In nutritional research, a line of thought divides foods into three groups: weak acid, alkalinizing and acidifying. The categories refer to how the food affects your body, not to whether it has a low, high or neutral pH. As the authors of “The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health” say, acidic foods as well as some alkaline ones can cause your body to produce acid that leads to inflammation after you eat them.
Naturopathic doctor Jessica K. Black says that inflammation is a healthy immunological response to trauma and helps your body to heal. Long-term inflammation, however, is a sign that something is keeping your condition from getting better or is continuously hurting you. Proponents of an anti-inflammation diet believe that certain foods can cause a chronic state of inflammation.
Simply stated, acidifying foods produce acids during metabolism. They include sources of carbohydrates, proteins and fat. Meat, dairy and legumes, for example, contain proteins, which lead to the formation of amino acids. Other acidifying foods include those made of whole and refined grains, nuts, seeds, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, sweets and white sugar. Coffee, cocoa, tea and wine also raise acidity in your body.
One of the proponents of the anti-inflammation diet is Larry Trivieri, Jr., co-author of “Alkaline-Acid Food Guide.” He is among those who believe that the overconsumption of acid-forming foods causes your kidneys, lungs and skin to remove calcium, potassium and magnesium from your bones and tissues to bring your body’s pH back into balance. Your muscles are also tapped into for alkalinizing amino acids. The nutrient shuffling leads to health problems that include joint inflammation, osteoporosis and kidney stones. Christopher Vasey, a naturopathic doctor, further explains that too much acid inflames your organs. He suggests that skin irritations and urinary tract infections are just two results of such inflammations.
The anti-inflammation diet does not call for you to eliminate sources of protein, carbohydrates and fats. As Vasey explains in his book, “An adequate intake of proteins is a prerequisite for alkaline minerals to establish themselves properly in the tissues.” Likewise, your body also needs fats and carbohydrates to thrive. Vasey recommends you eat a menu containing 60 to 80 percent alkalinizing foods to restore and maintain your body’s pH balance. Christopher P. Cannon, a medical doctor who co-wrote “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Anti-inflammation Diet” with author Elizabeth Vierck, offers additional guidelines: Eat nuts and legumes one to three times daily; get two servings of animal protein daily; and limit dairy products to two low-fat daily servings. In addition, eat a source of omega-3 fatty acids every day. The options include flaxseeds, soy, walnuts, and fatty fish such as salmon and sardines. The book also advises you to drink little alcohol and to take a daily multivitamin.
It is clear that the anti-inflammation diet includes wholesome foods that are generally recommended for good health. The eating plan also steers you away from poor nutrition sources. Nevertheless, report any symptoms to your doctor if you feel unwell. Depending on your diagnosis, simply changing your diet may not be sufficient to restore your vigor.