Should I adopt a more alkaline diet or acidic diet? What even are alkaline and acidic foods? What’s the effect on our body? These questions are valid and important, but sadly the answers are a little complicated. So give us five minutes of your time to explain to you as best and simple as we can!
Essentially, our body is made to naturally maintain a delicate pH balance. The pH scale is between 0 to 14, and anything greater than 7 is considered alkaline and anything lower than 7 is considered acidic. With that said, our body works best when pH level is around 7 to 7.4. Even a small change in pH can have big effects on our body function. When the body becomes too acidic (pH level lower than 7), metabolic acidosis can occur, which can produce symptoms such as inflammation, nausea, fatigue, headache, and jaundice. Whereas when the body becomes too alkaline (pH level higher than 7), metabolic alkalosis can occur, which can produce symptoms such as tremors, twitching, tingling, and vomiting.
Our body actually does a pretty good job maintaining our pH level where it needs to be. However, as we all already know, diet is one of the biggest determinants of health. What we eat can affect pretty much every aspect of the body, including our pH levels. So in order to ensure our body functions properly the way it’s intended to, we need to maintain what is called an ‘acid-alkaline balance’.
Acidic vs Alkaline Diet
Before we start going into the difference, importance, and effect of alkali and acidic diets, we suggest you pull out your Food Diary! When it comes to diet, it’s very easy to go on autopilot, eating whatever’s in front of us without thinking about its effects on our body or forgetting what we’ve eaten throughout the day. Food diaries help us keep track of our consumption in order to maintain our health or even track what’s causing certain health issues.
Got your food diary? Excellent! Let’s begin. Acidic foods and drinks such as sugar, alcohol, meats, dairy and eggs, as well as drinks like coffee, soda, and carbonated water should be avoided and kept at a maximum 20% of your diet. Whereas alkaline foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, as well as grains and beans should be incorporated as many as you can into your daily diet. Some foods like lemon and lime have an acidic pH, but can have an alkalizing effect on the body. To help our body’s pH level become balanced, 70-80% of our diet should be alkaline foods. Also don’t forget to drink minimum 3 litres of water to help the kidneys filter waste and restore pH levels.
A diet that is too acidic can lead to health issues such as inflammation, heart disease, autoimmune disease, and obesity. A good way to know if your diet is too acidic is from the bowel movements. A diet too acidic can cause stomach problems like constipation, so make sure you incorporate tons of alkaline food into your daily diet. An easy way to do this is to make green juice made of alkaline fruits and vegetables. You can also make fresh lemon water by squeezing the fruit and using the peel to infuse. Don’t forget to consume vitamin B12 to ensure your body maintains the perfect pH balance for health and longevity! Good luck!