Acidic Foods VS Alkaline Food

ph levels

Life’s about balance. And your body is no different.

Your body has an internal pH that it is constantly striving to maintain. However, modern diets make it that very difficult.

In fact, most Americans are living out of balance, in an exceedingly acidic state.

But you don’t have to be like most Americans. Let’s dive into how to maintain a healthy acid alkaline balance in the body.

What is pH?

This sounds super scientific and intimidating, but I will break it down as simply as possible.

"Potential of hydrogen" or pH measures the acidity or basicity (alkalinity) of your body or chemical processes. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. A pH less than 7 indicates acidity, as lower numbers are more acidic. A pH above 7 indicates alkalinity (basicity), as higher numbers are basic.

For example, think of pH as a measure of how sour or bitter something is on a scale from 0 to 14:

  • Acidic - 0 to 6 is like sour lemon juice.

  • Neutral - 7 is like pure water.

  • Basic - 8 to 14 is like baking soda.

Our body needs the right balance of pH for it to function optimally. Your body can either be too acidic, known as acidosis, or alkaline, known as alkalosis. The happy pH number is typically 7.35 to 7.45 [1]. This number is ideal for the body’s many biological processes.

Enzymes prefer certain pH levels to do their jobs correctly. Our blood, as well as our stomachs, prefers a certain level of pH to help with digestion. PH needs to be balanced in our bodies for the smooth sailing of these processes.

Signs You May Be Too Acidic

Your body could swing either way of being too acidic or too alkaline (Although being too acidic is far more common). The key here is balance. Here are some signs your body may be out of balance:

Acidosis (Overly Acidic):

  • Cravings for coffee, alcohol, and/or drugs.

  • Stress headaches

  • Sinus congestion

  • Anger and short temper

  • Irritability

  • Muscle stiffness and/or spasms

  • Fatigue

  • Itchy skin and/or acne

  • Negative thought patterns

Processed Food and pH

It’s no secret that processed foods are not good for your overall health. And they aren’t great for promoting alkalinity or balance in your body either.

Poor-quality and highly processed foods can have an impact on the body's pH levels, and here's how:

  1. Acidic Load - Many processed foods, especially those high in sugars, refined grains, and unhealthy fats, tend to be more acidic. Consuming these foods in large amounts can contribute to an acidic load in the body, throwing off your body's natural pH.

  2. Lack of Alkaline Nutrients - Processed foods often lack essential nutrients, like minerals and vitamins found in fresh fruits and vegetables. The body may struggle to reach a neutral state without these balancing nutrients from fruits and veggies.

  3. Disrupted Digestive Balance - Processed foods may disrupt the natural balance of your digestive system. Pre-packaged, processed, sugary foods can alter the stomach's pH levels, affecting digestion and how you absorb nutrients.

  4. Inflammation - Poor-quality processed foods are associated with inflammation in the body. Inflammation tends to create an acidic environment, and chronic inflammation can contribute to long-term disruptions in pH balance.

Acid-Forming Foods

Acid-forming foods are foods that you should avoid if you want to reach an alkaline state. These foods include all animal products, especially animal protein and fat. Nearly all cooked food is acid-forming in the body...even “healthy” cooked foods. Here are some high-acidic foods to avoid-

Fruits:

  • Blueberries, cranberries, pineapple, plums and prunes, and strawberries (NOTE: All of these fruits are only acidic when are unripe)

Vegetables:

  • Rhubarb

  • Ferments, like sauerkraut

Grains:

  • Barley, buckwheat, kamut, quinoa, amaranth, oats, rice, brown rice, rye, spelt, and wheat (when cooked)

  • Processed whole grains (whole wheat bread, crackers, etc.)

Beans & Legumes:

  • Kidney beans & White beans

  • Lentils

  • Peanuts & Peanut Butter

Dairy:

  • All pasteurized dairy is acid-forming, including milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, & butter

Meat/Animal-Based Foods:

  • All animal protein is acid-forming, including lunch meat, turkey, chicken, venison, red meat, and all fish & shellfish

Nuts and Seeds:

  • Cashews, Brazil nuts, peanuts, pecans, tahini (if roasted), & hazelnuts

Flavoring, Seasonings, and More:

  • Artificial Sweeteners

  • Table Salt

  • Pepper

  • Processed sugar (white table sugar, high fructose corn syrup & molasses)

  • All processed foods (chips, cereal, cakes, desserts, ice cream, soft drinks, etc.)

  • Seed & Vegetable Oils (sunflower oil, canola oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc.)

  • Alcohol

  • Artificial ingredients

  • Fried foods

  • Soy Milk

  • Coffee

Alkaline-Forming Foods

Alkaline vs. acidic foods

Alkaline-forming foods have a biochemical impact by producing alkaline by-products in your body. An alkaline diet can contribute to a more balanced pH environment in the body, so long as you are not in a state of alkalosis.

These foods play a role in supporting bodily functions and promoting overall well-being.

Fruits:

  • Apples, apricots, bananas (ripe), blackberries, citrus (lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, & grapefruit), dates, pineapple (ripe), cantaloupe, currants, figs, grape, mangoes, nectarines, olives, papaya, pomegranates, raspberries, and watermelon.

