(February, 2020) Acid-alkaline balance is an important concept in nutrition, and another way that food affects our health. The mass consumption of meat and grains causes the body to become overly acidic. This high-acid diet, common to the American palette, can strip the body of minerals, promote osteoporosis, contribute to loss of lean muscle mass, and stress the kidneys. Urinary tract infections (UTI) are more likely when the body is acidic. Muscle cramps are also caused by mineral deficiencies, and are compounded by dangerous prescription medications. Consider also that inflammation and cancer feed on acidity.
Prevention of osteoporosis, and many other health issues, is through dietary changes, with an emphasis on alkaline foods. What you eat controls your pH levels, both in the blood and urine. The blood must stay at a constant pH, but your urine will become quite acidic, if you’re not eating a balanced diet. This can wear out your kidney function over decades of bad eating. It’s easy to test your urinary pH with commercial test strips. Ideally, you want to get your urinary pH up to ~6.8, which is ideal for preventing UTI.
Often missing in the American diet is a healthy potassium-to-sodium ratio.
Eating potassium-rich fruits buffers against the ill effects of acidic foods. Don’t rely on dairy products to prevent osteoporosis. Rather, it’s in the fruits and vegetables where you’ll find the solution. But not every fruit or vegetable is the same when it comes to acid:alkaline balance.
Here is a shopping list of the most extreme alkaline- and acid-forming foods. The key is to reduce consumption of one and increase consumption of the other until you find your balance. That may manifest in many ways: 1) preventing urinary tract infections, 2) increasing energy, 3) shedding excess weight, 4) improving mood, 5) stronger bones and joints, and 6) reduced pain and irritability. Print out this list and take it shopping with you. Enjoy.
High Alkaline Forming
Miso, tamari (fermented soy)
Radish (also Daikon)
San Pelligrino water
Sea salt (unrefined, grey)
Sweet potato, Yams
Apple Cider vinegar (also Umeboshi)
Vegetable juice (non-tomato)
High Acid Forming
Bread, Bagels, Biscuits, Crackers, Croutons
Cakes, Cupcakes, Brownies
Cheese (hard, mozzarella, American, Camembert)
Coffee (espresso only)
Corn flakes (frosted)
Cranberry sauce (sweetened)
Fried foods in general
Pasta, Farina, Noodles (white flour)
Potato chips, Tortilla chips
Red wine vinegar
Salt, iodized table
Soft drinks, diet included
Soy (milk, nuts, grits, powder, flour)
Sugar, brown sugar (but not organic Sucanat)
(adapted from Brown & Trivieri 2006 The Acid-Alkaline Food Guide)