Healthy acid-alkaline balance is essential for wellbeing
A healthy balance between acid and alkaline levels in the body is important for vitality, energy and overall health. Stress and an unhealthy diet can lead to excess acid build-up in the blood, causing pain, fatigue, and many other symptoms of ill health.
Acid-alkaline balance is possibly one of the most under-estimated and misunderstood issues in our physiology, yet it is fundamental to every aspect of human health.
What can lead to excess acid?
An imbalanced diet is the most common cause of Chronic Metabolic Acidosis (CMA). Specifically, high levels of processed food, fast foods, meat and dairy products can increase acidity in the body. A lack of fresh fruits and vegetables also contributes to an excess of acids in the body, as does a busy lifestyle and stress.
Stress, a busy lifestyle and a typical Western diet can all increase systemic acidity, ultimately driving disease.
The effect of diet on pH
All foods have an overall acidifying or alkalising effect on the body. The balance between the acid-forming components and the baseforming components of a food determines its overall effect. This can be measured as the Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL). Foods such as meat, eggs, dairy products, grains, salt and soft drinks all have a high PRAL score, and an overall acidifying effect on the body. Fruits and vegetables have a low PRAL score and are alkalising for the body.
The typical Western diet contains an excess of meats, grains, salt and processed foods, and a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. This means it is highly acidogenic, and the body can have trouble compensating for this excess acid consumption. This can have significant negative health effects over time.
Acidifying foods are not inherently bad, and most are actually needed in a healthy diet. It’s all about balance.
It’s all about balance…
To ensure your body has a healthy balance of acid and alkaline, a greater portion of your total diet should be alkalising vegetables and fruits. A good guide is that your plate should be made up of 2/3 alkalising foods to 1/3 acidifying foods.
Following an alkaline diet
- Enjoy a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. Include 1-2 serves of fruit plus 2 or more serves of vegetables at every meal
- Enjoy moderate amounts of eggs and dairy products
- Limit red meat consumption to < 2 serves per week
- Limit poultry consumption to < 2 serves per week
- Limit salt intake
- Avoid refined grains, processed meats and soft drinks
Alkalising minerals neutralises excess acid
A diet rich in alkalising fruits and vegetables can reduce the burden of excess acid in the body. In addition, minerals such as potassium citrate and magnesium citrate can be taken in powdered form to help neutralise excess acids and restore acid-base balance.