The concept of alkalinity is becoming more well-known today than ever before. As many people suffer inflammation that leads to disease, pain and a host of other health issues, we’re starting to realize it’s time we turn to our diets for an answer. The human body’s pH level plays an important role in overall function and health. Your kidneys and lungs attempts to maintain a slightly alkaline pH of 7.4 when the body receives what it needs, with 1 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. Diet has a large role in its ability to maintain that beautiful balance of 7.4, and while the body can actually be too alkaline, it’s more common for people to be overly acidic. An overly acidic body is known as acidosis, at which point the body can not function properly as it should. This can lead to heart disease, general joint pain, diabetes, cancer, and even just depression.
Animal-based foods are the most inflammatory foods that exist, along with sugar, alcohol, refined grains, highly processed foods, junk foods, fast food, caffeine, sodas, and yes, sadly, even chocolate’s naturally acidic. The key is to reduce as many acidic foods in your diet as possible, emphasizing naturally more alkaline foods like greens, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, raw nuts and seeds (versus roasted), beans, legumes, and most common superfoods out there. Herbs and spices are also more alkaline than acidic foods listed above, and many are actually anti-inflammatory and boost immune function just like whole foods do.
But even some healthy, whole foods are naturally acidic by nature. Does this make them bad for us? No, and here’s why: Plant-based foods are naturally more alkaline than animal-based sources, specifically when they come from whole foods versus processed foods. They contribute to an over alkaline body when a balanced, healthy diet of a variety of plant-based foods are eaten, therefore the small details of if a certain bean is slightly more alkaline than another really won’t effect your health as much as the acidic foods above will. Many of these naturally acidic plant-based foods actually alkalize the body once they enter the bloodstream. This happens because the minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc.) in these foods mix with our blood and create an alkalizing effect. Pretty incredible, right?
Here are some of the best examples:
Lemons are known as one of the most alkalizing foods out there, even though they’re acidic by nature. They’re a high source of vitamin C, almost completely void of natural sugars, full of enzymes, and come with many benefits such as boosting digestion, taking care of the liver, cleansing, and improving immune function. They’re also pretty tasty! You can drink the classic glass of water with lemon, or add lemon to herbal tea, use it in salad dressing recipes, or can just use it to boost the flavor anywhere it’s added to. It’s also great in green juice and even makes a nice addition to a green smoothie!
Tomatoes are also very acidic on the outside of the body, which is one reason they can cause irritation to the mouth for many people if they’re eaten in excess. But once consumed, raw tomatoes also promote alkalinity in the blood. And while cooked tomatoes do improve the lycopene uptake in the body, (the antioxidant they’re so well-known for), other nutrients in tomatoes are actually higher when eaten in raw form. They’re also more acidic when cooked. The bottom line? Eat a mix of raw and cooked tomatoes. Grape tomatoes make the perfect snack anytime, and slices of fresh Roma tomatoes make incredible salad toppers. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, enzymes, a good source of Vitamin B6, and a wonderful food to satisfy the body’s unami taste bud needs. See more ways to use them here!
Oranges are such incredible foods! They’re packed with calcium, actually contain 4 percent protein, are a good source of vitamin B6, and a great hydrating fruit. They’re also very easy to digest and a good source of soluble fiber. Most all citrus, oranges included, are naturally acidic on their exterior, but all fruits and vegetables promote an alkaline body once eaten. Oranges are a star here due to their high enzyme content, cleansing properties and immune-boosting properties. Eat them in slices for a snack, add some chunks to oatmeal or quinoa porridge, add them to smoothies, or use them however else you want.
Pineapple is possibly one of the best fruits you could eat. Ignore those telling you it’s too high in sugar- this fruit is so good for you, it shouldn’t be overlooked. Though acidic by nature, it also helps the body achieve a more alkaline state. Pineapple heals the gut lining, tames indigestion and bloating, helps with constipation, and it alkalizes the entire body. It’s one of the best foods recommended for joint pain and arthritis, it improves immunity and one cup contains over your whole day’s worth of vitamin C content. Vitamin C helps boost immune function, reduces stress, improves digestion and can help you recover more quickly after workouts. Pineapple is also high in water and one of the least sprayed crops when it comes to pesticides, though you should choose non-GMO when possible since it’s now being genetically modified by major brands. Snack on it, use it in smoothies, on salads, add it to breakfast, just be sure you eat it!
5. Cayenne Pepper
Most spices like black pepper, nutmeg and a few others are naturally acidic as well. Cayenneis another, though once eaten, it becomes extremely alkalizing to the body. It also aids in cleansing and digestion, contains mood-boosting nutrients, and has even been shown to boost metabolic function. No need to go dousing it on everything, just add a bit of this spice on a salad, baked sweet potato, or in any entree of choice. Or, if you’re brave, add a dash to your green juice or green smoothie!
Other good examples of naturally acidic foods that promote alkalinity are: grapefruits, limes, brown rice, berries, apples, pears, legumes, and peppers just to name a handful. A whole foods, plant-based diet high in as many raw foods as possible will help the body achieve alkalinity much more easily. This makes eating cooked foods and even that occasional square of vegan dark chocolate much less harmless in the grand scheme of things!
See some other lesser known alkaline foods here to add in your diet and you’ll be well on your way to a healthy body to help you feel your best in no time!