What is an Alkaline Diet and why is it Good for us?

Don’t worry – we aren’t going back to grade 5 science class when we learned way more than we wanted to know about acids, pH, and alkalinity. 😉 We are going to discuss a very important and relevant topic, however, and that is how to incorporate more alkaline foods into our diet and why we should.

All foods have a pH ranging from 0 to 14. Foods with a pH of 0-6 are considered to be acidic, 7 is neutral, and foods with a pH of 8-14 are considered alkaline.

This is important because…

An acidic environment is a breeding ground for bacteria, disease, and inflammation. An acidic environment has been linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer.

Our bodies normally can do a pretty good job maintaining an alkaline (or base) environment on their own. But, eating alkaline has shown to really help, as it relieves stress on the many internal systems that work together to keep us healthy.

Two other “parts” that can be affected by an acidic environment are:

Bones – acid can leech the calcium from our bones, contributing to weakness and loss.

Teeth – acid is a known attacker of tooth enamel, which can lead to cavities and tooth sensitivity.

The next question is ultimately, what foods are acidic and should therefore be avoided (or limited), and which foods are alkaline and should be added (or increased)?

The most alkaline foods are:

  • Fresh vegetables – broccoli, cabbage, spinach, cucumber, kale, celery, parsley, endive, sprouts
  • Fresh fruits – avocado, coconut, tomato, rhubarb, lemon, lme, grapefruit, pomegranate
  • Legumes and pulses – lentils, quinoa, beans
  • Nuts and seeds – almonds, caraway seeds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, hemp seeds, buckwheat groats
  • Oils and fats – avocado, coconut, hemp, flax, evening primrose, borage, olive

*Also, foods that are made from alkaline ingredients, such as: hummus (made from chickpeas and tahini which is made from ground sesame paste)

The most acidic foods are:

  • Grains – wheat, wheat flour, cereals, pasta, etc
  • Refined sugar
  • Dairy
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Processed foods
  • Saturated fats
  • Vegetable oil (canola, safflower, sunflower)
  • Alcohol

You may have noticed that some of the foods on the alkaline list (citrus fruits, for example) are highly acidic in their natural state. However, once they are digested, they become alkaline. Now, because citrus fruits are not digested when they come in contact with your teeth, they are still in their acidic state. Thus, can cause damage to your tooth enamel if you are not careful. Make a point to rinse your mouth with water after you have eaten an orange, or have finished your morning lemon water cleanse, for example.

How are foods tested to determine their pH?

In the past, scientists would burn food in a laboratory and analyze the resulting ash. The ash was seen to mimic the digestion process.

However, a more recent and accurate method is that of measuring a food’s PRAL (potential renal acid load). The PRAL of a food is determined by the amount of acid that is left when the metabolized remains of the food reaches the kidneys. Foods that contain

  1. protein
  2. phosphorous
  3. sulfur

… for example, are acidic, and increase the workload placed on the kidneys to filter it out.

So, foods like meat, which is high in protein, is therefore given a high PRAL score.

Make sense?

Conversely, fruits and vegetables contain minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which are alkaline, and reduce the amount of acid the kidneys need to process (making them receive a negative PRAL score).

The Alkaline diet and Ayurveda

According to our wonderful testament to healthy living, the practice of the ancient principles of Ayurveda, up to 90% of our population is living with an overly acidic body.

An acidic body leads to chronic fatigue (both mental and physical), overall degeneration of tissues and systems, and a lack of “shine” of the hair and skin.

Ayurvedic practitioners suggest maintaining an 80-20 ratio of alkaline-acid producing foods. Consume almost limitless quantities of fresh vegetables and fruits, and limit the consumption of animal proteins, grains, etc.

Our target should be a fairly consistent pH level of approximately 7. Urine strips may be an option. They are available at all health food stores, as well as online, can be used to measure the pH of our body.

Before we finish up with this topic, we thought we’d share some interesting information…

Water can be either acidic or alkaline – good quality water should have a pH of 7, and this is a standard we should all work towards with our drinking water (where possible).

Warm water is said to aid the digestive process. Try adding alkaline herbs like cumin and coriander, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

If you wake up in the morning with a heavily coated white tongue, suffer from chronic bad breath, or are experiencing chronic inflammation, you may have a pH imbalance. Other symptoms can include: headaches, allergies, yeast infections, mood swings, joint aches, and canker sores.

In conclusion, we trust that this information has been helpful. And, as always, our goal is to gently guide everyone to a place of optimized health. If you have questions about the alkaline diet, please reach out at anytime. We would love to chat with you.

And now, it is time for some restorative lemon water. See you soon!

Lastly, thank you so much for visiting! I hope you have found some valuable information, if so, I’d love to hear about it!

Please feel free to share this post with anyone who might benefit, and comments are always welcome!

I look forward to connecting with you next time!

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From our kitchen to yours,

Love + Peace


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