Functional Citrus Food

Healthy Citrus Infographic

Functional citrus fruits help fight common diseases.

We all know that fruit is good for us. Citrus fruits have many healthy properties.

But if citrus fruits are so healthy, why do we discard the best bits?

A food study published in Preventative Medicine journal investigates the health benefits of functional citrus food. In “Functional benefits of citrus fruits in the management of diabetes,” the authors also consider other diseases. It summarizes benefits, and potential benefits, from citrus fruits, for:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Diabetes
  • Nutrition and wellness

Though much of the report deals with animal research, there is ample evidence of human benefits from various citrus fruits:

citrus fruit extracts represent an excellent candidate for nutraceuticals and functional foods geared towards the management of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

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Healthy Food Combinations Chart

Healthy Food Combinations Photo

In the forum recently, Joan asked if I had any healthy food combination charts. Now, that raises a bunch of questions about the state of your health. I’m wary of recommending specific food combinations in general terms, because what improves health for one person, might have little or no effect on the next.

However, when I looked for some relevant research, I found an interesting summary of several food combinations that have been shown to have real health benefits. That summarizes 13 healthy food combinations. Unfortunately, the examples are not always linked to the correct research.

I am investigating each claim in detail to find the latest science. I’ve also found some additional research pointers that indicate more potential. For today, I list the combinations from the aforementioned summary in the chart below. I will return to each combo for specific articles another day.

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Choosing Alkaline Foods For Your Healthy Diet

How Do You Choose Alkaline Foods photo

Foodary is full of alkaline foods information. I plan to make choosing alkaline foods easier with examples of alkaline diet plans.

Standard plans can help you get started with an alkaline diet. However, I prefer to help you find the alkaline foods that are right for you. That means working with you to choose the foods that match your health and your tastes.

I believe an alkaline diet is basically a healthy diet. But a diet that makes you alkaline might not be healthy for you. If you hate limited food options on a pre-made plan, you won’t stick to that diet. If you have a health problem that restricts your diet, a pre-made alkaline diet might not be your healthiest option.

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What Diet for Your Disease?

Diets and Diseases image

Foodary is more than alkaline diets. I investigate and explain diets and health. All diets affect health, but here, I’m looking at specific diseases.

You must consider your personal health situation when planning your diet. If you suffer from any disease, it may affect your choice of food and drink items. Sometimes food groups are restricted, sometimes they are beneficial. Let’s look at different diet choices for specific diseases.

What Diet for Your Disease?

Recently, I reviewed alkaline diets and diseases in What has pH Balance to do with Diseases? Alkaline diet is important to me, but I want Foodary to cover all healthy eating plans.

Prompted by a recent report, I list various diets here. Later, I will take a more in-depth view of the most relevant diets and diseases. The report is “Types of diet and their nutritional impact on health,” published in the May 2014 edition of Science and Technology (Sci. Technol. 2014, 1(1), 26-29). There is very little specific detail in the report, but it does give a very useful overview that I will choose as a starting point. It also has the facts wrong on alkaline diet, but this is not unusual in many books and published nutrition studies.

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Best Alkaline Foods Servings

Best Alkaline Foods Servings photo

My best alkaline foods servings list shows the top 100 most alkaline foods by serving size.

In my previous Most Alkaline Key Foods List, I looked at the best popular foods. That information is derived from the list of key foods prepared by USDA. Unfortunately, we know that popular foods are not necessarily healthy, so I have widened the scope.

My new list of best alkaline foods shows the top 100 alkaline foods in the entire USDA foods list. The biggest drawback of that list is high levels of duplication. I’ve tried to reduce this by omitting:

  • Obvious duplicates where foods are listed with and without salt.
  • Baby foods
  • Highly processed foods

Salt does not affect PRAL estimates. So, I’ve omitted those duplicates. Processed foods are difficult to omit completely. I’ve tried to keep packaged foods that are not overtly unhealthy. However, some may have slipped through, so tell me if you see any unhealthy foods, and I will remove them.

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pH Balance and Diabetes

pH Balance and Diabetes photo

Earlier, I looked at several diseases that might be helped with an alkaline diet.

Today, I am adding diabetes to that list.

Before I look at how pH balance might help diabetes, I need to clarify some important points about alkaline diets and pH balance.

