In nutrition, acidic or acid-forming foods are those that have an acidic effect on the body. But it's not necessarily obvious which foods are acidic and which are alkaline. Lemons, for instance, are acidic, but once metabolized they have an alkalizing effect. It's fine to have some acid-promoting foods in your diet, but too much can lead to inflammation, which contributes to a variety of diseases from cancer to heart disease. Increasing your intake of alkaline-promoting foods can help counteract those negative effects and promote better health.
Fruits and Vegetables Fight Inflammation
Fruits and vegetables are the most alkaline-promoting foods you can eat, and they should form the basis of your anti-inflammatory diet. A review published in December 2008 in "International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research" states that the intake of fruit and vegetables is inversely associated with inflammation, mainly due to the phytonutrients these plant foods contain. In addition, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is also inversely associated with BMI, meaning people who eat more of these foods tend to have less fat mass. Obesity catalyzes inflammation, according to a February 2006 article in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."
Fruits and Vegetables to Focus On
Although nearly all fruits and vegetables are alkalizing, some are more alkaline-promoting than others. Raisins, bananas, apricots and cherries top the list of alkalizing fruits, while spinach, celery, carrots and potatoes take the top four spots for vegetables. Beans, peas and lentils are the only acid-forming foods in this category. Be sure to include all kinds and colors of fruits and vegetables in your diet to get the full spectrum of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients they offer.
Other Alkaline Foods
Whey protein, yogurt and tofu are alkalizing foods, as are most nuts and seeds, including almonds, chestnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and squash seeds. Vinegar, herbs and slices are alkalizing, as are herbal teas. Other alkalizing beverages include fresh fruit and vegetable juices, mineral water and kombucha.
A Healthy Balance
Meat, seafood, dairy, eggs, beans and legumes and most grains are acid-forming foods, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't eat them. All of those foods are healthy in moderation and offer essential nutrients to your diet. The key is finding the right balance. Two-thirds of your diet should be alkalizing foods, while the other third can be acid-forming foods. Registered dietitian Ashley Koff suggests a simple way of organizing your meals -- eat two servings of alkalizing foods for every one serving of acid-forming foods. An example would be having an egg, which is acid-forming, scrambled with spinach -- alkalizing -- served with half a grapefruit -- also alkalizing -- for breakfast.
- International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research: Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Plant-Based Foods and of Their Constituents
- Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Diets High in Meat Consumption Associated with Obesity
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Obesity and the Role of Adipose Tissue in Inflammation and Metabolism
- The Dr. Oz Show: 25 Alkaline-Promoting Foods
- The Wolfe Clinic: Acid Alkaline Food Chart and Diet
- The Dr. Oz Show: Alkaline Food Plan