Balance is key, and when it comes to our body’s pH levels, it’s the key to life! pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline something is and our blood pH needs to maintain a slightly alkaline level to keep us healthy. The pH (power of hydrogen) scale runs from 0-14, with 0 being totally acidic and 14 totally alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral (neither acid or alkaline). We help our bodies to maintain this pH balance by eating more alkaline-forming foods and fewer acid-forming foods. Alkaline-forming foods include most fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, seeds and herbal teas. Acid-forming foods include most grains, beans, meats, dairy products, fish, fast foods and processed foods. The key is to maintain balance and not make your body work so hard to maintain its pH.
All in all, the advantage to eating alkaline-forming foods is significant. Clean, plant-based nutrition has proven to remedy stiffness, low energy, dependence on caffeine, limited range of motion, poor sleep quality, inefficient digestion, etc. You see, when you eat acid-forming foods, you reduce your muscles’ efficiency and have to spend more energy for every muscle contraction. If you add up the muscle contractions for example, during a 10K race, a half marathon or marathon, that means a ton of extra work. Because alkaline-forming foods help reduce inflammation, your muscles are able to work more functionally, and they require less force to move. As an endurance athlete for example, this will allow you to push harder for longer. If you are a strength athlete, this allows you to lift heavier weights. Overall, everyone, particularly athletes, benefit with a faster recovery when eating more plant-based foods.
When we eat acid-forming foods, our body brings our blood pH back into balance by releasing alkaline-rich minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium into our bloodstream. If we are eating enough alkaline-forming foods each day, then our body has easy access to these minerals from our diet. If we’re not eating enough alkaline-forming foods, then our body has to pull these important minerals from our bones, teeth, and organs. This can compromise our immune system, cause fatigue, and make us vulnerable to viruses and disease.
Keeping up your body’s alkaline doesn’t mean that you have to eat alkaline foods only. A certain percentage of the food you eat can be acidic, but experts recommend eating natural, whole foods like organic fruits and vegetables when you can. For the acid forming foods, skip the fast food burgers and processed foods. Instead choose healthier options like beans, grains and other fresh foods. Eat a diet of 60-80% alkaline-forming foods and 20-40% acid-forming foods. Some of the most acidic foods include refined junk food products such as sugar-loaded cereals, caffeine-laden sports and energy drinks, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners.
Almonds and Almond Milk: Almonds take a special place on the list of healthiest foods out there, so it should not surprise you that they are on the alkaline list as well. Almonds increase muscle mass, reduce cholesterol levels, and aid in weight loss. You don’t have to stuff yourself with almonds to enjoy their amazing benefits, but they are a tasty snack and you can eat them between your meals or pretty much anytime you wish.
Amaranth: Not many people are familiar with this grain, but it’s an excellent addition to any alkaline diet regimen. It creates an alkaline environment in your body and it’s quite high in protein for a grain. Amaranth is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. If you have no idea on how to implement it into your diet, check for some online delicious recipes and enjoy its benefits.
Artichokes: Artichokes are a common salad topping, and some prefer them added in a dip. Regardless of the way you eat them, artichokes should be part of your diet. They raise pH values and increase alkalinity. Artichokes are abundant in antioxidants, cleanse liver, and stimulate digestion. Prepare your favorite leafy green salad and top it with some artichokes.
Asparagus: It has a strong alkaline effect on the body, and it’s known as one of the most powerful foods to eat when it comes to alkalinity. Asparagus has the reputation of a “big dog.” Moreover, it is packed with antioxidants, nutrients, and a wide range of detoxifying qualities. Nutritionists also say that asparagus provides great anti-aging benefits, which is more than enough to add it to your diet.
Beetroot: Beetroot is more popular than ever, and it’s one of the foods that will help you raise pH levels. The reason to add this precious vegetable into your diet is the fact that it is one of the very few sources of phytonutrient betalain, known for its anticancer nutrients. You can add beets as a side dish or to top your salads. Always buy fresh beetroot and steam it, because pickled beets have poor nutritional value.
Broccoli: This is one of the healthiest foods out there. Broccoli is a vegetable that offers a tremendous number of benefits, and all you have to do is eat as much as you can. People prefer eating it on a daily basis to maintain their good health and alkalinity, but 3 or 4 times is just enough.
Cabbage: If you don’t like the taste of cabbage, keep an open mind. It could be that you just haven’t found a good recipe for it. It’s really easy to cook cabbage poorly, so give it another try if it’s on your ‘Do Not Eat’ list. In addition to its alkalinity, it’s also been shown to be very effective in preventing as well as reversing certain cancers. Add to it the fiber content, and the low caloric load, and it’s a winner for just about every diet out there.
Carrot: Carrots are good for the eyes, but their overall effect is also an alkaline one. This makes them doubly good to eat, and they are tasty both raw, and steamed so they’re easier to chew up. Aside from the assist to the eyes, carrots also have plenty of vitamins, fiber, and potassium, making them a very well rounded veggie. So make like Bugs Bunny and be sure to get your carrot fix every now and then.
Cauliflower: Cauliflower is in the same vegetable family as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and shares many of the same healthy characteristics, including being an alkaline food. It has a good amount of fiber, and it’s a great non-fruit source of Vitamin C. It’s also very easy to prepare, but to keep as much of its alkaline nature as possible, eat it raw on salads or steam it until it’s tender and easy to eat.
Celery: You’ve got to love celery, even if you don’t necessarily love the taste. In addition to being an alkaline food it’s also very low in calories, and can help you body with a host of different benefits. If you don’t like crunching it up and having the strands get stuck in your teeth, pulverize it in a blender while you’re making a green smoothie. It also plays well in a fruit smoothie, adding a bit of spiciness without overshadowing the fruit flavors.
Chia: You might not think that these little seeds could pack such a nutritional punch, or have any effect on your body’s pH levels, but it turns out that they help with your alkalinity. The nice thing about them is you can sprinkle them on just about anything. Think about making a soup out of the veggies on this list, and then sprinkling in some chia seeds for good measure. Or add them to a smoothie to help tip it to the alkaline side. Be creative!
Chives: It’s time to increase your intake of chives, and since they don’t typically find their way onto the plate, you’ll have to seek them out. They can assist the body because their alkaline producing, and they also do a good job of flavoring up a meal, so you can think of new ways to use them. One good thing they can go on is potatoes, which makes this alkaline list and would provide you with additional nutritional benefits.
Cilantro: Here’s another fantastic way to add big amounts of taste to your plate, while also helping to tip your body towards being and staying alkaline. It’s hard to imagine that these little guys can make a difference, but they’re not only alkaline-forming, they can help with cholesterol, anemia, and digestion. It’s easy enough to use it in your cooking, and you can even get herb gardens for you home and grow it organically. There’s no need to eat massive amounts of it, since it combines nicely with other foods found on this page.
Coconut: Coconut is such a natural food that it’s no surprise that much of what’s inside is good for you. The health benefits of coconut milk, juice, and flesh are all well documented, and now you can add alkalinity to its list of features. It’s sometimes hard to think of ways to add more coconut into your life, since you’ll want to avoid the packaged coconuts shavings used in baking. You’ll want to stick to things like coconut oil, and fresh coconut flesh in order to reap the rewards.
written for Cliff Original by Frederick Entenmann.