A new twist on detox water is making waves on the internet, with devotees saying it speeds away even hard-to-lose flab. Can a drink really do that? Yes! In fact, sipping it regularly also sets you up for “better digestion, healthier bones and joints, stronger immunity, more energy, deeper sleep, and countless other benefits,” says award-winning scientist Russell Jaffe, M.D., PhD, a fan of special water infused with acid-fighting minerals, citrus, even backyard herbs and berries. Turns out, the alkalizing effect of this water helps neutralize acid buildup in cells — and once that happens, “you can often lose a few sizes quickly and add 20 or more quality years to your life,” reveals the author of Joy in Living: The Alkaline Way, backed by studies from the National Institutes of Health and Harvard University. “You effortlessly go toward a lean weight and optimal health.”
Wondering how acid gets in our cells? It’s a normal by-product of breaking down certain foods. But Dr. Jaffe says we now eat more acid-forming sugar, gluten, processed foods, meat, and cheese than ever before. And while our lungs and kidneys do a good job of keeping acid levels down, as we near the top of a safe range, “the body begins retaining fluid and holding on to fat to help protect organs from rising acidity,” explains health coach and bestselling Alkaline Reset Cleanse author Ross Bridgeford. No wonder University of Texas research shows that folks with the most acidic systems have BMIs 52 percent higher than those with the least.
How does the alkaline water detox work?
Already struggling with sleep apnea, acid reflux, and intense back pain, Adrienne Shubin went on vacation and came down with a tropical illness. “I was knocked out,” recalls the California writer, 53. She stumbled on a Cleveland Clinic article that said lemon water boosts well-being, and started sipping. “It set the tone for healthier eating,” she recalls. Soon, Adrienne was incorporating more alkalizing habits: extra veggies, no alcohol, no snacking. In a year, she lost 90 pounds, her health issues gone and energy soaring. “I drink 80 ounces of water a day and always have lemon water first thing. I tell everyone about it. It’s easy, and you’ll love the results!”
Acid is also a toxic irritant that causes fatigue and diseasetriggering inflammation. “So even if you want to lose weight, fighting excess acid can leave you too run-down to handle a big diet change,” notes Bridgeford. Luckily, he and Dr. Jaffe agree that you can simply start with a pitcher of alkaline water for your detox.
Most tap water has a neutral pH level, which means it neither creates nor reduces acid. But mineral-rich spring water is a different story, says Dr. Jaffe. It’s full of acid-quelling compounds like magnesium, potassium and calcium. “These are traditional ‘medicinal’ waters for a reason,” he says. “They’re the most alkalizing of all beverages.”
Now for the really fun part: To give spring water extra superpowers, have a blast adding all the alkalizing extras you like.
Dr. Jaffe loves a classic squeeze of lemon or lime. Meanwhile, Bridgeford created what he calls Lemon Water 2.0, adding citrus, ginger, turmeric and sliced chili pepper. Other options include berries, kiwi, melon, mint, cucumber and basil. “It’s enjoyable, easy and delicious,” he says. It’s also highly effective.
For starters, “being properly hydrated helps every aspect of the body, especially metabolism,” says Dr. Jaffe. And frequent glasses of water with lemon deliver enough vitamin C to boost fat burn by 300%, per Arizona State findings.
Also crucial: Alkaline water not only helps neutralize existing acid, it also quenches thirst — so we reach for fewer highly acid-forming beverages like sugary and aspartame-sweetened soda, sweet tea, and coffee. This means your acid load drops dramatically even if you don’t make any changes to what you eat. “Getting more of the good and less of the bad is the key,” says Dr. Jaffe, who personally shed 65 pounds using that basic principle.
What’s more, if you want to change your diet, water can help: UNC researchers have evidence that drinking more water leads us to crave healthier food. “Once water is a habit, it’s much easier to build meals around alkaline foods like greens, fresh fruit, beans, seeds, oats, and quinoa. Water is a small step that can trigger massive change,” says Bridgeford, whose millions of followers use alkaline water to shed up to 15 pounds a week!
What should you eat on this detox?
To get maximum benefits from homemade alkaline water, sip a cup upon waking up and several more through the day. Build meals like our yummy examples using primarily alkalizing ingredients — veggies, herbs, fresh fruit, almonds, seeds, oats, brown rice, quinoa, eggs, and fish. For more information on the alkaline water detox and recipes, go to LiveEnergized.com. As always, get a doctor’s okay to try a new plan.
ALKALINE WATER: Combine two liters of naturally mineral-rich spring water, the juice of two lemons, one sliced lemon or lime, one knob of thinly sliced ginger or turmeric root, and chili pepper, mint, or any herb; allow at least two hours for alkalizing compounds to infuse in water. Customize with other alkalizing ingredients like cucumber, watermelon, or berries. Sip chilled or at room temp.
BREAKFAST: Mix half a cup of oats, half a cup of plain nut milk, a dash of vanilla, and an optional drizzle rice syrup. Chill overnight. Top with fruit and almonds.
LUNCH: Toss together veggies, cooked brown rice, and grilled fish or chicken; dress with a little olive oil and apple cider vinegar and herbs to taste.
SNACK: In a blender, blitz chunks of frozen watermelon and any other fruit you like with a little optional lime juice, lime zest, and mint until smooth.
DINNER: Enjoy salmon fillet prepared with olive oil, lemon, and herbs over lots of steamed or roasted vegetables.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.