Diets aimed at reducing acidity are becoming increasingly popular, with celebs like Victoria Beckham touting their benefits; and now a brand-new study lends some clout. After tracking over 65,000 women for 14 years, French scientists found that an acidic diet was tied to a 56% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with one that was more alkaline.
What does that mean? In a nutshell, the foods you eat are metabolized into compounds that either promote acidity, or form alkaline substances, which counter acidity. Animal proteins are particularly acid-forming, while vegetables and fruits are generally alkalizing. In the study, researchers found that a high acid load can interfere with proper insulin function, thus the diabetes connection.
This study is intriguing, and in line with dozens of others that demonstrate the merits of eating more plant-based meals, from weight loss and beauty benefits to a better sex life! To reap the rewards–even if you’re not ready to go vegetarian full time–try out these five easy and delicious ways to replace animal-based foods with more (alkalizing) plants:
Swap minced mushrooms for ground meat
This combo works perfectly in numerous dishes, including stuffed peppers, chili, and tacos. You can also replace a burger patty with a grilled juicy Portobello mushroom. Bonus: you’ll up your intake of metabolism-boosting vitamin D.
Use pureed cauliflower in recipes that call for milk or cream
This trick is terrific for mashed potatoes, creamy soups, dips, and casseroles. Simply steam the cauliflower to retain moisture, mash, blend, and fold into the mix. Bonus: you’ll boost your consumption of filling fiber and load up on potent natural cancer fighters.
Trade dairy-based dressings for creamy avocado
Tired of oil and vinegar? For a thick and creamy dressing, puree ripe avocado with minced garlic, a little apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, fresh basil leaves, and black pepper. This combo is perfect for leafy greens, or as a coating for other chilled veggie side dishes, like a cucumber salad or slaw. Bonus: you’ll take in more anti-aging vitamin E, as well as healthy fats tied to a slimmer waistline.
Sauté with lemony veggie broth instead of butter
Lemons may be acidic tasting, but after they’re metabolized, they’re actually one of the most alkalizing foods on the planet. Squeeze a wedge or two over veggies before lightly sautéing or steaming with organic low sodium vegetable broth. Bonus: you’ll boost your intake of disease-fighting antioxidants and immune-supporting vitamin C.
Use plant-based milk rather than cow’s milk
In smoothies, oatmeal, soups, and sauces, try unsweetened “milk” made from almonds, flax, or sunflower seeds. These replacements work well in both sweet and savory dishes, and may provide less than half the calories of even skim milk per cup. Bonus: the good fats in these plant milks support healthy circulation and protect your heart.
Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches. Connect with Cynthia on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.