Alkaline Diets – The Many Benefits They Provide

Michela DiTocco
You may not have heard of this up-and-coming craze but let’s explore the alkaline diet. It’s not only a great way to control your weight, but will also help you lead a healthier lifestyle. The foods are divided into two groups, either being acid or alkaline based. It is believed that a healthy alkaline diet is composed of 20% of acid-forming foods and 80% of alkaline-forming foods.
Foods that generally produce an alkaline residue include citrus fruits and other low sugar fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. This is what a majority of western diets lack these days and is potentially why our bodies are out of balance. Foods to avoid include grains, dairy, meat, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and fungi. (A more extensive list can be found at http://www.energiseforlife.com/list_of_alkaline_foods.php ).
Our blood has a pH level around 7.3-7.4, which is slightly alkaline; therefore our dietary intake should reflect this. This level is important as the body is able to function and absorb minerals at an optimal level. In today’s society as our diet replicates an acid-producing diet, our body attempts to restore this balance. Therefore the main reason for partaking in the alkaline diet is to restore the body’s acid-base homeostasis (balance), and to avoid any associated diseases/health issues common to metabolic acidosis. Diets high in acid-producing foods tend to disrupt the pH levels in the blood, causing the body to use stored essential minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium to rebalance our pH levels and depleting these mineral stores and leading to other possible heaAlkaline Diet Chartlth issues. It has been stated that the lower your blood pH levels (more acidic), the more prone you are to storing fat, increasing your weight.
This diet is recommended for people who feel tired or lack energy, have a lot of stress in their lives, suffer from viral infections, frequent colds and flu, nasal congestions, digestion problems, headaches, anxiety, ovarian cysts, and muscle and joint pains and spasms. Some common health benefits associated to an alkaline diet include: an increase in energy levels, an increase in bone mass (more predominantly in the older population), prevention of osteoporosis, arthritis, age-related muscle wasting and the formation of calcium kidney stones.
Overall there are many people who can benefit from the alkaline diet and there is much research and many cook books dedicated to this topic. If you have any medical or health concerns, consult your doctor before beginning such a program. It’s completely natural and there are no added supplements or products to buy, so why not try an alkaline diet today and see the benefits it can give you.



Vitamin D

Revolution Personal TrainingVitamin D plays an important role in the absorption of calcium as well as bone growth and remodeling. It also plays a part in regulating the functions of the immune system as well as reducing inflammation. Vitamin D is not naturally present in many food because it is predominately produced in the body as a result of exposure to direct sunlight. However vitamin D levels can be supported by dietary intake, especially in people who do not have high levels of exposure to sunlight. Food such as cod liver oil, fish, milk and egg are good sources of vitamin d. It is recommended that production of vitamin D is primarily resulting from contact with sunlight however an intake of up to 10*g may be required for those who are house ridden or receive very little sunlight this can be obtained from 2/3 cup cod liver oil, 180g salmon or 8 cups of milk.


Vitamin E

Vitamin E has many important functions in the body.  It acts as an anti-oxidant preventing free radicals from damaging healthy cells, as well as assisting immune function and cell signaling.  The recommended dietary intake for vitamin E is at least 10mg per day.  The best sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils and margarine as well as whole grains, seeds, nuts, wheat germ and green leafy vegetables although processing these types of foods can detract from the nutrient quality and composition.  So as always pick foods with as little human interference as possible!  A deficiancy in vitamin E is usually only a result of fat absorption disorders but adequate intake is important to help regulate free radical activity.


Vitamin K

Vitamin K has an important role in the body, it is involved in keeping your bones healthy and helping to form blood clots. While generally when you hear of blood clots you think of the negative aspect, they are also an important part of the bodies healing process. When you cut or graze yourself, blood clots form to seal the wound and prevent further blood loss. This is where Vitamin K is important. Without adequate intake, people can experience excessive blood loss when a wound is opened. However deficiency of this vitamin is very rare and usually only occurs in people who have intestinal absorption disorders or who have been using antibiotics for lengthy periods of time. A well balanced diet will usually supply the body with an adequate intake of vitamin K which can be found in green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and cauliflower.


Will muscles turn into fat if we stop exercising?

Personal TrainingBy David Atkinson
This is a common question that is asked by clients and the general public and it’s a simple answer – no it can’t.
The fact is, muscle and fat are two completely different types of tissue and cannot convert to one another.
When we stop exercising our muscles decrease in size and fat cells can increase in size giving the appearance of muscle turning into fat. This is because after we stop exercising we have the tendency to forget about altering our diet to compensate for the lack of energy use and we continue consume the same amount of calories we had when we were working out. This means that we are burning less energy while consuming the same amount. Generally this puts us on the side of the energy balance equation (energy in (food) Vs energy out (day to day body functions & exercise!!)) that we do not want to be on with all the excess energy being stored in the form of fat.
When we do participate in regular exercise we increase the rate at which we burn energy and this effect can last for a few hours after we have been exercising, this means that we can burn off more fat even when we are resting. So if you stop exercising you will have to eat less or you will gain weight.
In the Human body there are lots of different cells and in this case we are looking at the skeletal muscle cells and fat cells, they have different structures and functions and during exercise they react in different ways.
Here are some facts about both muscle and fat cells.
–       Muscle cells increase in size with strength training
–       Muscle cells decrease in size without strength training
–       Are larger than fat cells
–       You always keep the same amount of muscle cells they just increase and decrease in size
–       Unlike fat, each muscle can be targeted, so you can choose the area
to improve
–       Fat cells are smaller than Muscle cells
–       When we are aerobically fit they decrease in size
–       Cells designed to store fat
–       They store energy, but energy that is not needed straight away
–       Fat insulates the body
–       Fat can only be reduced if the number of kilojoules expended in a day exceeds the number of kilojoules consumed in a day
So remember that Muscle is Muscle and Fat is Fat!


The Squeeze on Fresh Juices

By Kate Bruzzaniti
Lately it seems there is a “fresh juice bar” on every corner. With an abundance of fruit combinations to choose from; and for an extra buck or two added natural supplements to do everything from help you relax, to getting your metabolism soaring; it is no wonder people are lining up for their large cup of freshly squeezed juice at lunch. After all, it is the easy way to get all of our fruit requirements for the day in one hit, is this not the perfect afternoon pick me up?
Maybe, depending on the size and the type of fruit combination you choose. Many juices are jammed packed with calories, think of the juice combination you prefer, a favourite of mine is the Two & Five Juice from Boost – The juice of 2 oranges, 2 apple, 3 carrots,1 piece of celery, beetroot & a Vita Booster. The standard Medium size cup contains 148.5 calories, the large cup a whopping 214.5 calories.
Although the calories are from fruit, they are still extra calories so if you are close to your daily limit the juice may push you well and truly into a surplus.
Another point to consider is that when fruit is juiced it looses a high percentage of the fibre content. Much of the fibre in certain fruits is in the skin and pulp, i.e. what is cleaned out of the juicer and put into the bin.
So am I saying steer clear of fresh juice bars? No, they are a fine way to up your fruit intake on occasion, just be sure to consciously choose what goes into your juice and adjust your calories for the day, but where possible eating the whole fruit is the better option.