In science terms, pH is characterized by the base or acid level of a particular solution. To maintain proper health, it is beneficial to maintain a healthy pH or alkaline balance. A balanced pH is important because it sustains healthy cellular activities, which helps promote overall body functions and defends your body against disease, infections and other ailments. When your body becomes acidic or out of balance, alkaline foods help your body achieve the pH balance necessary for good health. Alkaline food sources contain natural sodium amounts, a buffer against acidity. The natural sodium contained in whole foods and vegetables are the perfect choice for balancing your pH, reports the "The Optimum Nutrition Bible" by Patrick Holford.
Whole Grains and Legumes
Soy products and sources from soy such as nuts, flour, soy lecithin, miso, cheese, tempeh, milk, milk powder, granulated soy and tofu are alkalizing foods that help to balance your pH, notes Dr. Elizabeth Lipski in her book "Digestive Wellness." Lima and navy beans are also alkalizing legumes, which you can use to make side dishes such as vegetable broth soups or casseroles. Wild rice, quinoa, wheat bran and lentils are key ingredients in hearty dishes. Examples of whole grains include barley, rye, spelt and whole-wheat bread, cereal or rice. You can also use alkalizing flours, including millet and amaranth, to create baked dishes.
Vegetables are ideal pH-balancing sources because they contain less acidic content and bountiful amounts of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Vegetables that help to balance your pH include Swiss chard, endive, alfalfa grass, mustard greens, kale, dandelion, okra, cabbage and other leafy greens. You can also include parsley, radishes, garlic, celery, tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers and other lettuce varieties to make a powerful pH-balancing salad. Alkaline vegetables that can complement several meals include eggplant, string beans, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, squash, potatoes and zucchini.
Seeds and Nuts
Nuts, such as Brazil nuts and almonds, offer alkaline properties, as well. From the seed category, fennel, cumin, caraway, flax, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds also help to alkalize your body. High-alkaline foods, such as those frequently found in vegetarian diets, work to balance your pH and have an overall positive effect on your health, according to the American Dietetic Association.
Oils and Vinegar
Using alkalizing oils and vinegar on steamed vegetables and in salad dressings is a healthy way to balance your pH, reports Patrick Holford in "The Optimum Nutrition Bible." Alkaline oils such as virgin first cold-press olive, borage, flaxseed, avocado, hempseed, organic apple cider vinegar, coconut and evening primose oils are helpful for balancing your pH.
- American Dietetic Association Eat Right.org: Vegetarian Diets
- Yoga Journal: Spice Makes Nice
- The Optimum Nutrition Bible; Patrick Holford
- Digestive Wellness; Elizabeth Lipski, Ph.D., CCN