Balance is key. And when it comes to our body’s pH levels, it’s the key to life!
As you may already know, pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline something is. To stay healthy, we need our blood pH to maintain a slightly alkaline level. We can help our bodies to maintain this pH balance by eating more alkaline-forming foods and fewer acid-forming foods.
Alkaline vs acidic foods
Nearly all fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, and seeds have an alkalizing effect on the body, though their degree of alkalinity can vary. Interestingly, many of those same foods can have an acidic effect on the body once they are processed into oils and nut butters.
While most grains tend to have an acidic effect on our blood’s pH, a few such as quinoa and wild rice are considered alkaline-forming foods.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, nearly all animal proteins (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy) have an acidic effect on the body. Before vegetarians rejoice, most beans and legumes — the core vegetarian protein — also make the list of acidic foods.
Processed foods (as an entire category) and most fast foods are also considered acidic.
Check out these Alkaline-Acid Food Charts for a more comprehensive list.
A mostly alkaline diet helps to maintain our body’s pH balance
When we eat acid-forming foods, our body brings our blood pH back into balance by releasing alkaline-rich minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium into our bloodstream. If we are eating enough alkaline-forming foods each day, then our body has easy access to these minerals from our diet.
If we are not eating enough alkaline-forming foods, then our body has to pull these important minerals from our bones, teeth, and organs. This can compromise our immune system, cause fatigue and make us vulnerable to viruses and disease.
It’s worth noting that we shouldn’t cut out acidic foods altogether. As a general rule, eat a diet of 60-80% alkaline-forming foods and 20-40% acid-forming foods.
And when you do eat the acid-forming foods, skip things like fast-food burgers and processed foods. A diet of primarily pasta, bread, soft drinks is highly acidic and will not be easily offset, even by foods that fall on the “very low alkaline” end of the spectrum. Instead choose healthier options like beans, grains, and other fresh foods. Also, pesticides tend to be acid-forming, so choose organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
Good to know
- An alkaline diet may be especially beneficial in boosting the effectiveness of certain types of chemotherapy treatments. (Source)
- A highly acidic diet creates a favorable environment for yeast and fungus. When switching to a more alkaline diet, you may notice that you have more energy and that chronic yeast infections begin to disappear.