Difference Between Acidic And Alkaline Foods – Why It Matters
The difference between acidic and alkaline foods is all about the importance of pH value in our body.
pH stands for “potential Hydrogen.” It is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline something is. The scale goes from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Anything lower than 7 is acid-forming, and anything higher than 7 is alkaline-forming.
Our blood has to be slightly alkaline at a pH level of 7.4 – which means it has a negative logarithm of 10 (-0.4). If it drops below that, we die! If human beings have a pH around 6.8 when they die, then doctors will state the cause of death as due to ‘acidity.’
The higher we get above 7.4, the more alkalizing food or substances we need.
Difference Between Acidic and Alkaline Food
The difference between acidic and alkaline foods is that the first can have low pH levels, while the latter have higher pH levels. The way your body functions daily will always depend on how it balances this acidity-alkalinity mix inside.
The first thing you need to know about these processes, though, would be why this balance does matter so much in the first place. It doesn’t take too much common sense to understand that some effects come from the substance when something has an acidic base.
These ranges of acidity or alkalinity are measured using a pH scale, which technically measures the concentration of hydrogen ions in any solution – more about that in a bit.
Importance of Acid-Base Balance
So, why does the acid-base balance in your body matter? Well, our blood has a pH value of 7.35 – 7.45 when it is still inside us. That may not mean much to you, but that’s pretty close to being just alkaline enough to assure that our bodies can live and work properly!
In other words, if this number drops even just by 0.1 or so, then there will be some health problems popping up already!
Role of Hydrogen Ions
Now, let’s go back to hydrogen ions. This might sound a little complicated at first, but all you need to know for now would be that these hydrogen ions are always present in any solution – including the one found in your body.
Now, if the solution is acidic, then it means that there are more of these hydrogen ions available in it than usual – be it something you drink or just the plain water you’ve got in your own home.
And because more of these hydrogen ions means an acidic pH base (low), this would cause pretty harmful effects on all parts of your body. Just imagine what happens to the food we eat when they get more of this acidity!
Adverse Effects of Acidic Base and What You Can Do
So, did you know that diseases like osteoporosis or cancer can start developing due to an acidic base?
It is the same with heartburn and acid reflux.
These may not always result in health problems, but having too much of anything is never good for anyone!
What can you do then? There are some natural ways that you could try out to fight off the effects of these acidic substances! One way would be to eat alkaline foods with a higher pH level instead.
Sure, it’s not possible for us to “remove” too much acidity from our diet at this point, but consistently eating more alkalizing foods will help replenish the number of good base minerals found inside your body. And among them is calcium, which becomes less effective when consumed in an acidic environment!
Does it mean that by eating more of these alkalizing nutrients, then they’ll be immediately thrown into our bloodstreams anyway? That might sound logical enough if we talked about food supplements or something, but it’s not the same as regular food.
You see, alkalizing nutrients are much slower in breaking down once they are inside our bodies. So even if you’ve eaten enough acidic foods for one day, that doesn’t mean that whatever alkaline nutrients you eat will just run into your body right away!
There is still a probability that they’ll become absorbed if their pH levels are above 7.2. This means that by choosing the right kinds of food for yourself, you can balance out the pH level of your blood without having to take too many risks!
What Foods Become Acidic After They Are Eaten?
When you eat and digest proteins, they break down into amino acids. When your digestive system cannot metabolize all of them (because of a lack of enzymes), these build up in your tissues and blood and become acidic irritants.
Carbohydrates, when eaten, are broken down into glucose which enters the cell to produce energy. But, when carbohydrates are broken down too much, simple sugars such as glucose and fructose enter the bloodstream, which causes what we know as ‘acidosis.’ Our liver can only process fructose. In contrast, glucose is processed by every cell in our body.
Between 20-30% of the carbohydrates we eat will be converted into fats, which become acidic irritants when they accumulate and cannot be metabolized. We basically get fatter and fatter.
When we digest food, some of it becomes alkaline, and some of it becomes acid:
- Starch (e.g., rice, bread) and sugar (e.g., fructose, fruit sugars), when eaten, are broken down into glucose.
- Protein (e.g., meat, fish) breaks down into amino acids.
- Fat (e.g., olive oil or flaxseed oil) is broken down into glycerol and fatty acids, which can also be alkaline.
The Alkaline Foods
When you eat and digest meat, it breaks down into amino acids. When your digestive system cannot metabolize all of them (because of a lack of enzymes), these build up in your tissues and blood and become acidic irritants.
The Best Alkaline Foods
- Fresh Fruits: citrus fruits (orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime), apples, grapes, mangos.
- Vegetables: leafy green vegetables (e.g., parsley, watercress, kale) and cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli).
- Grains: whole grains such as millet, oats, wheat.
- Beans: mung beans.
- Herbs And Spices: ginger root and dandelion root tea.
- Yogurt (preferably).
The Worst Alkaline Foods
- Meat (including fish and poultry).
- Milk products.
- Wheat products.
Neutral Foods – They Don’t Affect The Body pH Level Either Way – Neither Acidic Nor Alkaline.
Some foods, like watermelon, are acidic before eating them but alkaline after they enter your body. Other foods do not become acidic or alkaline until there is a metabolic change in the body, such as lactic acidosis.
If you have this condition, then most types of food will be acid-forming for you. Even though some people say that citrus fruits are acidic inside the body, they are alkaline-forming for most people.
How to Know What Your Body pH Level Is?
The best way to measure your body pH level is by using litmus paper. You can get a roll from aquarium shops or big pet stores. It’s used for testing the acidity of fish tanks, and it’s very accurate and easy to use.
You will need a 0 – 14 pH test strip, which you stick into your mouth for a couple of seconds until it gets wet along its length. Hold it between your thumb and first finger against the roof of your mouth. The colors that show up on the litmus paper strip will tell you what your saliva pH level is: – blue to purple is more than 7 – green to yellow is between 5 and 6.5.
Suppose your saliva pH level falls below 5.5. In that case, you have a higher chance of contracting cancer or other severe diseases because the acid environment will destroy necessary enzymes that fight disease within your body.
In this case, reduce the amount of acidic forming food in your diet, increase your intake of alkaline-forming foods, and drink freshly made juices from vegetables such as celery, cucumber, lettuce, parsley, spinach.
Other Tips to Maintain Your Body ph Level
It’s best not to eat bread. However, if you do, it should be wholemeal bread, so at least some of the nutrients remain available for absorption by the body. Ideally, eat dairy products raw rather than cooked. Eat meat raw; when cooked, it becomes very acidic.
Don’t cook food in Teflon, aluminum, or copper pans because these metals become part of the food and enter your body.
Fruits are excellent alkaline-forming foods, but they shouldn’t be eaten to excess at any time because fructose is very acid-forming in the body, so balance fruit intake with an equal amount of vegetables. As a general rule, eat two pieces of fresh fruit every day, one after the other (e.g., an apple followed by two plums).
Eat organic food whenever possible – commercially produced food contains pesticides that are known carcinogens. Also, pesticides pass quickly through your skin, so wash all fruit you peel before eating it. And drink plenty of distilled (not tap) water.
You should also limit your fruit juice intake because it’s high in sugar and causes an acidic environment in the body. If you drink fruit juice, dilute it with distilled water; add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a squeeze of lemon to neutralize any acidity (or drink freshly made).
If you want to achieve and maintain good health, remember:
- Eat lots of fresh vegetables, some whole grains, and beans.
- Exercise daily.
- Drink adequate amounts of distilled water.
- Avoid dairy products and wheat because these are very acidic foods that generate free radicals when they break down in the body.