All liquids are either acidic, neutral, or alkalis. This value is measured on the pH scale. Pure distilled water is neutral and has a value of 7 on the pH scale. Any solution with a value less than 7 is an acid and any solution which has a value greater than 7 is an alkali. Human blood is alkaline in nature.
It has a pH ranging from 7.35 to 7.45. Any major deviation from this value can lead to a host of imbalances in the body which manifest themselves in the form of different illnesses and ailments. Did you know that if the pH of your blood falls to 6.9 you could slip into a coma or even die?
The alkalinity or acidity of our blood depends to a large extent on the foods that we eat. Unfortunately, most of the popular junk foods are acidic foods. Over a period of time, the consumption of foods that are acidic in nature, adversely affects the health. It is necessary to obtain a balance between amount of acidic and alkaline foods that a person eats.
List of Foods
As long as you are consuming a healthy, nutritious diet, you can be assured that your body’s pH levels are within limits. However, this can be a problem for people who are not used to eating healthy and are used to ingesting large quantities of food with a predominantly acid content. Such individuals need to clearly identify the foods that are acidic in nature and restrict their consumption. Here is a list of foods that are acidic in nature followed by a list of foods that are alkaline in nature. Practically it is not possible, nor healthy, to consume just alkaline foods. However, if you do suffer from high levels of acid in your blood, you should make an effort to ensure that most of your food choices come from the list of alkaline foods.
Acidic Foods to Avoid
- Meat. All forms of animal protein are acidic in nature. Most American diets involve large helpings of meat, and this is one of the reasons for the burgeoning obesity and ill health. Try to gradually cut down on your consumption of meat. To make up for the protein deficit, you should look to vegetable sources of protein that are alkaline in nature.
- Dairy Products. Dairy products such as butter, processed cheese, and ice cream are also acidic in nature. To get your daily intake of calcium, it is a good idea to opt for a chilled glass of skim milk instead.
- Vegetables. Vegetables such as legumes and beans are also acidic in nature. Lentils, corns, winter squash and olives also increase the acidity of the blood.
- Grains. Many of the whole grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and oatmeal are also acidic in nature. However, the nutritional benefits of consuming whole grains far outweigh the effect that they have on blood acidity
- Fruit. Most berries, plums, prunes, and currants are also acidic in nature and should be avoided if your body’s acid levels are high.
- Beverages. Beverages such as beer, coffee, and sodas are also acidic in nature.
- Alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol and tobacco are not only bad for you, but they also increase the acidity levels of the body and should be avoided.
- Miscellaneous. Some other acidic foods to avoid include sugar, mustard, vinegar, sunflower oil, olive oil, sesame oil, canola oil, and peanut butter.
- Protein Sources. As all animal sources of protein are acidic in nature, it is important to seek vegetarian protein sources that are alkaline in nature. Some of the best vegetarian sources of alkaline protein include tofu, whey protein, millets, almonds, and chestnuts.
- Vegetables. Other vegetables that are alkaline in nature include alfalfa, beet, broccoli, carrots, cabbages, celery, cauliflower, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, peas, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, peppers, pumpkins, spinach, tomatoes, and wheat grass.
- Fruits. Most fruit are alkaline in nature, except for the fruits mentioned in the list above. Do note that even citrus fruits have an alkaline effect on the body.
- Miscellaneous. Other alkaline food sources include stevia (a sugar substitute), fresh juices, water, spices, herbs, and ginger.
Effects on Health
Subsisting on a diet consisting almost entirely of acidic foods can have detrimental effects on health. One of the first signs of such an imbalance is acidity and acid reflux. High levels of acid in the bloodstream also adversely affect the health of the bones. This becomes especially serious for women during pregnancy and can lead to lifelong osteoporosis. Another serious side effect of high acidity is that cancerous cells thrive in an acidic environment. Thus, consuming foods that are acidic can compromise your immune system and increase your susceptibility to cancer.