One of the things I am noticing with my nutrition clients is that most people are not within a healthy pH balance. The goal of consuming acid and alkaline foods is to stabilize the body’s pH level. Everything you eat is classified as acidic, alkaline, or neutral. This classification is not based on the food itself, but rather, on the effect foods have on your body after digestion. Your body pH can be measured using testing strips obtained either from online or specialty health stores, such as the Healthy Living Market. The key here is becoming aware that alkaline foods are very important in neutralizing acid in your body.
Alkaline foods are easy to incorporate into your diet. Some of the most alkaline foods include spinach, blueberries, kale, broccoli, lemons, papayas, mangoes, grapefruit, asparagus, limes, garlic, olive oil, zucchini, cayenne pepper, melons, kiwi, grapes, beets, sweet potatoes, flax seed oil, green tea, kelp, peach, pears, cantaloupe, raisins, organic milk, soy products, and almonds. Bananas are often listed as alkaline, but they actually become quite acidic upon digestion. An athlete’s healthy goal follows an 80/20 rule: every meal consists of about 80 percent alkaline foods and 20 percent acidic foods. On average, a person should maintain a diet that keeps your pH a little alkaline, between 7.35 and 7.45, on a 0 to 14 scale. Anything above 7.45 is alkaline and anything below 7.35 is acidic.
Most all animal proteins and processed foods are highly acidic (with the exception of chicken). Other common acidic foods that you may be eating include blackberries, corn, lentils, olives, winter squash, cranberries, plums, wheat bread, white flower, oatmeal, spaghetti, wheat germ, almond and soy milk, black beans, butter, cheese, ice cream, peanut butter, walnuts, beef, pork, turkey, salmon, scallops, cod, shellfish, sugar, alcohol (especially wine, although wine does have good attributes as well!), coffee, mustard, and ketchup.
Is a High Acidic Diet Bad?
HELL YEAH! Eating high alkaline foods optimizes the absorption of various minerals. A pH toward the acidic range has negative health consequences because the body is fighting to balance the body’s pH toward the alkaline. A highly acidic diet weakens bodily systems. It does so by using minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium, from bone and tissue. Muscle breakdown can occur, and injuries can take longer to heal. Over time, a high acidic diet can be a factor leading to muscle deterioration, calcium and magnesium deficiencies, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and arthritis. A proper balance can be achieved through a healthy diet.
Remember (among many other things), the key to a healthy diet is to balance acid-forming and alkaline-forming foods.
Elimination of all acid–forming foods is not necessary and can actually be harmful. The main objective is to eat more fruits and vegetables! The most alkaline foods include spinach, cucumbers, broccoli, and kale. Buy these every time you are at the store and remember each meal should consist of 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods. Your mind and body will thank you.