Alkaline, acidic, pH, these are terms that you should know if you’re interested in improving your digestive health (and your general health, for that matter). Having a balanced pH in the body is essential to preventing disease and maintaining good health, and it’s also a crucial factor in healthy weight loss.
Maintaining a mostly alkaline state is crucial to preventing illness and staving off chronic disease. The more acidic one’s body is, the higher their risk of contracting illnesses/diseases, gaining weight, having teeth & gum problems, experiencing pain & inflammation, etc.
To start, here are some basic definitions (without getting too technical):
- Alkaline: A chemistry term, alkaline or alkalinity refers to the chemical makeup of something. An alkaline substance will have a pH greater than 7.
- Acidic: Acidic is on the opposite end of the spectrum from alkaline. An acidic or acid-based substance will have a pH below 7.
- pH: A pH level measures how acidic or how alkaline something is. A pH of 0 is totally acidic, whereas a pH of 14 is totally alkaline. The body’s ideal pH level is just a bit above 7. In fact, the body tries to regulate its pH level to be at about 7.365, so slightly more alkaline than acidic. The more you can help your body stay alkaline, the better.
If the human body is always located somewhere on the pH scale, what is the significance of alkaline and acidic food? What types of foods should we eat to ensure our bodies are more alkaline than acidic?
Acidic Versus Alkaline – What it All Means
Without getting into too many chemistry terms and technical significance, the importance of understanding acidity versus alkalinity comes down to understanding that the human body needs both acidic and alkaline foods, but it needs more alkaline foods than acidic foods. Some experts even say that your diet should consist of 80 percent alkaline foods and only 20 percent acidic foods. And that’s simply because the body digests and absorbs nutrients from alkaline foods more efficiently, (and alkaline foods do not have some of the harmful effects that acidic foods can have).
Unfortunately, nutritional options (at least in the United States) are often pushed in the opposite direction. Many Americans eat a significant amount of animal-based protein, wheat, gluten, dairy, refined and processed foods, sugars, etc. These foods are acidic, not alkaline.
On the other hand, alkaline foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, herbal teas, seeds, green juices, melons, lemons, etc. As a general rule, people hoping to alkalize their bodies would do well to focus their diets on alkaline foods far more than acidic foods. That can have huge benefits in the form of reducing acid levels in the digestive system. The stomach should always have some acidic aspects to it, as stomach acid is crucial in breaking down food. But too much acidity in the digestive system can cause unpleasant phenomena (like acid reflux).
What are the Liabilities of Being Acidic?
About eight of every ten people consume too much acidic food in their day-to-day diet and not enough alkaline food. Why? It’s very simple. Acidic foods are what is most readily available to them. But the results of eating primarily acidic food can be quite harmful. For example, according to the Washington Post, about 60 million Americans suffer from heartburn at least once per month. Fifteen million Americans experience some form of digestive acidity discomfort every day. Much of that comes from having a diet based on acidic foods. While a range of health issues can cause heartburn, a diet consisting mainly of acidic food and insufficient alkaline food is a significant component.
And in addition to acid reflux, there is a long list of unpleasant side effects of one’s body being too acidic. These include:
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Wheezing, coughing, chronic sore throat
- Dysphagia (feeling like food is stuck in your throat)
All of the above symptoms and more can result from having a diet that is too focused on acidic foods.
Vegetables – The Human Body’s Best Source of Natural Alkaline Nutrients
Vegetables are generally very alkaline in composition, with some vegetables being more alkaline than others. With that in mind, we put together a lit of alkaline foods. The more alkaline foods are towards the top of the list, and the “mildly alkaline” ones are towards the bottom.
Here’s a full list of over sixty alkaline foods to consider adding to your diet!:
- Sprouts (soy, alfalfa, etc.)
- Sea Vegetables (Kelp)
- Green drinks
- All Sprouted Beans/
- Collard/Spring Greens
- Green Beans
- Mustard Greens
- Red Onion
- Butter Beans
- Soy Beans
- White Haricot Beans
- Brussels Sprouts
- New Baby Potatoes
- Goat & Almond Milk
- Most Herbs & Spices
- Avocado Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Flax Oil/Udo’s Oil
In the next part of this two-part guide, we’ll talk about which foods to avoid, and we’ll take a look at one sure way to give your body the alkaline boost it needs. For a sneak peek at what we’ll be talking about in Part #2, click here to learn more about a product that can make getting your daily dose of vegetables that much easier!
Be sure to check back on our website early next week for part #2!
– Ren Brabenec
Immune Solution® Writing Staff