Do you know that consuming too many acidic foods can cause harm to your health?
Researchers suggest that eating too many people often avoids acidic foods and even eliminates them from their diet.
Your body has the ability to tightly regulate its pH balance through a variety of mechanisms.
This involves multiple organs like your kidneys and lungs.
Moreover, your diet may affect the pH of your urine, research suggests that consuming either acidic or alkaline foods is unlikely to have a significant effect on the pH of your body.
In fact, increases in the levels of acid are an indication that there may be an underlying health condition.
This could be diabetes that you are not managing well, lung disease, or kidney problems.
Though, some individuals choose to limit their acidic food consumption to reduce Potential Renal Acid, PRAl.
This refers to the amount of avoidance your body produces from the foods you eat.
Keep on reading to learn more about it in detail.
Understanding Acidic Foods and Acidity
The pH value tells whether something is acid, base, or neutral.
The pH of 0 indicates a high level of acidity, the pH of 7 is neutral, while the pH of 14 is the most basic or alkaline.
The distance between 2 points on the pH scale represents a tenfold difference in the acidity or alkalinity of a substance.
On the other hand, a pH of 6 is ten times more acidic than a pH of 7, and so on.
The battery acid is extremely acidic at 0, while the liquid drain cleaner is very alkaline at 1.
However, pure distilled water is in the middle at 7 and is neither acidic nor alkaline.
Just like different substances, your different body parts have different pH levels.
Your ideal blood pH is between 7.35 and 7.45 which is slightly alkaline.
While your stomach is acidic at a pH of 3.5, which helps to break down food properly.
Differences in pH levels within different organs and body fluids allow them to function properly.
||Eases passage of food through the food pipe and breaks down starch.
||Begins the predigestion process.
||Releases hydrochloric acid to break down food and kill bacteria.
||Completes digestion and absorbs nutrients into the bloodstream.
||Absorbs water and eliminates undigested food and fiber.
Acidic foods and Drinks
Foods that are considered highly acidic have a pH level of 4.6 or lower.
Moreover, foods that tend to cause more acidity in your body and that you might want to limit are:
Certain dairy products, including cheese, fish and seafood, and high-sodium processed foods.
Furthermore, fresh meals and processed meats, certain starchy foods like brown rice, oat flakes, carbonated beverages, like soda, and high protein foods and supplements with animal protein.
Research supporting the connection between foods like animal protein and chronic disease due to changes in your pH is limited.
However, new research can help to shed more light on this connection.
Fruits and Vegetables high in Acidity
According to studies, though most types of fruits are acidic, however, they are considered alkalizing.
This means that they actually help to reduce acid levels in your body.
Moreover, this also means that they have a negative PRAL, which is the value that estimates the amount of acid your body produces during the digestion of certain foods.
The following is the PRAL for a 3.5 ounce or 100 grams portion of some popular fruits, according to studies:
- Limes: – 0.4
- plums: – 1.7
- green grapes: -2.4
- purple grapes: -1.9
- pomegranates: -8.1
- blueberries: -0.6
- pineapples: -1.1
- apples: -1.8
- oranges: -1.6
However, it is important to note that though these fruits are alkalizing in your body, their initial acidity can worsen the symptoms of upper gastrointestinal issues like an ulcer or reflux.
In fact, if you have conditions like GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, then your doctor will advise you to limit the intake of acidic foods.
These include citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes.
On the other hand, just like fruits, vegetables are also considered alkalizing.
They can help reduce acid levels in the body.
The following is the PRAL for a 3.5 ounce or 100 gram serving from some common vegetables:
- white cabbage (raw): -1.5
- beets (raw): -5.4
- shiitake mushrooms (cooked): -0.2
- kale (raw): -2.6
- zucchini (cooked): -0.6
- spinach (raw): -1.5
- cucumber (raw): -2.0
- potato (cooked): -1.7
- radish (raw): -4.7
Drinks that are highly Acidic
You can choose to avoid high-phosphorus drinks like a beer or hot chocolate made from packets of cocoa mix.
