Why you Should Drink Warm Water and Lemon.” Well when I wake up in the morning I go straight for 32 ounces of cold water, so I was curious to learn why warm lemon water was a good thing. According to the article, it boosts your immune system, aids in digestion, clears skin, helps with weight loss, and balances pH. Balances pH? Am I back in chemistry class? Apparently lemons are an incredibly alkaline food, and now I know you are wondering why that even matters. (I was too!) Then I remembered last year reading The Paleo Diet for Athletes, which also discusses alkaline and acidic foods. Today, I decided to refresh my knowledge on alkaline foods…
What is the idea behind eating alkaline foods and why is this particularly important for athletes?
Rich Roll, who is an ultratriathlete vegan, strongly believes in plant power. One of the benefits he says for eating a plant based diet is that their alkaline properties help reduce inflammation, which helps with recovery. This is in contrast to acid producing foods such as meat and dairy. Now don’t get confused with what the food is outside of your body. It’s what the food does inside your body that is important.
The typical Western diet is net acid producing because of foods such as grains, cheeses, and salty processed foods. The athlete has even more blood acidosis going on because of the by-products of exercise. Your blood however, will do all that it can to maintain a pH of around 7.4. If there is too much acidosis going on, your blood will do all that it can to maintain that pH. If this means taking calcium from your bones and breaking down muscle tissues, then that is what will happen. To stop this from happening, you should eat net alkaline producing foods. There are a lot of alkaline foods you can eat. Just think green veggies, tropical fruit, berries, and tofu. Here are a few detailed lists of these foods:
Benefits of eating an alkaline diet include helping with inflammation, heart disease, type II diabetes, and increasing mineral absorption. Luckily I have a bag of lemons in my refrigerator so I’ll be able to have my warm water with lemon tomorrow. I think it’s so incredible the role diet can play in our ability to perform, recover, and take on the day. I am the worst for coming home after a long Saturday workout and going straight for the not so good for me food. Soft pretzels from Flying Saucer are my favorite. I think if I really want to achieve my running dreams, I need to pay a little more attention to my diet. I plan to start experimenting with this idea of alkaline foods. Let’s see how it goes!
Happy Trails and Happy Running,
(Source: The Paleo Diet for Athletes)