The ultimate goal of “going alkaline” is to restore a normal, healthful pH balance to your body, so that its detoxification systems are not overburdened with harmful acid waste. Professional athletes and weight lifters understand this principle, because in order to build a fit body, you have to give it the proper fuel and maintenance. This truth isn’t just for athletes, though; anyone who wants good health and longevity needs to give their body fuel that it can actually use.
If you want to go alkaline, the first thing you’ll need to know is which foods have been found to be alkaline-forming. In addition, you will want to acquaint yourself with which foods are acid-forming, and which foods are neutral. Since the standard American diet is highly acidic, raising your body’s pH calls for a switch to eating mostly alkaline foods that heal, with only a small amount of acidic foods.
Alkaline-Forming Foods to Add
All foods, as found in nature, chemically contain both acid- and alkaline-forming elements. A food is determined to be “alkaline-forming,” however, based on its residue (“ash”) after being digested, not before. A good food to use as an example of this concept is a fresh lemon. We think of a lemon as being acidic, but it actually leaves an alkaline ash after we digest it, and has a very alkalizing effect on the body.
The vast majority of fresh, raw vegetables and fruits are alkaline-forming foods when eaten in their natural state—even citrus fruits. Most alkaline-forming foods are high in vitamin and mineral content, but low in protein and fat. The most notable exceptions to this are raw, sprouted legumes such as peas, beans or lentils, which are good sources of alkalizing protein.
Here is a list of some of the most popular and widely available alkaline-forming foods to get you started:
Alkaline water (pH 7.5-9.5)
French Cut Green Beans
Sprouted Chia Seeds
Sprouted Radish Seeds
Organic Grains & Legumes
Fats (Cold-Pressed Oils)
Flax Seed Oil
Neutral pH Foods to Include
The list of neutral pH foods is pretty short. If you are hoping to shed pounds by going on an alkaline diet, then this list will be even shorter (omit vegetable oils and butter*).
*Vegetable Oils (other than olive oil)
Acid-Forming Foods: Limit Some, Avoid Others
While adding more alkaline foods to your diet is necessary for restoring a healthy, alkaline pH balance, it is equally important that you avoid the most harmful acid-forming foods that offer little or no nutritional benefits.
Foods to Limit – Some acidifying foods are both beneficial and essential, containing nutrients that are difficult (or even impossible) to get from alkalizing foods. These should be eaten, but in limited quantities.
Acidic foods that you should consider eating include:
- animal protein sources such as chicken, fish, organic grass-fed beef, organic plain yogurt, or eggs;
- plant protein sources such as cooked beans, peas or legumes;
- gluten-free grains.
Foods to Avoid – Ideally, it is best to totally avoid the foods on this list:
Coffee (decaf & regular)
For many people, one of the more difficult acidic foods to give up is coffee. If that is troubling you, go ahead and have a cup in the morning, but don’t drink it throughout the day. Decaf coffee is not an option (it is acid-forming, as well), but there are some less-acidic coffee substitutes as well as lower-acid coffees you might want to try if you still feel deprived.
Remember: all the alkaline- and acid-forming foods listed above are there for the purpose of providing a general overview of the guidelines to follow when going from an acidic body pH to a healthy alkaline pH. Oftentimes, it helps to use the “75%/25%” rule as a guiding principle when eating a meal. This means that approximately three-fourths (75%) of your plate is filled with alkaline-forming foods, leaving only one-fourth (25%) of your plate for acceptable acid-forming foods.
Enjoy the Benefits of Going “Leafy Green”
Among the many types of alkaline foods that heal, dark green leafy vegetables have some unique characteristics which rank them as “superfoods.” Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale and collard are rich in chlorophyll, which has a history of use to cleanse the blood, balance body pH, and boost cognitive and immune functions. Some scientific studies with certain population groups have even found a correlation between higher consumption of leafy greens and reduced risks of heart disease and certain cancers.
Chlorophyll has also been found to be helpful for: enhancing oxygen transport, increasing red blood cell production, helping to remove substances such as heavy metals and pollutants from the bloodstream, increasing mental focus, and alleviating depression. According to a 2012 study, chlorophyll acts as a powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent, as well. (Source) Even the American Cancer Institute has now included a long list of dark green leafy vegetables in their article entitled “Foods That Fight Cancer.” (Source)
Beyond chlorophyll, leafy greens contain an abundance of phytonutrients, trace minerals, omega fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants. Raw leafy greens contain living enzymes and easily digestible proteins, especially good for muscle and tissue strength. They are also an excellent source of dietary fiber. One of the best ways to include greens in the diet is by mixing kale or spinach with other fruits and veggies in a “green smoothie.”
Ready to Go Alkaline?
Now that you have an idea of how to get on the alkaline path to a less-stressful body pH, you’re ready to get started right now. Shop for more foods on the alkaline list, and skip buying the ‘off-limits’ acidic foods. Then aim for meals that are at least 75% alkaline-forming, with 25% being acidic foods.
You don’t have to do everything perfectly to get started. Once you start adding the alkaline foods and limiting the acid ones, you’re sure to notice a difference in how you feel, and that will be your best motivation to stay on course.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.