Like many things in life, a good balance often works best!

To function at our peak, most cells in our body should be slightly alkaline.

There are some exceptions to the rule – for example,  the stomach (our first line of digestive defence) needs to be very acidic to kill off harmful bacteria and toxins, as well as breaking down food initially.

The pH values of our cells can tell us if they are acidic or alkaline.

pH values range from 1 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkaline) with a pH of 7 being neutral.

pHscale

What Effect Does An Overly Acidic Diet Have?
One of the main dangers is calcium can be taken from the bones to try and balance off excess acid.

Another major concern is the possibility of an increased stress on the kidneys, lungs and skin to eliminate excess acids. Any increased stress on these organs is likely to have a detrimental effect on overall health.

Additionally, a diet heavy on acidic foods (often lacking useful vitamins and minerals) is likely to decrease your daily energy levels, increase stress and the risk of illness and disease.

Which Foods Are Acid or Alkaline?
The typical western diet features foods that are mostly acid forming.

Most of us need to look at eating more alkaline forming foods in order to get the balance right. It’s important to note that acidic foods are not always acid forming when digested and vice-versa.

The graphic below shows that fruit and vegetables are the core of alkaline forming foods.

acidic-alkaline-ph-chart

How To Achieve The Right Balance

My advice would be to look at including items from the alkaline side of the graphic above into the majority of your meals and snacks.

I think it’s important to note the graphic works well as a quick reference only. I would also advise the following:

  • Include 2-3 portions of oily fish a week (or flax seed) for their Omega-3 content
  • Spices and herbs are alkalising and provide other health benefits
  • Juicing and smoothies (vegetables mixed with fruit) are a quick and easy way to help balance your pH
  • Drink 1.5 to 2 litres of hydrating fluids daily (water, fruit/herbal teas, redbush, coconut water, etc)
  • Fruit juice, when diluted in water, is more alkalising and hydrating
  • If struggling to eat fruit & veg, alkalising greens supplements are very helpful

Ideally, a meal or snack would be made up of 50% alkaline forming foods. Any changes you make should be done gradually over a period of weeks in order to reduce stress on the body in the changeover period.