It is no secret that the food we eat affects our health and bodies directly. This means we need to ensure that we only consume healthy, nutritious food that helps us promote – and not harm – our health. The food and drinks we consume fall into two categories: acidic and alkaline food. Whether a type of food or drink is acidic, neutral or alkaline depends on the pH value of that particular substance. A pH of 0 indicates acidity. A pH of 7 is neutral, and a pH of 14 indicates alkalinity.
Acidic vs Alkaline food
Different Parts Of Our Bodies Are Either Acidic Or Alkaline
For instance, your stomach needs to be acidic in order to process and break down food for absorption. This means that this bodily organ is therefore usually at a pH level of 3.5. However, warns Julia Webb Kelley in an article entitled Acid Vs. Alkaline in the Body, a over-supply of acidity in the body can be extremely harmful:
“Imbalance and disease can set in when the body is daily dealing with too many acid-forming foods and too much stress … Acidic foods … usually have a low pH level – 4.6 or lower. Foods like grains, sugar, dairy products, fish, processed food, fresh meat and processed meat, sodas and sweetened beverages, high-protein and supplements are low pH, or acidic. If you have problems with acidity, you need to try and cut out these foods from your diet or reduce your intake. Citrus fruits are also high in acidity.
Ideally, your blood pH should be between 7.35 and 7.45. This is more alkaline. Whereas the stomach is quite acidic, the small intestine is an alkaline environment with a pH of 7.4.
The Average Person’s Diet Is Made Up Of A Variety Of Acidic And Alkaline Food
In acidic foods, the nutrients cause more ammonium to be produced in your kidneys. Research has shown that a highly acidic diet could cause bone loss, listlessness, depression, headaches, acne, dry skin, mood swings, poor digestion, brittle nails and hair, and sensitive gums. If you have too much acid in you, the free radicals in your body increase, which decreases your cellular energy.
Alkaline foods usually have a high pH level. These foods have a level of anything above 7. Foods like soy, fresh vegetables and potatoes, most fruits, herbs and spices, beans and lentils, whole grains, herbal teas and fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds are all alkaline and should be more present in your diet. Substances in alkaline foods cause more bicarbonate to be produced your body’s organs.
For a summary of acidic and alkaline foods, watch this video.
Health Benefits 101
There are many health benefits to including alkaline-rich foods in your diet, including:
- Improving your memory and alertness,
- Protecting bone density and muscle mass,
- Lowering your risk of hypertension and stroke,
- Decreasing levels of chronic pain and inflammation,
- Boosting vitamin absorption and – in particular – preventing magnesium deficiency,
- Assisting to improve immune functioning and cancer prevention, and
- Helps you maintain a healthy weight
Should You Eat More Alkaline?
Owing to the ease of overdosing on acidic food, and reaping the negative effects of this, many people have opted to go for an alkaline diet. Dr. Edward Group – DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM – unpacks this choice:
“To determine if a diet “works,” it’s important to establish the specific goals and indicators of success. Is it an attempt to lose weight? Feel more energetic? Build muscle? From a purely nutritional standpoint, the alkaline diet is strong. It centers heavily around fruits and vegetables, rather than meat and grains. Researchers suggest the absence of plant foods, excessive consumption of meat, saturated fat, simple sugars, and starchy foods contributes to many common health problems. Any diet that includes more health-promoting foods will better support your health than a diet that doesn’t. However, eating healthy, natural foods, may not change your internal acid levels, which is the entire point of the alkaline diet.”
Acidic and alkaline food make up the average person’s diet in differing quantities. By educating yourself, you will be able to make better choices which will affect your health positively. If you are unsure of which foods you should be incorporating into your diet, you should consider a nutrition course or approaching someone like a nutritionist to help you put together a diet that will help you live happier and healthier. If you’re considering going the route of a course, Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Specialised Nutrition Course will teach you more about the difference between acidic and alkaline food as well as everything else you need to know about nutrition.