Most foods are either acidic or alkaline 34. In "The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health," Dr. Christopher Vasey says that many of today’s health problems are caused by a diet that is too acidic 1. The normal pH level of people's bodies is slightly alkaline (7.35 to 7.45), and because diet plays a fundamental role in sustaining a healthy pH balance, consuming plenty of alkaline-forming foods will help maintain good health 23.
Alkaline diets put a lot of emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables. The diet should consist of 80 percent alkalizing foods, according to Heart Spring, and plenty of water 3. Whether a food is acidic or alkaline-forming has nothing to do with the pH of the food itself. Lemons are very acidic but are also alkaline-forming because when digested they produce an end product that is very alkaline. Most fresh fruits are slightly acidic and should be eaten in moderation. Bananas, according to Heart Spring, are the only alkaline fresh fruit, and banana smoothies are very alkaline-forming 3.
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Dried fruit tends to be more alkaline-forming with raisins, bananas, dates and naturally dried apricots being good choices. Dried fruits to avoid include sulfur-treated apricots, as they are very acidic.
Most vegetables are alkaline-forming with only a few considered acidic. Those that have a tendency to be acid-forming include eggplant and pickled vegetables. According to Wellness.com, raw vegetables are a good choice because they are generally alkaline in the body as well containing many vitamins and minerals 2. Potatoes, spinach, broccoli, green cabbage, sweet potatoes, peppers, zucchini and squash are all alkaline vegetables.
Fresh vegetable juices and green juices made from grasses, such as wheatgrass, are very alkaline. Wellness.com recommends chewing your fruit and vegetables well before swallowing to encourage the production of saliva, which is a very alkaline fluid 2.
- Most vegetables are alkaline-forming with only a few considered acidic.
- Those that have a tendency to be acid-forming include eggplant and pickled vegetables.
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- "The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health"; Dr. Christopher Vasey & Jon Graham; 2004
- Wellness: pH Diet
- Heart Spring: List of Alkaline Foods - The pH Balanced Diet
- Trans4mind: Balancing Acid/Alkaline Foods
- The Telegraph, "Cleanse your body with the alkaline diet." Dec. 29, 2014
- Han H, Segal AM, Seifter JL, Dwyer JT. Nutritional Management of Kidney Stones (Nephrolithiasis). Clin Nutr Res. 2015;4(3):137-52. DOI: 10.7762/cnr.2015.4.3.137
- Schwalfenberg GK. The alkaline diet: is there evidence that an alkaline pH diet benefits health?. J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:727630. DOI:10.1155/2012/727630
- Remer, T et al. Potential Renal Acid Load of Foods and its Influence on Urine pH, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 95, Issue 7, 791 - 797 DOI:10.1016/S0002-8223(95)00219-7
- Dawson-Hughes B, Harris SS, Ceglia L. Alkaline diets favor lean tissue mass in older adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87(3):662-5. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/87.3.662
- Fagherazzi G, Vilier A, Bonnet F, et al. Dietary acid load and risk of type 2 diabetes: the E3N-EPIC cohort study. Diabetologia. 2014;57(2):313-20. doi:10.1007/s00125-013-3100-0
- Xu H, Åkesson A, Orsini N, Håkansson N, Wolk A, Carrero JJ. Modest U-Shaped Association between Dietary Acid Load and Risk of All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality in Adults. J Nutr. 2016;146(8):1580-5. doi:10.3945/jn.116.231019
- Han E, Kim G, Hong N, et al. Association between dietary acid load and the risk of cardiovascular disease: nationwide surveys (KNHANES 2008-2011). Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2016;15(1):122. doi:10.1186/s12933-016-0436-z
- Jia T, Byberg L, Lindholm B, et al. Dietary acid load, kidney function, osteoporosis, and risk of fractures in elderly men and women. Osteoporos Int. 2015;26(2):563-70. doi:10.1007/s00198-014-2888-x
- Rebholz CM, Coresh J, Grams ME, et al. Dietary Acid Load and Incident Chronic Kidney Disease: Results from the ARIC Study. Am J Nephrol. 2015;42(6):427-35. doi:10.1159/000443746
Erika Pennington started writing professionally in 2006. She began as a copywriter before becoming a newspaper reporter for the "Express & Star," its Chronicle series and the Associated Press. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and public relations from Temple University and a postgraduate diploma in journalism from the London School of Journalism.