I will explain the importance of measuring food intake the right way. Then I will describe a nutrition study showing a link between correctly measured alkaline foods and diabetes.

Alkaline Diets and pH Balance

pH Balance and Diabetes photoBoth these terms are used widely in books, the Internet, and wider media. They are related in that pH Balance is what we strive to achieve, and alkaline diet is the way to achieve it. pH Balance simply means that the food you eat balances the acid load on your kidneys. It is measured by testing urine:

The target pH for urine in healthy individuals is 6.5 to 7 in the morning, rising to 7.5 through the day.

Confusion arises when people publish data on food pH values, made worse because they usually omit to explain how pH has been measured. Food pH, however it is measured, does not affect acid load. It is useless, and potentially dangerous, to measure pH values for food or food ash. We know that alkaline diets can be beneficial, but if you use the wrong measurements, you can mistakenly eat too many acid-forming foods or eat too few alkaline-forming foods.

The correct food measurements for alkaline diets estimate the acid load on the kidneys. PRAL (Potential Renal Acid Load) is currently the best measurement, though I have also explained other options for defining pH Balance Diet Scores.

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Redefining pH Balance Diet Scores

Easy pH Balance Diet Scales image

I started my pH balance diet scoring system with Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL). This is a relatively simple way to estimate how healthy your diet is.

Let me explain why PRAL, and simpler alternatives, are important to planning a healthy pH balance diet. Along the way I will also warn you of the dangers of older methods. We have known about weaknesses of these older methods for over 30 years. Yet, they are still used to promote expensive drinks, supplements, books and diet plans.

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Magnesium for pH Balance

High Magnesium Foods photo

Magnesium is the second alkaline component of the PRAL calculation for pH Balance Diet Score. That PRAL calculation has links to top food lists for other nutrients.

We need magnesium for over 300 processes in our body. These cover many vital functions, including nerves, muscles, immune system, bones, and heart.

Magnesium is found in many foods, including:

  • Spinach, bananas, dried apricots, avocados, and many other vegetables and fruits
  • Almonds, cashews, and other nuts
  • Peas, beans, and other legumes and seeds
  • Tofu, soy flour, and other soy products
  • Brown rice, millet, and other whole grains

Excess magnesium is rare, as our kidneys remove any we do not use. Despite this, the Department of Health magnesium fact sheet for health professionals reports:

Dietary surveys of people in the United States consistently show that intakes of magnesium are lower than recommended amounts.

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What foods can you eat on an alkaline diet?

Alkaline Diet Foods photo

Do you want to know what foods you can eat on an alkaline diet?

Does that mean you want a list of alkaline foods, an alkaline diet plan, some recipes, or some general guidance about what types of food are alkaline?

I explain the different aspects of alkaline diet foods below. Before I explain those aspects, I need to be clear about what we mean by alkaline diet foods.

What are Alkaline Diet Foods?

I heard an actress talking about her alkaline diet recently. I was instantly reminded of the dangers of misunderstanding an Alkaline Food Diet. The actress hesitated when offered a taste of a fish based meal. She worried aloud that she wasn’t sure if she should accept it as she was following an alkaline diet.

The meal in question was a healthy meal prepared by a top chef. The acidic fish was well balanced with alkaline vegetables. There was no problem with the meal – but there was a big problem with understanding the concept of alkaline diets.

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Alkaline Food Diet

PRAL Nutrients icon

Why is an alkaline food diet wrong?

Every day I get asked how to get an alkaline food diet, and every day I have to tell people to stop looking. An acid alkaline diet is a great thing. When you get the right balance between acid-forming and alkaline-forming food and drink, you have one of the healthiest diets on the planet.

Of course, you still have to balance protein, carbs, and fats. You still have to ensure that you get sufficient vitamins and minerals. But those things become much easier within the framework of a balanced acid alkaline diet.

Trying to achieve an alkaline food diet is not balanced. Let’s hope you include all beverages in your diet plans. OK, we are used to using the word food to include food and drink. Hopefully you can agree that all food and drink, plus any dietary supplements, need to be accounted for. But that is implied by the word diet, so why not simply ask for an alkaline diet?

Strictly speaking, your total food intake should be alkaline, but it must be a balance of acid and alkaline foods and drinks. Around one quarter to one third acid-formers is about right. If you avoid acid forming foods entirely, you risk missing some essential nutrients.

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