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EAT TO WIN: The Acidic Athlete

Photo by thealkalinediet.com

Since when did sports nutrition mean processed protein bars loaded with artificial preservatives, sugar loaded beverages, and mineral void bottled water? Sometimes an athletes’ diet is no better than the stereotypical non-exercising office worker who drinks energy drinks and soda and grabs chips and a candy bar from the vending machine.

An overly acidic diet is bad news for anyone, but especially athletes. An overly acidic condition in the body negatively impacts performance, prolongs recovery time in between intense training sessions, and increases the risk of injury. Optimizing your body’s performance at the cellular level by eating plenty of alkaline forming foods and drinking alkaline water will take your game to the next level.

Understanding Acid-Alkaline Balance

Vibrant health and all-star performance is dependent upon the health of your cells. In order to maintain good cellular health cells must maintain proper pH levels.

PH stands for potential hydrogen. The pH scale is a logarithmic scale used to measure whether a substance is acidic or alkaline. The scale runs from 0-14 with 7 being neutral. Anything below 7 is acidic while anything above is alkaline.

Chemical processes are most efficient at an ideal pH. The body functions best in a slightly alkaline state. The blood has a pH of 7.4. Dipping below 7.2 pH results in death. To prevent this from occurring your body will do whatever it takes to neutralize acidic waste and maintain homeostasis even if it means stealing alkaline materials from your bones and tissues.

When foods and beverages are consumed they must be broken down for nutrient utilization. The process leaves behind an acidic ash or alkaline ash. Alkaline ash contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and/or iron. Acidic ash is made up of inorganic materials such as chloride, phosphorous, iodine, or sulfur that must be neutralized.

The body is equipped with buffering systems such as the lungs and kidneys to neutralize acidic waste, but a diet heavy in meats, grains, sodas, sports drinks, and processed food along with environmental toxins, mental stress, and acidic waste from frequent intense workouts overly tax these systems. When the body is all out of reserves it must pull alkaline minerals from other areas in the body such as the bones and connective tissues to buffer the acidic waste. This makes an athlete more susceptible to injuries such as fractures and strains.

The harder your body has to work to clear away acidic waste, utilize oxygen, and digest processed and overly cooked foods that lack enzymes and nutrients the less energy you have for your training and recovery.

Achieve Balance through Food and Alkaline Water

Consuming a diet rich in alkalizing vegetables and fruits will help decrease acidic stress. Experts recommend that 70-80% of a person’s diet should come from alkaline forming foods and 20-30% acid forming foods. A good rule of thumb is to eat a big salad with plenty of raw vegetables at least once per day and snack on fruits and vegetables throughout the day to stay energized.

In addition to choosing more alkaline foods, it’s important to also choose alkaline beverages. Sports drinks, energy drinks, and sodas are some of the most acidic substances you can put in your body. These products will zap your energy levels, pack on the pounds, and set you up for major health complications in the future.

It may come as a surprise but even bottled water is acidic. Bottled water lacks alkalizing minerals. Tap water contains minerals, but it also contains contaminants such as chlorine and fluoride. Your best bet is alkaline water with a 7.5-9.5 pH.

Some of the top sports nutritionist and athletes use and recommend high alkaline, restructured, ionized Kangen water for optimal performance. This water is free of impurities, donates a surplus of hydroxyl ions with a negative charge to neutralize free radicals, and is micro-clustered for superior hydration.

Sports nutritionist to hundreds of professional and elite athletes, Shan Stratton, is an advocate for Kangen water. He found that Kangen water greatly enhances an athlete’s endurance, power output, and recovery due to it’s ability to hydrate the body at a cellular level, increase nutrient absorption and utilization, efficiently buffer metabolic waste, and act as an antioxidant in the body.

This water will not only help you run faster, jump higher, and gain more strength now, but it will also positively affect your health long after your athletic career is over. That’s something to think about.

No Shortcuts

When it comes to quality nutrition, it’s no different than training. Shortcuts will not elicit the results you want and need for optimal athletic performance. The quality of the food you put in your body is what you will get out of it. Eat whole nutrient dense foods, drink plenty of water, and keep your acid-alkaline balance in check.

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