Alkaline and acidic foods: which ones to eat and which to avoid

With pH we mean the unit of measurement with which it is established whether an organic liquid (blood, urine, etc.) is acidic or basic or if, on a scale ranging from 0 to 14 , it has a lower value of 7 (acid), highest (alkaline) or equal (neutral). When an acidic situation is found it means that there is a high presence of hydrogen ions (pH stands for Potentia Hidrogeni) inside the body and this, in the long run, can lead to the appearance of various ailments including diseases due to cell degeneration.

The accumulation of acid inside our body can originate from different causes : poor nutrition, use of drugs, wrong habits such as smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol, stress, sedentary life and more. Many of us, therefore, are at risk of acidosis, so here it can be useful to follow, at least for a period, an alkaline diet.

How does it work

The alkaline diet starts from the assumption that our body is a perfect machine that needs balance to function well. To obtain it, according to this theory, it is good to act on the body’s pH, most of the time overloaded by excessive acidity, bringing it back to the right levels (i.e. slightly alkaline ones) to prevent healthy cells from degenerating or the immune system giving possibility for germs and bacteria to proliferate.

In detail:

  • Foods with positive PRAL (for example meats and cheeses) would contribute to acidification .
  • Foods with negative PRAL (for example fruit and vegetables), thanks to their mineral content, could instead balance acidic dietary residues.

The immediate effects of these corrections could easily be observed in the urine, and more particularly in the variation of the urinary pH .

5 foods with negative PRAL therefore alkalizing

  1. Lemon

With the value of -2.6 the lemon, contrary to what you think, is an alkalizing food . In the case of citrus fruits, therefore, it is essential not to be distracted by the acid taste, but to consider the great wealth of citrates as an element with undisputed anti-acid power. This could be one of the reasons to use lemon, and its juice (less effective), in the preparation of an alkaline drink  ideal to start the day.

  1. Raisins

With a PRAL of -21, raisins are certainly the food with the greatest alkalizing power, according to the PRAL tables.

Adding a handful of raisins to breakfast , clearly considering the richness in sugars, could provide an energizing alternative to the basic alkaline breakfast.

  1. Dried figs

In the same vein as raisins, dried figs could also be considered a valid ingredient in an alkalizing diet. They could, for example, be very useful in the post-workout recovery phases .

  1. spinach

Among the vegetables, they are definitely the ones with the most negative PRAL, with a value of -14.

The addition to salads, or in combination with positive PRAL foods, therefore acidifying like meat, could certainly guarantee an excellent balance for an alkaline diet.

  1. Rocket salad

Rocket also contributes with its -7 PRAL to balance dietary acid residues.

Therefore we always suggest adding a vegetable side dish to a high PRAL protein meal.

5 positive PRAL foods therefore acidifying

  1. Seasoned cheeses

The richness of proteins, phosphorus and sodium makes the PRAL value jump to over 30.

They are certainly among the most acidifying foods, and therefore to be consumed in moderation or at least to be suitably balanced with negative PRAL foods.

  1. Fish

With a PRAL average of 14, fish is another positive PRAL protein source, therefore acidifying.

However, given the nutritional importance of this food, it is appropriate to reiterate as a positive PRAL, it does not mean food to be eliminated, but to be balanced appropriately so as to maintain a perfect balance.

  1. Meats

Among the meats, average PRAL 10 value, the most acidifying course would be the liver.

Proper use, a couple of times a week, and appropriately balanced, would be and yet compatible with a negative Pral diet

  1. Sweet drinks and beer

Although modest, both have a positive PRAL. Given the very low nutritional value, the first elements to avoid in an alkaline diet would result.

  1. Sausages

With a PRAL that reaches and exceeds that of fresh meats, sausages certainly represent foods with a strong acidifying power and a bad nutritional impact. They are certainly among the choices to avoid .

The benefits of an “alkalizing” diet

Despite the enormous scientific diatribe, which still wonders about the real benefits of an alkalizing diet , it is absolutely true that a well balanced diet on the acid / base profile, can contribute to maintaining an adequate state of health.

Several experts, in fact, with a lot of scientific literature at hand, demonstrate how the choice of alkaline foods in an adequate diet can contribute, especially in the most fragile and exposed subjects, such as in the elderly, to preserve the structure and function of the bones and muscles, to reduce the risk of developing certain inflammatory diseases and maintain good cardiovascular function. Similar benefits have also been observed in athletes, subjected to incessant workloads and many times to unbalanced diets.

Still open, however, remains the huge chapter on the anticancer properties of these foods and this diet, despite the presence of some studies, unfortunately still experimental, very encouraging.

Alkaline breakfast: some simple menus

If it is true that a good morning starts in the morning, in order to maintain an adequate balance, it would be essential to opt for a breakfast that presents alkaline foods .

Very far from the classic Italian breakfast with cappuccino and brioche, an alterative in line with the assumptions hitherto expressed, could include examples of alternative menus such as:

  • Fruit and vegetable centrifuge, wholemeal rye bread with honey and oilseeds and dried prunes;
  • Oat yogurt with dried blueberries and dates;
  • Citrus juice and mix of dried and dehydrated fruit;
  • Oat milk with raisins, dates and oat flakes.

In view of a good acid-base balance, but above all of an appropriate variability, it could therefore be very simple to integrate these menus into our habits.

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