Acid Alkaline Balance

Having a good acid alkaline balance is essential for good health. The pH of your body is supposed to be slightly alkaline. Acids are naturally created by the body due to all of the biochemical transactions your body processes. Under normal circumstances your body has a way of dealing with these acids and maintaining a state of balance. However, when you add to the creation of these acids by way of a poor diet, you start to put extra pressure on the body's ability to cope with the acid load. Too much body fat can also contribute to this problem. The body will use fat to store acids and toxins as fat binds to acids. This then makes it harder for you to metabolise any extra weight. The body will also store excess acid in tissue and lymph fluid.

What problems does an imbalance cause?

Problems associated with acid-alkaline imbalance are weight gain, lack of energy, constant fatigue, loss of drive and enthusiasm, high irritability, headaches, problems in the mouth, acid reflux, gastritis, intestinal disorders, kidney problems, skin problems, bone loss, poor circulation, thyroid issues, insomnia, and more.

Human blood pH should be slightly alkaline (7.35 - 7.45 pH). A reading below or above this range indicates symptoms and disease. A pH of 7.0 is neutral. A pH below 7.0 is acidic. A pH above 7.0 is alkaline.

An acidic pH can occur from an acid forming diet, emotional stress, toxic overload, and/or immune reactions or any process that deprives the cells of oxygen and other nutrients. The body will try to compensate for acidic pH by using alkaline minerals. If the diet does not contain enough minerals to compensate then a build-up of acids in the cells will occur. The body will take the minerals it needs to buffer the high acid from the bones, which will, in the long term, result in lower bone density and maybe lead to osteoporosis.

An acidic balance will decrease the body's ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients, decrease the energy production in the cells, decrease the ability to repair damaged cells, decrease the ability to detoxify heavy metals, make tumour cells thrive, and make the body more susceptible to fatigue and illness. A blood pH of 6.9, which is only slightly acidic, can induce coma and death.

The reason acidosis is more common in our society is mostly due to our typical diet, which is far too high in acid producing animal products like meat, eggs, dairy, and is low in alkaline producing foods like fresh vegetables. Additionally, we eat acid producing processed foods like white flour and sugar and drink acid producing beverages such as coffee and soft drinks. We use too many drugs, which are also acid forming, as well as artificial chemicals.

Sweeteners like NutraSweet, Spoonful, Sweet 'N Low or Aspartame are extremely acid forming. One of the best things we can do to correct an overly acidic body is to clean up our diet and lifestyle.

Unlike foods that are milled, packaged, and processed, nature has created foods that we were intended to eat, natural foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients. To maintain health, the diet should consist of 60% alkaline forming foods and 40% acid forming foods. To restore health, the diet should consist of 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acid forming foods.

Generally, alkaline forming foods include - most fruits, green vegetables, peas, beans, lentils, spices, herbs and seasonings, and seeds and nuts.

Generally, acid forming foods include - meat, fish, poultry, eggs, grains, and legumes.

Although it might seem that citrus fruits would have an acidifying effect on the body, the citric acid they contain actually has an alkalinising effect in the system. It’s important to note that a food's acid or alkaline forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the actual pH of the food itself. For example, lemons are very acidic however the end products they produce after digestion and assimilation are very alkaline, lemons are alkaline forming in the body. Likewise, meat will test as alkaline before digestion, but it leaves very acidic residue in the body so, like nearly all animal products, meat is very acid forming.

The following lists show a range of foods and whether they are acid or alkaline forming:

Alkaline forming foods (80% of diet)

Alkalizing vegetables
Alfalfa, barley grass, beet greens, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chard greens, chlorella, collard greens, cucumber, dandelions, dulce, edible flowers, eggplant, fermented veggies, garlic, green beans, green peas, kale kohlrabi, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, nightshade veggies, onions, parsnips (high glycemic), peas, peppers, pumpkin, radishes, rutabaga, sea veggies, spinach, green, spirulina, sprouts, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watercress, wheat grass, wild greens

Alkalising oriental vegetables
Daikon, dandelion root, kombu, maitake, nori reishi, shitake, umeboshi, wakame

Alkalizing fruits
Apple, apricot, avocado, banana (high glycemic), berries, blackberries, cantaloupe, cherries (sour), coconut (fresh), currants, dates (dried),figs (dried), grapes, grapefruit, honeydew melon, lemon, lime, muskmelons, nectarine, orange, peach, pear, pineapple, raisins, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, tangerine, tomato, tropical fruits, umeboshi plums, watermelon

Alkalizing protein
Almonds, chestnuts, millet, tempeh (fermented), tofu (fermented), whey protein powder

Alkalizing sweeteners

Alkalizing spices and seasonings
Chilli pepper, cinnamon, curry, ginger, herbs (all), miso, mustard, sea salt, tamari

Alkalizing other
Alkaline antioxidant water, apple cider vinegar, bee pollen, fresh fruit juice, green juices, lecithin granules, mineral water, molasses (blackstrap), probiotic cultures, soured dairy products, veggie juices

Alkalizing minerals
Calcium: pH 12, cesium: pH 14, magnesium: pH 9, potassium: pH 14, sodium: pH 14

Unknown forming foods

Brazil nuts, brussels sprouts, buckwheat, cashews, chicken, corn, cottage cheese, eggs, flax seeds, green tea, herbal tea, honey, kombucha, lima beans, maple syrup, milk, nuts, organic milk (unpasteurised), potatoes (white), pumpkin seeds, quinoa, sauerkraut, soy products, sprouted seeds, squashes sunflower seeds, tomatoes, yogurt

Acid forming foods (20% of diet)

Acidifying vegetables
Corn, lentils, olives, winter squash

Acidifying fruits
Blueberries, canned or glazed fruits, cranberries, currants, plums, prunes

Acidifying grains, grain products
Amaranth, barley, bran (oat), bran(wheat), bread, corn, cornstarch, crackers (soda), flour (wheat), flour (white), hemp seed flour, kamut macaroni, noodles, oatmeal, oats (rolled), quinoa, rice (all), rice cakes, rye, spaghetti, spelt, wheat germ, wheat

Acidifying beans and legumes
Almond milk, black beans, chick peas, green peas, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, red beans, rice milk, soy beans, soy milk, white beans

Acidifying dairy
Butter, cheese, processed cheese, ice cream, ice milk

Acidifying nuts and butters
Cashews, legumes, peanut butter, peanuts, pecans, tahini, walnuts

Acidifying animal protein
Bacon, beef, carp, clams, cod, corned beef, fish, haddock, lamb, lobster, mussels, organ meats, oyster venison, pike, pork, rabbit, salmon, sardines, sausage, scallops, shellfish, shrimp, tuna, turkey, veal

Acidifying fats and oils
Avocado oil, butter, canola oil, corn oil, flax oil, hemp seed oil, lard, olive oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil

Acidifying sweeteners
Carob, corn syrup, sugar

Acidifying alcohol
Beer, hard liquor, spirits, wine

Acidifying other foods
Ketchup, cocoa, coffee, mustard, pepper, soft drinks, vinegar

Acidifying drugs and chemicals
Aspirin, Chemicals, Drugs (medicinal), drugs (psychedelic), herbicides, pesticides, tobacco

Acidifying junk food
Beer: pH 2.5, coca-Cola: pH 2, coffee: pH 4

This article has
been written by
Terry Fairclough