Proponents of the Acid Alkaline Diet recommend eating at least 80 percent alkaline foods, such as sweet potatoes, and no more than 20 percent acid-forming foods to help your body maintain a healthy pH level. The idea is that eating too many acid-forming foods makes your blood more acidic and causes health problems. Your body is very good at regulating its pH, however, so all that really increases is the pH of your urine. Because it's made up of mainly nutritious foods, the Acid Alkaline Diet may still have some health benefits.
Acid Vs. Alkaline Foods
Acid-forming foods include fried foods, fatty foods, processed and red meats, dairy products, wheat and yeast breads and many condiments and sauces. Fish, poultry, eggs and most cereals are also acid-forming foods, as are sugary foods, coffee, chocolate, tea, alcohol and colas. Alkaline foods include most fruits and vegetables, nuts, lentils, tofu and tempeh. Coconut water, brown rice milk, almond milk, buckwheat, oats, millet, brown rice and quinoa are also alkaline-forming foods.
A review article published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health in 2012 noted that alkaline diets may help improve bone health, cognition and memory and lower your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes. These benefits are at least partly due to the increased fruit and vegetable consumption recommended on the alkaline diet.
Sweet Potatoes -- Alkaline or Acidic?
Bake your sweet potato or boil it, and it's allowed on the alkaline diet. If you turn it into sweet potato fries, that's a different story. You'll also need to avoid sweetened or glazed canned sweet potatoes, or count them as part of your 20 percent acid-forming foods for the day.
Other Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a nutritious food, with each cup of baked sweet potato providing 26 percent of the daily value for fiber, 769 percent of the DV for vitamin A, 65 percent of the DV for vitamin C and 50 percent of DV for manganese as well as significant amounts of copper, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and many of the B vitamins.
Simply baking or microwaving a sweet potato is an easy way to prepare one of these vegetables. You can also use sweet potato, apple, carrot and lentils to make a nutritious soup; roast a mix of sweet potatoes and beets with a touch of garlic powder for a side dish; or mix sweet potatoes with black beans, egg, oats and spices to make veggie burgers for your main dish.
- U.S. News & World Report: Acid Alkaline Diet
- American Journal of Public Health: The Question of Acid and Alkali Forming Foods
- Journal of Environmental and Public Health: The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health?
- The Telegraph: Eat the Alkaline Way - Recipes for a Healthier You
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool