If you're considering an alkaline diet, it's important to understand which foods and beverages have an alkaline effect and which have an acidic effect. Some foods, such as milk, cheese and meat, are alkaline when consumed but become acidic during digestion. On the other hand, fruits that are highly acidic when eaten, such as lemons, limes and oranges, become alkaline when digested.
Once food is eaten and digested, the minerals that remain determine whether the food is acidic or alkaline. According to Alkalize for Health, alkaline minerals include potassium, calcium and magnesium; acidic minerals include chlorine, sulfur and phosphorus, which forms into hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that one condition that could arise from having too much acid in the body is metabolic acidosis, which occurs when the kidneys are unable to remove the excess acid from fluids in the body.
Testing your blood's pH level is necessary in determining whether your body is on the acidic side or the alkaline side. You can use pH strips to test your urine and saliva. A pH level of 7.0 is neutral. A pH below that level is acidic, and above is alkaline. The optimum range for good health is on the alkaline side, between 7.35 and 7.45 pH.
An alkaline diet consists of at least 75 percent alkalizing foods and no more than 25 percent acidifying foods. An acidic pH can be caused by things other than diet, however. Stress and allergic reactions can lead to more acid being produced in the body.
Foods that are highly alkaline include fruits, vegetables and nuts. Watermelon, lemons, grapefruit, raisins, figs, dates, melons, passion fruit, plums and grapes are highly alkalizing. Vegetables that are alkaline-forming include spinach, sweet potatoes, asparagus, peas, beets, onions, broccoli and cauliflower. Alkaline protein foods include whey protein powder, almonds, flaxseed, chestnuts, fermented tofu and tempeh, cottage cheese, and seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin and squash.
Foods that are highly acidic include fried foods; high-fat dairy products; all types of meats; eggs, sugars, fats and oils; alcohol such as beer, wine and liquor; and soda and coffee. On an alkaline diet, stick to mineral water, fresh vegetable and fruit juices, lean meat and organic unpasteurized milk.
- Vegetables and Fruits image by Piter Pkruger from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.