Friday, August 18, 2006

Acid and Alkaline Diet Tips

Foods are generally categorized as acid or alkaline based on the residue they leave in the human body after they have been metabolized. Often there are fad diets that recommend people eat either all acid or all alkaline foods to solve one disease or another. In reality, it is probably healthier to strive for a balanced middle ground. A variety of health problems can occur when the body is either too alkaline or acidic. When the body fluids become too acidic, a condition called acidosis develops. Conversely, when the body fluids become too alkaline, alkalosis results.
Foods are determined to have either an alkaline or acid forming potential based on their pH values. (The word pH comes from the chemistry formula for calculating the concentration of hydrogen ions present in a substance. pH refers to the "power of Hydrogen.") A pH of 7 is neutral. Foods with an alkaline ash have pH values above 7. Foods with an acid ash have pH values below 7. Pure water has a neutral pH of 7.
In general most grains, dairy products, meats, seeds, legumes and nuts tend to have an acid ash. Most fruits and vegetables tend to have an alkaline ash. Cooked foods tend to be more alkaline than raw foods. Many holistic practitioners believe that modern Western diets are too acidic for good health due to a lack of fruits and vegetables. They often stress the importance of modifying one's diet to achieve a better acid-base balance.
Foods such as orange juice and lemon juice are acidic but turn alkaline after they have been metabolized in the body. As such, for dietetic purposes they are usually considered to be alkaline despite being acidic prior to consumption. Most fruits are alkaline except a few, including cranberries, plums and prunes, because they contain acids the body can't metabolize.

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