Alkaline vs Acidic Diets
Chemistry throwback: What is an alkaline and acid and how the heck does this fit into your health? Well it is all very simple once you understand the basics. The pH scale is based a substance’s (p) potential for releasing (H) hydrogen ions = pH. To be healthy the body needs both – balance is key! Just like water, your body’s ideal pH should be around 7.39 with an ideal range being 7.36-7.42. Notice this is such a small window! Anything below 7.36 puts your body in a state of acidosis, likewise anything above 7.42 will bring your body into a state of alkalosis.
What does this mean to you, me, and the rest of the 8 billion + beautiful souls on this planet? When your internal environment is not in a state of balance (i.e. acidosis or alkalosis) you are running the risk of welcoming a plethora of illness. As you’ll notice below in the list of alkaline and acidic foods, the SAD (standard American diet) is heavy with acidic foods! And this is not just something affecting Americans – but thanks to good old globalization – we’ve managed to spread our unhealthy diet throughout the world. Big bummer! Some unfortunate – and shockingly common- illness stemming from acidosis include:
*depression, lack of energy, conjunctivitis, nervousness (easily stressed), itchy and/or dry skin, leg cramps & spasms, osteoporosis, rheumatism, arthritis, joint pain, predisposition to intestinal inflammation, rectal burning (yikes)…. the list goes on*
No wonder we’re all out of whack! Eating according to the acidic-alkaline diet will bring your body and mind back into balance – we can all use a little more balance, yah?
It’s recommended to base your daily eats on the 80/20 or 60/40 range – 80 or 60% of your foods should be alkaline and 20-40% are acidic. Everyone is different so if you’re taking this into consideration, and are starting out from a diet that is rich in acidic foods, aim for the 60/40 at first and slowly work your way up to 80/20. Below are common foods that fall into both categories.
Top Alkalizing Foods (should be 60-80% of your diet)
Basically all veggies! Have at it!
Lemon, Lime, grapefruit (wonderful alkalizing affect on your body)
Almonds, brazil nuts, sesame seeds, flax seeds
Lentils, legumes (beans, peas)
(raw) Apple Cider Vinegar
Green juices & other fresh juices
Common Acidic Foods (20-40%)
Animal proteins: all meats (red, poultry, fish), eggs, milk, cheese, dairy products
Coffee (including decaf) & caffeinated tea
Condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise)
White sugar and all sugar substitutes including honey, brown sugar,corn syrup…
Processed soy (including tofu)
Processed oils (margarine, trans fats)
Heavily processed foods in general
Refined grains, wheat
Soda, energy drinks
Roasted and/or salted nuts
Yeast and vinegar
Sauerkraut & other lactofermented foods
Looking at the overall differences between the two lists – it’s pretty easy to understand what your diet should include to achieve optimal pH. Remember not all acidic or acid-forming foods are bad! That’s why it’s important to aim for the 80/20, 60/40 – I’m not about to give up fruits & fermented veggies- no way! And everything within reason – cocoa, tea, and vino are certainly worth the acidic effect.