Vegetables:

  • Collard greens, Swiss chard, spinach, kale, celery, carrots, beets, cucumber, broccoli, Brussels sprout, artichoke, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, zucchini, turnips, corn (raw), lettuce, mustard greens, parsnips, radishes, watercress, dandelion, rutabaga, green beans, & alfalfa.

Gluten-Free Grains:

  • Millet

  • Sprouted Grains

Beans:

  • Lima beans, Ming bean sprouts, & soybeans.

Nuts and Seeds:

  • Almonds, chestnuts, & coconut

  • Sprouted seeds

  • Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, & sunflower seeds

Flavorings, Seasonings, and More:

  • All herbs

  • Garlic & Leeks

  • Apple Cider Vinegar (raw)

  • Carob

  • Honey

  • Miso

  • Extra Virgin Olive oil

  • Tamari

  • Green Tea & herbal tea

Why Alkaline?

Incorporating alkalizing foods into your diet can offer several health benefits:

  1. Maintaining pH Balance - Alkaline foods help keep your body's pH level in check, supporting its natural balance and preventing it from becoming too acidic.

  2. Bone Health - Some research suggests that an alkaline diet may contribute to better bone health by reducing calcium loss, potentially lowering the risk of osteoporosis. According to a recent study, bone mineral density was linked to a diet high in fruits and vegetables [2].

  3. Anti-Inflammatory Effects - Alkalizing foods are often associated with an anti-inflammatory effect, which can be beneficial for overall health and can help with managing chronic conditions.

  4. Digestive Health -  These foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are rich in fiber and nutrients that support a healthy digestive system, allowing better nutrient absorption and regular bowel movements.

  5. Energy Boost -  Alkaline-forming foods, like fruits, provide essential nutrients and energy from a natural source, so you’ll be less likely to crash midday.

  6. Weight Loss -  Many alkaline foods like fruits and vegetables have tons of nutrition. When we properly nourish our bodies, we are less likely to snack on the bad stuff.

  7. Reducing Processed Foods -  Embracing an alkaline diet often involves reducing the intake of processed and unhealthy foods, leading to a more balanced and nutritious way of eating. And weight loss!

  8. Hydration: Many alkaline foods, like fruits and vegetables, have high water content, contributing to proper hydration, which is essential for a healthy, functioning body.

Simple Ways to Become More Alkaline

  1. Eat (and drink) more raw foods. Most cooked foods are acidic, but ALL raw fruits and vegetables are alkaline. Eat a ton of leafy salads, raw fruits, and raw juices. If you don’t have time for chopping and dicing, Try the Skinny Cleanse®. This cleanse FULL of cold-pressed fruit juices that have alkalizing ingredients from pineapple to citrus fruits to dark leafy greens...

  2. Incorporate leafy greens like kale, spinach, etc. They are super alkalizing. Drink one green juice daily. My favorite green juice is Sweet Greens.

  3. Eat less animal-based foods. Get more of your protein from legumes, greens, nuts, and seeds. Our Meal Replacement Pack is loaded with alkaline-friendly ingredients, like dates, almonds, and pumpkin seeds. Plus, you get 16g of natural protein per bottle.

  4. You can just go ahead and increase your citrus intake. Try our best-selling citrus flavor, Citrus Carrot. Filled with tons of tangy citrus fruits to bring your body back to a state of hemostasis, you’ll also get tons of vitamin C—it’s a no-brainer!

  5. Try our Tropical Sunrise juice, made with apple cider vinegar, which naturally alkalizes the body.

    Nutritionist Tip: With Build-a-Box, you can curate your own box with alkaline-boosting juices and smoothies. I recommend Vanilla Protein, Chocolate Protein, Sweet Greens, Citrus Carrot, or Tropical Sunrise.

    Customize Your Alkalizing Juices & Smoothies With Build-a-Box

  6. Don’t fall for pH waters. They are a gimmick. Alkaline water loses its alkalinity after about 1-2 weeks, which means by the time it is made, packaged, and shipped to the store, it has already lost its alkalinity—just another reason to flood your system with fresh, cold-pressed juices.

  7. Drink less alcohol and caffeine, or remove it from your diet altogether.

The Balancing Act

If you want to feel balanced, then you need to balance your pH.

Modern diets simply cannot offer us anything but acidity, weight gain, gut issues, bloating, and a laundry list of other symptoms.

If you want to feel good and be more balanced, then you need to make some changes. Eat tons of fruits and vegetables. And most importantly, incorporate pH-balancing fresh juices into your daily regimen. Leave the gimmicky alkaline waters where they belong.

Alkalize With Raw Generation Juices

  1. Physiology, Acid-Base Balance

  2. The Acid-Base Hypothesis: Diet and Bone in the Framingham Osteoporosis Study


Bio image of article author Lisa Testa, M.S.

With over two decades of expertise in the field of Health & Wellness, Lisa Testa, M.S. is an experienced nutritionist who has dedicated her career to empowering hundreds of clients on their journeys to weight loss and natural healing through the transformative power of raw food nutrition.

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