How much do you know about alkalines vs acids? Are you aware that the body has a pH balance between the two? On the pH scale, a rating of 0 is completely acidic, while a rating of 14 is completely alkaline. If you’ve heard about alkaline diets, this delicate balance is the focus of such culinary choices. Naturally speaking, the human body is slightly more alkaline than acidic; however, an improperly balanced diet can make your body’s pH levels swing one way or the other, which isn’t good for long-term health. Is your body too acidic? Consider these alkaline-rich foods:
Like most leafy greens, swiss chard is packed with vitamins and minerals. It contains iron, potassium, and vitamins A and C, which make it a great choice to help power up the immune system. The potassium is especially essential for heart health, unlike sodium, which in excess harms the heart. It hardens the blood vessels and makes them less flexible, while potassium loosens up the blood vessels, which can help to bring blood pressure down because the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to move blood. Swiss chard is a low sodium, low sugar food, making it diabetic friendly.
Buckwheat is an alkaline neutral food that can easily help bring your body back into balance. Like swiss chard, it is an incredible source of potassium, which helps the heart; however, it also contains a large amount of protein as well, which makes it a suitable alternative to meat for vegan and vegetarian diets. Furthermore, given that buckwheat has a neutral pH, it is a better source of protein than most meats, which tend to fall on the acidic side of the balance. It also packs loads of fiber, which make it much easier to digest than other food options.
While fruit juices tend to rank low on the pH scale, making them acidic, melon is midrange, which makes it relatively balanced. Another significant advantage to melon is the water content; because most types of melon have such high water content, they can help the body stay hydrated. They are also decent sources of fiber, and despite tasting sweet, do not cause significant changes to blood sugar. Typically, it is the processing of foods that makes them more acidic, which is why fruit juice is so acidic, yet most varieties of fruit are typically more alkaline on the pH scale.
You might not think of olive oil as a food, per say, so much as a medium by which to prepare actual meals; regardless of your reasons, it is worthwhile to include olive oil in the diet. For starters, it is healthier than other oils like corn or canola, containing significant amounts of healthy fat and cholesterol. These can actually boost heart health. Olive oil by some measures is actually slightly acidic, but it still provides numerous health benefits. According to some sources, olive oil contains powerful antioxidants which can boost the immune system and reduce the odds of getting cancer.
Don’t let their size fool you; grapes are a nutrient powerhouse. Aside from a smattering of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin K, vitamin C, and calcium, they contain high levels of polyphenols, a special type of antioxidant. Specifically, polyphenols are effective at reducing the odds of developing several types of cancer, including lung, pancreatic, colon, and prostate cancer. Additionally, they are thought to play a key role in preventative heart health by reducing hypertension (high blood pressure). Some research also indicates that grape seed extract may be able to help with circulation and eye health, among other numerous conditions.