Now when the body trains at an intensity above 90% of your maximum heart rate or near exhaustion, your oxygen usage skyrockets, this in turn causes an increase in lactic acid accumulation in the muscles, which in turn causes your body to pull alkaline reserves from bones and other mineral dense sources. Not to mention muscle tissue being torn and Adenosine Triphosphate levels in the muscles becoming depleted. All in all, the body has a lot to cope with and as a result athletes often experience something known as an immune system crash. This is where the efficiency of your immune system is reduced and an acidic environment within the body is caused, which is ideal for disease and bacteria to thrive (this can last for 3 hours or even 72 hours.)
One way to effectively support the immune system is to eat alkaline foods that will help to tip the pH balance of the bodys internal environment back towards a more favorably pH of 7. Let me explain; when you eat food with an acid pH, the body must neutralize the acid to keep the blood from getting too acid. When there is not enough alkaline food in the diet to neutralize the acid, it must be extracted from the cells. If this cycle continues, the cells become acidic and diseased. One example of why disease sets in is that bacteria and cancer cells thrive in an acid pH body. Another is osteoporosis, since calcium is the most abundant alkaline mineral in the body with the bones being the most abundant source. With an acid diet, calcium is constantly being removed from the bones to neutralize the acid causing osteoporosis. However when the body is in the correct alkaline state (which comes from consuming plenty of alkaline foods) it is able to function at its best, better able to heal itself, dump toxins and heavy metals that are poisoning the body and have higher energy production.
This can be particularly important to bodybuilders and strength athletes who eat a lot of meat to supplement a high protein diet. Since meat is an acidic food and when digested, certain amino acids in the protein are broken down releasing the acidic minerals phosphorus and sulfur. Eating sufficient alkaline foods will help to neutralize this excess acid to ensure you still maintain your elevated protein needs, but not at the expense of your immunity health. Furthermore your body uses a variety of alkaline substances to neutralize excess acid, including glutamine, an amino acid found in muscle tissue. When your body becomes too acidic, it may actually break down muscle tissue to free glutamine. In the long term, the result can be reduced muscle strength. So by eating a diet rich in alkaline foods you can actually help muscular strength and size.
So what are the best alkaline foods? These are foods that are usually rich in alkaline minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, and potassium, such as:
Raw leafy greens
Spirulina (500g of Organic Spirulina is available from Myprotein.com for £28.99)
Chlorella (500g of Organic Chlorella Powder is available from Myprotein.com for £34.99)
Raw (unheated) green powders such as barley, chlorella, spirulina and alfalfa
Dried fruit (if dried without heat)
Most raw vegetables
Frozen fruit and vegetables
Lightly steamed fruits and vegetables (still crunchy)
Raw nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.
Raw seeds: sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.
Alternatively a comprehensive, well designed multi vitamin containing calcium, magnesium, and potassium could prove effective. (120 tablets of Alpha Men is available from Myprotein.com for £10.69 and contains all 3 key alkalizing minerals.)
Acid forming foods include:
Aspirin & most drugs
Flour based products
Soda, soft drinks