During the digestive process, our stomach secretes gastric acids that help to break down the meal. The stomach has a pH balance of 2.0 to 3.5, which is strongly acidic but essential for the digestive process.
However, often, due to unhealthful diets and dietary habits, the body’s acidic level goes for a toss , contributing to acidity, acid reflux and other gastric disorders.
The pH scale varies from 0 (pure acid) to 14 (most alkaline), with 7 being neutral. The human body works optimally at a pH of about 7.4, which is neutral on the alkaline side.
Acidic pH: How it can lead to disease Many patients with signs of heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer and diabetes have a body pH that is chronically acidic. As the body attempts to neutralise the pH to keep it close to 7.4, the body can take the requisite minerals to assist in this neutralisation process. For example potassium and magnesium reserves be depleted from the body , which leads to high blood pressure.
Foods: acidic & alkaline Processed foods, coffee, sugars, dairy, and alcohol tends to be highly acidic. Fruits & veggies are alkaline in nature.
Many foods that you would think might be acidic, such as lemons and limes, are actually alkaline after they have been metabolised. It is also important to take into account the foods are acidic or alkaline after they have been metabolised, as that is what matters to the body.
Here are some foods which at base are acidic or alkaline:
Acidic (High): Lemon juice, Energy drink, Sodas
Acidic (Medium) : Coffee, Milk, Alcohol, Pastas, Breads
Acidic (Low): Fish, Eggs, Oats
Alkaline (High): Carrots, Cucumber, Spinach, Broccoli
Alkaline (Medium): Sweet potatoes, Lettuce, celery
Alkaline ( Low): Tomatoes, Apples, Strawberries
It’s crucial to note that it’s all a delicate balancing act. If you seek a low-acid diet for your wellbeing and consume only alkaline food, your body will potentially become too alkaline which can lead to variety of other problems
The right approach would be to balance out the diet between acidic and alkaline food, but have more alkaline (anti-inflammatory) foods than acidic foods.
Ryan Fernando is an Award-winning celebrity Sports Nutritionist with 2GUINNESS world record and 2 Olympic medals under his belt. His client list include Olympic wrestler Sushil Kumar, cricketer Shikhar Dhawan & bollywood superstars Aamir Khan & Abhishek Bachchan. He is Chief Nutritionist at QUA Nutrition Signature Clinics.