Nuts listed as alkaline nuts are chestnuts and almonds, while acid nuts are peanuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans and Brazil nuts. Regardless of where they fit on the alkalinity/acidity scale, nuts are a good source of protein, fiber, healthy fats and other nutrients.
Almonds and chestnuts are alkaline forming.
Nutrients in Nuts
Nuts are rich in protein, which makes them a good substitute for meat. The Mayo Clinic reports that the food is plentiful in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are thought to lower bad cholesterol, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, which can help prevent disorders in heart rhythms.
Fiber is another food constituent in nuts. It satisfies the appetite, lowers cholesterol and plays a role in protection against Type 2 diabetes.
The nutrient profile of nuts includes vitamin E, which helps stop the development of artery-clogging plaque that can lead to a heart attack and stroke. Some nut varieties contain plant sterols, substances that lower cholesterol. In addition, nuts have L-arginine, which increases the flexibility of arteries and reduces the risk of an occlusion, says the Mayo Clinic.
Chestnuts and almonds are alkaline, but peanuts and walnuts are acid, says the American Nutrition Association. Cashews, pecans and Brazil nuts are also acid.
According to the Mayo Clinic, all tree nut varieties are healthy and even peanuts are relatively healthy. Choose nuts that are free of salt and sugar.
Get four servings of nuts per week, recommends the American Heart Association. One serving is 2 tablespoons of nut butter or a small handful of nuts.
Health Benefits of Nuts
A review published in Nutrients in December 2017 looked at studies pertaining to nuts and health. It found tree nuts and peanuts have multiple wellness benefits, including reducing the risk of chronic disease, decreasing inflammation, improving lipid metabolism and enhancing blood sugar control.
Because nuts are high in fat, some people may be concerned that eating them will lead to weight gain. The review in Nutrients discovered that nuts help control appetite and assist the body in burning more calories. Consequently, they didn't find that nuts increase the risk of obesity.
A study published in the_ New England Journal of Medicine_ in November 2013 found that nuts may help promote longevity. The authors reviewed data on more than 118,000 people to determine if an association exists between nut consumption and lower death risk. They noted that eating nuts was inversely related to cause-specific death risk and all-cause death risk.
Nut Safety Issues
One downside associated with nut consumption is allergies. The Linus Pauling Institute states that they're the foods that most commonly trigger allergic reactions, and some effects, like anaphylaxis, can be fatal.
Allergy to peanuts affects between 2 and 5 percent of U.S. children, and the incidence is increasing. Less than 1 percent of adults and less than 2 percent of children have a tree nut allergy. Since reactions to the foods can be serious, people with the allergies should take special precautions to avoid unknowingly ingesting them. This involves meticulously checking food product labels and avoiding unlabeled food.
The only other precaution relating to nuts involves Brazil nuts. Nuts grown in selenium-rich soil in Brazil may have more than 100 micrograms per nut. Selenium toxicity can occur in levels above 400 micrograms per day in adults, says the Linus Pauling Institute. This means that as few as four nuts per day could give an adult a toxic dose. The toxicity limit is much less in children.
What Is the Alkaline Diet?
The pH scale, which ranges from 0 to 14, denotes acidity and alkalinity. A pH of 7.0 is neutral, a pH below 7.0 indicates acidity and a pH above 7.0 indicates alkalinity. The body's normal pH ranges from 7.2 to 7.4. This range is vital for health, so a pH above it is called alkalosis, and a pH below it is called acidosis, notes the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii.
Proponents of the alkaline diet say it enhances health and helps prevent disease by increasing body pH, explains the International Food Information Council Foundation. It includes centering the diet on alkaline foods, including beans, fruits, vegetables and some nuts. Another component of the eating plan is alkaline seeds, which are sunflower and pumpkin seeds and flaxseed.
The alkaline diet also involves limiting the intake of meat, eggs, cheese and other dairy foods, all of which produce acidic compounds.
Benefits of an Alkaline Diet
Alkaline foods don't alter body pH, but they do make the urine slightly more alkaline. The International Food Information Council Foundation says the only people who could benefit from this effect are people with chronic kidney disease.
Because the foods make the urine less acidic, it results in less formation of uric acid crystals in the urine, states Baylor College of Medicine. The diet can slow the progression of kidney disease, particularly if patients start on it before their illness is advanced.
While alkaline foods don't make the body more alkaline, they are loaded with healthy nutrients. For this reason, they should feature prominently in the diet.
The American Council on Exercise says the alkaline diet offers valuable health benefits. Because it focuses on plant-based foods, promotes drinking plenty of water and excludes poor-quality dietary elements, such as sugar, alcohol and processed foods, it's an excellent way of eating. A high-acid diet is linked to a lack of energy, headaches, irritability, allergy issues and increased colds and flu.
A study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health in 2012 reviewed the body of scientific literature to assess the role of the alkaline diet in health. The authors concluded that the diet may reduce the risk of chronic diseases. They found it was associated with the following advantages:
- Improved potassium-to-sodium ratio, reduced muscle wasting, strengthened bones and lowered risk of high blood pressure and strokes.
- Raised levels of growth hormone, which may enhance memory, cognition and cardiovascular health.
- Higher levels of magnesium, a mineral with a broad scope of functions.
- Mayo Clinic: "Nuts and Your Heart: Eating Nuts for Heart Health"
- American Heart Association: "What's so Super About Superfoods?"
- American Nutrition Association: "Importance of Alkaline Diet - Jaffe and Donovan, Alkaline and Acid Food Chart"
- California Courts: "A List of Acid/Alkaline Forming Foods"
- Nutrients: "Nuts and Human Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review"
- New England Journal of Medicine: "Association of Nut Consumption With Total and Cause-Specific Mortality"
- Linus Pauling Institute: "Nuts"
- Linus Pauling Institute: "Selenium"
- National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii: "The Buzz on Alkaline Water"
- International Food Information Council Foundation: "A 'Basic' Examination of the Alkaline Diet"
- American Council on Exercise: "What You Need to Know About the Alkaline Diet"
- Baylor College of Medicine: "Not Just Another Celebrity Diet: Benefits of an Alkaline Diet"
- Journal of Environmental and Public Health: "The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health?"