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After embracing a plant based lifestyle, I heard a lot about alkaline foods vs acidic foods. I understood enough to know that one is better for health than the other. But why? My curiosity led me to investigate.
Do you wonder which foods contribute to creating an alkaline body…and which create acidity? Or perhaps you wonder…what difference does it make anyway?
Check out alkaline foods vs acidic foods and discover why they DO matter to health.
Alkaline and acidic refer to the pH level in the body. All systems, tissues and fluids range from 0 to 14 on the scale. A lower pH level is more acidic and a higher one is more alkaline. A slightly alkaline pH of 7.35 – 7.45 for the body is considered ideal for health.
Our kidneys help to regulate pH by maintaining electrolyte levels and either excreting or absorbing acidic and alkaline ions through urine. However, a diet high in acidic foods can have a negative impact on health while one higher in alkaline foods provides benefits.
And by benefits, I mean that eating enough alkaline foods helps to promote an optimal environment within the body for health. The kidneys work well. Weight is easier to maintain. An alkaline body lowers the risks for heart disease, strengthens bones, balances hormones and improves brain functions such as memory and cognitive abilities. There is also evidence that consuming more alkaline foods eases pain and inflammation in muscles and joints.
Foods that are Alkaline
Choose foods from this list of foods, adding them to the diet weekly. They help to neutralize the effects of acidic foods.
- green leafy vegetables including spinach, kale, lettuce, celery, parsley, arugula and mustard greens
- cauliflower and broccoli
- sea vegetables, such as Atlantic dulse, nori and kelp, and sea salt
- root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots and beets
- fruits such as kiwi, watermelon, berries, nectarines, apricots and apples
- nuts such as almonds, cashews and chestnuts
- onion, garlic and ginger
- beans and legumes
- citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes and oranges
Citrus fruits may come as a surprise, however they are actually one of the best alkaline foods. Citric acid has an alkalizing effect on the body, providing relief from acidity and heartburn.
A diet that is high in acidic foods creates an environment in the body that contributes to disease and feeds pathogens. Acid forming foods typically include animal proteins, wheat products and alcohol.
Too many acidic foods throw the body out of balance. The results are lower bone density, acid reflux and heartburn, kidney stones and disease, chronic pain in muscles and joints, headaches, back pain, muscle spasms and hormonal imbalance. An acidic body is at higher risk of heart disease and brain impairment.
Foods that are Acidic
The typical American diet is highly acidic. Limit these foods, to reduce acidity and improve health.
- milk and dairy products such as cheese
- caffeinated drinks such as coffee and soda
- artificial sweeteners
- wheat products including breads and pastas
- lunch meat
- highly processed foods such as cereals, frozen dinners and store bought snacks
Tips to Help
One way to support a healthy alkaline body is to switch to a plant based diet. However, if you are not ready to do that, these tips can help.
- substitute beans or legumes for meat two or more times a week
- try eating only fruits and veggies for breakfast and lunch
- combine fruits and greens into a nutrient packed…and alkaline…smoothie
- eat fruit instead of highly processed store bought snacks
- cook more at home, to avoid processed foods
- reduce coffee and soda intake by switching to water or unsweetened herbal teas
- try chicory tea in the morning instead of coffee
- sweeten herbal teas with organic honey or maple syrup instead of artificial sweeteners
- focus on whole foods rather than processed foods
I can’t personally recommend bottled alkaline water. For one thing, I’m eliminating plastic use from my life. And I prefer eating foods that naturally balance the body, over drinking alkaline water. Will it hurt? No, not if you occasionally drink alkaline water. Again, grab a piece of fruit instead or enjoy a fresh chopped salad. Gain the health benefits that those foods provide, beyond contributing to an alkaline body.
In the battle of alkaline foods vs acidic foods, I’d love to see you on the side that promotes health, wellness and vitality.
Pick up dried chicory below, by clicking on the photo.
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