Your body maintains a pH balance that allows your enzymes -- the proteins that carry out chemical reactions needed for cell function -- to work properly. While your body has safeguards to keep your pH within a tight range, your diet may slightly affect your pH levels. If you're thinking about an alkaline diet, which claims to raise your pH, you can still enjoy several healthy drinks, in addition to water.
Buttermilk and Dairy Alternatives
While most dairy is off limits on an alkaline diet, you can still enjoy buttermilk, which is slightly alkaline forming. Some alternatives to dairy milk, like soy and almond milks, are also alkaline forming. These drinks offer other health benefits, too. Buttermilk is high in calcium -- a cup has 28 percent of the calcium and 21 percent of the vitamin D you need each day. Fortified soy and almond milks are also high in calcium -- they offer 30 and 45 percent of the daily value per cup, respectively, plus beneficial vitamin B-12.
Herbal and Green Teas
Herbal and green teas fit into an alkaline diet as mildly alkaline foods. They're also calorie-free options -- as long as you don't add dairy or sugar -- which makes them ideal if you're trying to lose weight. Green tea comes packed with catechins, natural substances in plants that might help with weight loss. Herbal teas also offer benefits, depending on the type of tea. Peppermint tea, for example, might ease indigestion in some people.
Unsweetened Vegetable Juices
Vegetables are a staple in an alkaline diet, and you can also drink fresh, unsweetened vegetable juices to up your veggie intake. Leafy greens like cabbage, barley grass, cilantro and kale are especially alkalizing, along with cucumbers, ginger, cayenne pepper, beets and tomatoes. Experiment with different blends of veggies to get a juice that suits your palate. Try beets and tomatoes juiced with ginger and cayenne for a sweet and spicy blend, or celery, cucumber and cilantro for a refreshing, herbal one. Add more flavor with a squeeze of alkalizing fruit juices, like lemon and lime.
Beverages to Avoid
Avoid sweetened beverages on the alkaline diet. Artificial sweeteners and sugar are all acid-forming foods, and sweetened fruit juices and sodas are also acid forming. You'll need to limit alcohol, too. Beer and liquor are highly acid forming, while wine is moderately acidic. Coffee and black tea count as acid forming as well.
Keep in mind that the alkaline diet allows you to eat acid-forming foods for up to 30 percent of your diet, so you can still enjoy your favorite acid-forming drinks in moderation. Just don't make them staples of your diet.