Blood pH level generally sits in the range between 7.35 and 7.45, and according to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute senior clinical nutritionist Stephanie Vangsness, the body fights to keep it there. Whenever blood pH veers outside this range and turns too acidic or too alkaline, the body automatically self-corrects using a complex internal regulating system. Therefore, says Vangsness, it is next to impossible to achieve and sustain an alkaline state for any length of time. Having said that, certain foods can raise your blood pH, making it more alkaline, but only temporarily.
Test your blood pH. According to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, or AACC, two tests chiefly monitor blood pH: tests on blood gases and electrolytes, customarily ordered as part of an electrolyte panel in a routine blood screen. Home testing pH strips read urine and saliva pH only, says Vangsness, neither of which gives an accurate snapshot of the body’s pH.
Record your diet, and pay attention to the alkaline foods you already eat. Some examples include figs, spinach and lima beans.
Slowly reduce your intake of acid-forming foods–fish, organ meats and rice, for example–while maintaining your existing intake of alkaline-forming foods.
Slowly integrate more alkaline-forming foods into your diet. Start with fruit and vegetables such as apricots, celery and carrots.
Maintain the overall health of your lungs and kidneys, as these organs primarily oversee the body’s pH. Reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution and viral respiratory infection, and keep your weight and cholesterol levels within healthy ranges. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, compelling research shows that a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, healthy unsaturated fats and protein significantly lowers blood pressure, one of the major risk factors for kidney disease.
Fill half your plate with vegetables at every meal, suggests the Harvard School of Public Health, and keep high alkaline fruit and vegetables, such as grapes and broccoli, handy.
At present, no major human studies focus on alkaline diets, says Vangsness, so no research can confirm or deny the benefits of alkaline foods, other than the obvious overall health benefits of a fruit- and vegetable-rich diet.