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Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear about a new superfood or new diet plans which have been endorsed by a celebrity. We can hardly be blamed for wishing to try some of these so called miracle diets for ourselves when people like Gwyneth Paltrow, as much respected for her nutritional knowledge as for her film success, or Jennifer Aniston who clearly seems to benefit from her diet, advocate certain eating methods or types of food.

What New Diet Plans Have Emerged Recently

Possibly one of the most talked about regimes we’ve been hearing a lot about in the past year is alkaline eating. An alkaline diet works on the principal that alkali foods are good for us and acid foods are bad. Gwyneth Paltrow has enthused about alkaline dieting on her much read website and lifestyle blog, GOOP while even Victoria Beckham has been seen tweeting that we ‘must buy the cookbook’ by Natasha Corrett and Vicki Edgson.  However, bearing in mind that Corrett’s mother is celebrity interior designer Kelly Hoppen, you can be forgiven for wondering whether this particular eating trend would have taken off in such a way without the multiple celebrity input. Taking over in popularity from previous celebrity favourite, the Dukan diet, alkaline eating relies on a diet of alkaline ash producing foods combined with a lower intake of foods which produce acid ash.

Victoria Beckham is said to favour a 70% alkaline and 30% acid programme. The ‘ash’ part of the diet basically relates to the ph balance of your urine, with high alkaline ash or alkaline urine produced through eating alkaline rich foods. There is no scientific evidence that this way of eating helps prevent cancer, heart disease or other illnesses as some alternative practitioners would have us believe, and in fact, a diet which doesn’t contain a balance of all of the major food groups can be detrimental to long term health.

Food For Thought

The alkaline diet is comprised of a plan whereby you eat alkaline rich foods for most of the time, interspersed with a few acid foods to make things interesting. It is meant to create the perfect bodily ph balance, and of course aid weight loss, a prerequisite of celebrity endorsement it seems. It supposedly has a whole host of advantages such as clear skin, bright eyes and a bushy tail, as well as apparently being a major tool in the prevention of osteoporosis. It’s said that high acid ash, or acid ph can lead to weakening of the bones, therefore a diet with a high alkaline yield has the opposite, beneficial effect. There has been no regulated scientific research to support this claim. An alkaline diet is high in fibre, from fruit and vegetables including spinach which should be eaten raw, harking back perhaps to the fad for raw foods so popular a few years ago.

It also includes multigrains and cold water fish, sprouts, linseed oil and broccoli to name but a few, and suggests drinking lots of water, all of which is helpful in cleansing and maintaining the digestive tract. If this sounds familiar, it’s possibly because any balanced diet recommends good hydration and eating a range of fruit, vegetables and multigrains. However, alkaline eating bans pasta, white rice, sugar and condiments such as salt and pepper, only allowing a smidgen of soy sauce here and there for taste enhancement. Though it’s highly likely that weight loss will be an outcome of strictly adhering to an alkaline plan, it’s still a difficult regime to say the least.

The Benefits of Healthy Diets and Superfoods

An overall balanced diet plan containing a wide range of foods and lots of water is accepted by doctors, nutritionists and scientists as the ideal way to eat. Combined with an exercise plan tailored to your needs it will ensure that you lose weight steadily and safely. We’re always hearing of new superfoods which supposedly have great benefits in terms of health and well being and in some cases can assist weight loss. Beetroot juice is one such food which in fact has been monitored carefully and shown to live up to the claims made. High in antioxidants, nutrients and nitrates such as Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, sodium and betaine, beetroot juice has been proven to be effective in the prevention of fatty build up around the liver, which in turn can reduce liver disease cause by alcohol consumption. One of the ingredients of beetroot juice is betaine, particularly helpful in preventing the production of harmful amino-acids and a good tool against heart disease and stroke as well as other diseases. It’s also highly beneficial to athletes, allowing blood sugars and lactic acids to regain normal levels after exercise far more quickly among other helpful effects. Beetroot juice can be bought in health food shops and some supermarkets, although as always supermarket chains are slow to stock foods which are seen as ‘healthy’. You can drink it on its own or you can add it to fruit smoothies such as blueberry and raspberry.

Superfoods In the News Again

Kale is another food which has been shown to have high dietary value in many respects.  A green, leafy vegetable it has generated lots of interest from nutritionists and chefs such as Jamie Oliver and celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow who has recipes featuring kale on her GOOP page. Try her kale chips for a unique way to cook this great food. Danish chef Trine Hahnemann suggest a kale salad with apple, pomegranate and walnut and dressed with lime which also sounds good. Kale can be included in an alkaline diet and is one of the healthiest vegetables around. A member of the humble cabbage family this superstar food contains lots of antioxidants and vital nutrients including Vitamin K and is particularly good at lowering cholesterol and fat absorption. Steaming releases its benefits to optimum effect.

A Footnote

As always, supermarkets have been slow to catch on when it comes to superfoods. Notoriously vague when it comes to labelling so that what you think may be a low fat food contains massive amounts of salt, or a food you take to be sugar free is full of artificial sweeteners, there is no commercial benefit to supermarkets in stocking ‘healthy foods’. Healthy foods can be more expensive to grow and produce and have a lower shelf life as they are free from additives. In a consumer driven society where cheapness and longevity rule, it’s up to the individual to make their concerns heard and try to get supermarkets to take note.



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