This expanded second edition provides the latest information on restoring your body’s acid-alkaline balance
• Discusses the role of enzyme supplements, prebiotic and probiotic complexes, and antioxidants in neutralizing and eliminating acids
• Addresses the relationship of proper hydration to essential enzyme activity and acid elimination
• Outlines a sample alkaline detoxification diet
Most people consume an abundance of highly processed foods that acidify the body. As a result, they are afflicted with health problems ranging from minor skin irritations, chronic fatigue, back pain, and depression to arthritis, ulcers, and osteoporosis. To enjoy optimum health, the body needs balanced quantities of alkaline and acid substances. In The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health, naturopath and detoxification expert Christopher Vasey shows how a simple change in diet to restore your acid-alkaline balance can result in vast improvements in health.
With two new chapters, this updated and expanded second edition provides the latest information on proper hydration and deacidification, important alkalizing supplements, and how to eliminate the body’s accumulated acids through intestinal cleansing. It also includes a new, detailed example of an alkaline detoxifying diet. Rather than organizing alkaline and acid foods based on their chemical composition, Vasey categorizes foods by their effect on the body, explaining that some foods, such as fruits, can have either an alkalizing or an acidifying effect, depending on who eats them. He describes how to determine your acid levels and how to design a diet best suited for your particular health needs.
In addition to the alkaline minerals mentioned in the previous chapter, there are other supplements that are quite useful for deacidifying the body: green food, enzyme supplements, prebiotic and probiotic complexes, and antioxidant complexes. All four reduce the production of acids by the body.
People suffering from an acidified internal cellular environment are generally not eating enough vegetables, the principal food source for alkaline minerals. The result is a deficiency not only of alkaline substances, but also of enzymes. Enzymes play an important role for maintaining the acid-alkaline balance.
Enzymes are protein-based molecules that act as catalysts in biochemical reactions, triggering and supervising the reactions. Enzymes perform numerous transformations in the body without which it could not survive.
Every enzyme has a specific function that no other enzyme can perform. Enzymes are necessary for the digestion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and for their assimilation and incorporation into the tissues; for the production of energy; for cellular repair; for the breakdown and elimination of toxins; for the body’s defense system; and so forth. There are thousands of enzymes in the body, acting in synergy. As each is responsible for only a specific part of the work, different enzymes work together, each stepping in at a specific moment and at a precise place in the long chain of biochemical transformations.
Enzymes are distributed throughout the cells and tissues, each type of enzyme located at the exact spot the body needs it. The body is constantly producing new enzymes to replace those that have been used. This production is not a quick-and-easy process, though. It is sufficient to compensate for the normal loss of enzymes, but not when abnormal demands are made on the body at this level. Such demands are made in the digestion of cooked food.
Foods also contain enzymes, but they are very sensitive to heat. Too high a temperature during the cooking process destroys them. Cooked foods, whether boiled, steamed, or baked in an oven or microwave, are more or less impoverished of enzymes, depending on the mode of cooking used. Only the enzymes that survive the heat can take part in the digestion of the food from which they came. The body consequently has to supply the enzymes that were destroyed when the food was cooked, which gradually reduces its own reserves, especially if meals consist primarily or exclusively of cooked foods, if the individual overeats, or if the foods are refined (refined foods have already been stripped of a portion of their enzymes).
With these eating habits, which are followed by the majority of people today, over the long term the body’s enzymatic capability shrinks. This means that biochemical transformations are not being performed as well, and that much more acid waste is produced during the metabolic process than normal. So just how does this occur? For example, let’s take the transformation of glucose--that is, sugar--into energy. Because of the activity of various enzymes, glucose is first transformed into citric acid, then pyruvic acid, succinic acid, and fumaric acid in succession, ending finally as lactic acid. This acid is then attacked by another enzyme that transforms it into energy.
Normally, these transformations are carried out to the final stage, and the acids do not survive as acids because they have been converted into energy. But if there is an enzyme deficiency, the glucose transformation comes to a halt during the acid stages, and the result is acidification of the body’s internal cellular environment, which would not occur if enough enzymes were available.
Transition through a series of acid stages also takes place when the body converts fats and proteins for its use. This process is so extensive that the inevitable consequence of any enzyme deficiency is acidification of the body. Of course, the more extensive the enzyme deficiency, the more acidic the body becomes, eventually resulting in illness. This process is exacerbated by the fact that an acid organic environment inhibits enzyme activity, which reduces the enzymes’ effectiveness and increases the production of acid wastes even more.
To escape this vicious cycle, it is crucial to give the body the enzymes it needs. One way of doing this is to sharply increase consumption of raw vegetables at the two major meals of the day, noon and evening. Raw foods can be eaten either in the form of salad greens or as a side dish of colored vegetables like carrots or beets, or even as a mixed salad incorporating both. Thoroughly chewing these raw foods increases the benefit of this intake, because this frees more enzymes from the cellulose framework that binds them.
The benefits offered by a larger intake of enzymes can be easily seen: a cooked meal is digested more easily when raw foods have been added to it. We feel lighter after a meal accompanied by salad or raw vegetables because the digestion of the enzyme-poor cooked foods has been facilitated by the extra enzymes contributed by the raw foods.
Another way for the body to obtain the enzymes it needs is via enzymatic supplements. This additional support is often essential, because eating more raw foods is sufficient to address only minor enzyme deficiencies and maintain the proper acid–alkaline balance; if an individual’s enzymatic capacity has been overdrawn, deacidification requires a contribution of enzymes from supplements in addition to those supplied by the food in the diet.
The enzymes in commercial supplements are prepared so that they retain their properties even after they have entered the digestive tract, resisting stomach acids and other substances that could destroy them on their way to the cells. Taken on a daily basis in combination with a diet high in raw vegetables, the enzymes supplied by supplements should cause a sharp reduction in the body’s level of acidification. They help the body burn acids away, contributing to a quicker restoration of the body’s pH.
Christopher Vasey, N.D., is a naturopath specializing in detoxification and rejuvenation. He is the author of The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health, The Naturopathic Way, The Water Prescription, The Whey Prescription, and The Detox Mono Diet. He lives near Montreux, Switzerland.
"Shows how a simple change in diet to restore the acid-alkaline balance can result in vast improvements of health."
"If you are plagued by any of the disorders or discomforts ranging from lack of energy to dry skin or from falling hair to arthritis. . . then you will want to dash to read The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health at your first opportunity to learn all you can to improve your health."
– Linda Davis Kyle, The Midwest Book Review, Nov 2005
"I am happy to report that this book is certainly exhaustive in its approach and is, at the same time, very well-written and highly readable."
– Swamy Swarna, Swamy's Book Reviews
"The Acid Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health by Christopher Vasey is an excellent book, and an easy-to-follow addition to your library of health knowledge. We highly recommend it to any individual who is actively seeking a healthier lifestyle."
– Officialwire.com, September 2010
"The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health by Chrisopher Vasey is an important book to be read. Designing our own diet to obtain and maintain a balanced body is the next step in having optimum health, something that most of us desire. Let's get rid of over-the-counter antacids and heal our body naturally!"