The idea behind the Acid Alkaline Diet has been around since the 1930s. Whether the food you eat makes a significant difference in your body's overall acidity level is a subject of controversy, although foods do have either an acid-forming or alkaline-forming effect. Some recent research, however, shows potential benefits for this diet. An article published in the "Journal of Environmental and Public Health" in 2012 notes that this type of diet may help improve cardiovascular health, chemotherapy results and memory, and a study published in June 2013 in "Osteoporosis International" found that an alkaline diet may help women maintain more muscle mass. That said, healthy dietary changes rather than changes in the body's pH levels may be responsible for these benefits.
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Limit or avoid processed and red meats, such as beef or pork, which are acid-forming. Eggs, poultry and seafood can be acid-forming as well. Dairy products, especially hard cheeses, are sometimes also included on the list of foods to avoid in some versions of the Alkaline Diet, such as "The Alkaline Cure" by Dr. Stephan Domenig. Choose soy products, tofu, almonds and beans or lentils instead.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables don't usually make your body more acidic. Even citrus fruits have an alkalizing effect on your body once they've been metabolized. Because of this, fruits and vegetables play a major role in the Acid Alkaline Diet. The exceptions are dried and sweetened versions of these foods, which may be acid-forming. The typical high fruit and vegetable content of this diet may be at least partially responsible for the potential reduction in disease risk when following it.
Grains and Cereals
Bread, pasta and other highly processed and refined grains can increase the acidity of your body. When you do eat grains and cereals, choosing whole or sprouted grains can help you limit increases in acids and maintain optimal pH levels. Domenig recommends gluten-free grains, such as quinoa, rye, amaranth and buckwheat.
Avoid alcohol, sugary snacks and fried foods because these can make your body more acidic. Foods high in chlorine, sulfur and phosphorus are more likely to be acid-forming, while foods high in calcium, potassium and magnesium are more likely to be alkaline. In general, aim to eat fewer processed foods and more plant-based fresh foods to keep your pH at optimal levels.
- Daily Mail: How Too Much Cheese and Meat Can Make Your Body Dangerously Acidic
- U.S. News & World Report: Acid Alkaline Diet
- Journal of Environmental and Public Health: The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health?
- Encyclopedia.com: Acid Foods
- Osteoporosis International: A Higher Alkaline Dietary Load Is Associated With Greater Indexes of Skeletal Muscle Mass in Women
- American Journal of Public Health: The Question of Acid and Alkali Forming Foods
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: The Alkaline Cure