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best diet for healthy skin

Understanding The Alkaline Diet

Health experts agree that the Mediterranean Diet promotes health and prevents disease including skin problems. 

I’ve concluded that by adapting the true Mediterranean Diet so that it also maintains the alkaline pH balance in the body, you have the perfect diet for skin and overall health.

I consider it the "magic wand" for natural health promotion. 

This is the diet I aim for in my own life and the one that I recommend to my patients with skin problems and other health problems.

I outlined the Mediterranean Food Pyramid in my last blog post. In this post, I'm going to explain an Alkaline Diet.

How does an Alkaline Diet work?

Foods you eat effect how acid or alkaline your body is. In general terms:

  • Every food you eat or beverage you drink releases either an acid or alkaline base into your blood stream when you digest and absorb it.
  • Your body is naturally alkaline (pH 7.35-7.45) and you're healthiest if you stay alkaline. (The term ‘pH’ is a way of measuring and describing acid and alkaline base amounts.)
  • Consuming some foods and beverages that release acid can be ok so long as most of what you consume releases alkaline base into your blood stream so that your body stays alkaline.

What are the health claims of the Alkaline Diet proponents?

Right now, The Alkaline Diet (also called the Acid/Alkaline Diet) is a new popular diet craze.  It’s based on the long standing  alternative medicine principle that foods create subtle but important changes in your body’s pH (acid and base balance).  These pH changes affect our body’s health; a shift towards acid pH cause diseases while maintenance of the natural alkaline pH of the body supports health and prevents disease.

Proponents of the alkaline diet claim that when your body is too acid it's more prone to conditions such as:

  • Inflammation
  • Mucous production
  • Headaches
  • Osteoporosis
  • Breast and ovarian cysts
  • Numerous other health problems

My dermatology patients have observed over the years that some of their skin problems worsen with dietary changes that could be acid forming.  These skin problems include:

  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • Eczema
  • Seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff)
  • Psoriasis
  • Other inflammation based rashes

My own personal experience with seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea, Reynaud’s phenomenon and discomfort from my musculoskeletal problems support the benefit of an alkaline diet.

What is the controversy surrounding an Alkaline Diet?

Traditional western medicine, of which I am a member, doesn’t agree that the body pH is that important or that impacted by digesting foods. Western scientists have been unable to document the health benefits of maintaining the alkaline body pH compared with having a slightly more acid body pH when they conduct scientific studies.  They conclude that the alkaline diet hypothesis is unfounded.

This means that I am going out on a limb here. This conclusion isn’t consistent with my personal experience and my professional observation as a physician.  I’ve devoted years of study, and a lot of time reading and researching the alternative medicine literature on The Alkaline Diet and I think there’s merit to it.  As a result, I’m willing to incorporate The Alkaline Diet into my own dietary goals, recommend it to my patients and wait for Western science to catch up. (I expect this to be a long wait because: good scientific studies take time, subtle things are hard to measure, and research studies follow funding.)

In my next post I will explain my recommendations for The Alkaline Mediterranean Diet that I have developed. I'll also share references that you can use.

Dr. Bailey's note added in 2018: Over the years I created a free E-Book with my diet guidelines. Click here if you would like to find them all in one place! Yes, I have spent years focusing on diet and skin health. I want to share my knowledge and observations with you to help you achieve great skin through simple changes in your diet. 

If you liked this blog post, you may also want to read:

Cynthia Bailey MD's Recommendations for The Alkaline Mediterranean Diet

The Alkaline Mediterranean Diet-A Dietary Magic Wand for Overall Health and Beauty

Natural Skin Health: Dermatologist's Diet Recommendations for Healthy Skin

Dermatologist's Recommendations for Natural Skin Health: Kefir the best probiotic for healthy skin

A Simple and Nutritious Fish and Veggie Dinner

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