If you, however, wish to drink alcohol, go ahead with lower-phosphorus red to white wine.
Moreover, carbonic acid that is present in carbonated beverages, which not only includes soft drinks but also sparkling waters and spritzers contributes to your total body acid.
Thus, if you want to lower your acidity, make sure to drink regular or filtered tap water.
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Low Acid Foods
When it comes to the advantages of an alkaline diet, research in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health suggests that no conclusive evidence suggests it improves bone health.
However, it can help limit muscle loss, strengthen memory and alertness, and help you live longer.
Some of the alkalizing or neutral foods and beverages you can add to your diet are:
Yogurt and milk, most fruits, herbs, and spices excluding salt, mustard, and nutmeg.
Moreover, soy like miso, soybeans, tofu, and tempeh, and vegetables including potatoes.
Furthermore, beans and lentils, herbal teas, and fats like olive oil, avocadoes, nuts, and seeds.
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Effects of Acidic Foods
If your diet consists of too many acid-producing foods like animal protein, some cheeses, and carbonated beverages, they can cause acidity in the urine.
Moreover, they can also have other negative health effects and can cause a type of kidney stone, i.e. uric acid stones to form.
Many doctors speculate that too much acidity can also cause bone and muscle deterioration.
This is because your bones contain calcium which your body uses to restore the pH of your body when it becomes too acidic, according to studies.
However, bear in mind that research shows conflicting results on how acidic foods can affect your bones and muscle health.
This is due to the variation in total diet among test subjects, in studies.
Furthermore, consuming a moderate amount of foods that are high in acid is unlikely to cause muscle and bone loss or increase the risk of chronic diseases, studies suggest.
Some studies also suggest that phosphoric acid found in darker sodas is linked to lower body density.
This happens when you replace it will milk, a calcium and protein-rich beverage.
Thus, too much acidity may also increase your risk for cancer, liver problems, and heart disease, according to studies.
Therefore, aim to limit these foods as they may be affecting your acid-base balance.
These are salt, high sodium condiments like soy sauce, steak sauce, certain types of cheese, and grains like corn, rice, and wheat.
Eating a well-rounded, balanced, and healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and healthy fats is a great way to help balance your dietary acid load and support your overall health.
You can also enjoy plant-based proteins like lentils, tofu, and tempeh in place of animal protein from time to time.
Nutrient-dense foods like cow’s milk can also supply different important nutrients to promote bone health.
This includes calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Acidic Foods and Gastric Upset
One of the reasons why you would choose to avoid acidic foods is due to concerns that may aggravate some digestive disorders.
These include acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
While acidic fruits and vegetables like citrus fruits can irritate your upper gastric disorder, these conditions can also be due to foods high in fats.
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Research at the University of California suggests eating more sources of alkaline-producing foods.
These include fruits and vegetables at a 3 to 1 ratio.
Thus, the pH of the food before you consume is less important than the amount of acid or alkaline produced with the digestion and metabolism of that food.
While it is rare, however, it is possible for the pH of urine to be alkaline as well.
However, in the United States, too much acid tends to be a common problem.
This is because the average diet contains more animal protein and grains, but not enough fruits and vegetables.
Higher rates of prescription drugs can also contribute to this condition.
Therefore, it is important to follow a well-balanced and healthy diet.
This includes more fruits, vegetables, dairy milk, yogurt, and more plant sources.
Moreover, you also need to limit the intake of processed foods that can help to maintain a normal acid/base balance.
Eating more fruits and vegetables, and limiting animal products and high-sodium processed foods may or may not help to balance the pH levels within your body.
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As your body closely regulates its pH through a series of complicated mechanisms, following an alkaline diet is less likely to affect the blood pH levels for most individuals.
Still, a balanced diet can help to maintain normal acid/base balance and overall health.
This includes fruits, vegetables, dairy milk, and yogurt, and limiting processed foods. Thus, moving towards a more plant-based eating plan can help to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses.