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Your Health & Wellness, Iss #033 -- "Remember Your Mother Telling You to Eat Your Vegetables?"
June 06, 2008

(Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle)

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Week of June 8, 2008

Table of Contents

* "Remember Your Mother Telling You to Eat Your Vegetables?" *

"Remember Your Mother Telling You to Eat Your Vegetables?"

Ah--to reminisce those days in the late '50s and early '60s. I loved meat, macaroni and cheese and desserts of all kinds. But my parents had to remind me to finish eating my vegetables.

It seems that they knew something back then that we are only now beginning to rediscover--fruits and vegetables are good for you. And, sad to say, many Americans today are yet struggling with eating enough fruits and vegetables.

Science has discovered that the standard American diet (SAD) contributes to our high rates of osteoporosis. This is despite that fact that we consume more calcium-rich dairy foods than almost any nation on earth.

One of the major contributing factors to osteoporosis is America's acid/alkaline balance. The human body's pH level, a measure of acidity and alkalinity, should ideally be between 7.0 which is neutral and 7.4 which is slightly alkaline.

A pH of neutral or slanted towards alkaline promotes a healthy body. When tilted towards acidity, risks for diseases such as osteoporosis, weak muscles, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer is greatly increased.

When predominantly acid-producing foods are eaten as in the standard American diet, the bones release calcium and magnesium to bring back an alkaline balance. Not only are bones robbed of vital nutrients, muscles are also raided and broken down to produce ammonia, which is alkaline. The calcium, magnesium, and broken muscle tissue are released from the body in urine.

This is one of the reasons why many Americans, especially women, fall victim to osteopenia (loss of bone density) which can then result in osteoporosis despite the amount of calcium in their diet. Another reason is that many Americans are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is necessary in order for the body to absorb calcium.

When you reach the age of 40, your body naturally begins to lose muscle. Having a primarily acidic diet compounds the loss of lean body mass.

What are the foods that contribute to the acid/alkaline imbalance? Animal protein which includes red meat, fowl such as chicken and turkey, and seafood are all acidic. Dairy products along with grains such as whole grains, pasta, white bread, and corn produces acid.

All of the aforementioned acid producing foods unfortunately are not counterbalanced by alkaline-producing foods--fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are rich in potassium. It is potassium which protects us against high blood pressure (hypertension) and stroke.

In the past, our diet provided a heavy potassium to sodium ratio. Now with the glut of processed foods with a heavy salt content, we have a sodium to potassium ratio of 3:1. This is one reason why chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease ravage so many Americans.

Dr. Anthony Sebastian of the University of California, San Francisco, says, "...grains are the most frequently consumed plant food in the United addition to their acid yield, grains displace more nutritious fruits and vegetables... the real problem is one of alkaline deficiency, more than one of too much acid."

Studies have shown that between 68 to 91 percent of Americans don't eat even the minimum of five recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

The remedy to our over-abundance of acidic foods is to eliminate obesity-producing processed foods. Replace these health-depleting foods with much more nutritious fruits and vegetables.

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