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The acid-alkaline mix

Because the body’s pH level is slightly alkaline — around 7.4, the pH of the blood — it is thought our diet should reflect this and also be slightly alkaline. An imbalanced diet high in acidic foods such as animal protein, sugar, caffeine, and processed foods tends to disrupt this balance and can deplete the body of alkaline minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, making people prone to chronic and degenerative disease.

A bit of yin and yang

Any solution is either more acid or more alkaline; nothing is absolutely acid or alkaline. If acidic characteristics dominate, the solution is acid, if alkaline dominates, it’s alkaline. An acid solution always contains some alkaline factors, and vice versa. A pH of 7.0 is considered to be neutral; a pH above 7 is alkaline, below 7 is acid. The pH of blood is 7.4, making it slightly alkaline; stomach acid varies from between 1 to 2 and up to 4 to 5 (quite acidic), urine is 7, and saliva 7.1. While neutrality is an ideal state, it’s not realistic. In reality, what we eat or drink is always more acid or more alkaline.


A balanced food plan helps maintain the pH balance of the blood, which means tipping that balance in favour of alkaline-forming foods. However, it takes time. If the blood develops a more acidic condition if we eat more acid-forming foods, then the body inevitably deposits those excess acidic substances in certain parts of the body so the blood can maintain its alkaline condition. The more this happens, the more these areas increase in acidity until such time as cells begin to die; these dead cells then turn into acids. However, some cells may adapt to that environment and, instead of dying, survive by becoming abnormal cells or malignant cells. Malignant cells, which do not correspond with brain function nor with our own DNA memory code, grow indefinitely and without order.


Acidosis occurs when there’s increased acidity in the blood and other body tissue, when arterial pH falls below 7.35. Acidosis is not in itself a specific disease; it’s a general condition of the blood and thus the root of many different diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, cancer, tumours and so forth. (An acidic condition inhibits nerve action, alkalinity stimulates it.) Nowadays, many people have this blood condition without knowing it. Alkalosis, which occurs at a pH above 7.45, is not as common as acidosis, but also indicates an unbalanced condition of the blood.


All natural foods contain both acid- and alkaline- forming elements. According to modern biochemistry, it’s not the organic matter of foods that leaves acid or alkaline residues in the body. A food’s acid- or alkaline-forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the actual pH of the food itself. For example, lemons are very acidic, however, the end-products they produce after digestion and assimilation are very alkaline, so lemons are, overall, alkaline-forming in the body. Likewise, meat will test alkaline before digestion but it leaves a very acidic residue in the body, so, like nearly all animal products, meat is very acid-forming.


Symptoms of excess acidity     

  • Low energy, chronic fatigue     

  • Excess mucous production     

  • Nasal congestion     

  • Frequent colds, ‘flu, and infections     

  • Nervous, stressed, irritable, anxious, agitated     

  • Weak nails, dry hair, dry skin     

  • Formation of cysts, such as ovarian cysts, benign breast cysts (fibrocystic breasts) and polycystic ovaries     

  • Headaches     

  • Joint pain or arthritis     

  • Neuritis     

  • Muscle pain     

  • Hives     

  • Leg cramps and spasms     

  • Gastritis, acid indigestion acid- and alkaline-forming foods


Acid- and alkaline-forming foods 

A balanced diet contains 25% acid-forming foods and 75% alkaline-forming foods. 


Highly alkaline

beans string, banana (speckle-skinned, ripe), dandelion greens, dates, figs, prune, raisins, swiss chard  


High alkaline

almonds, avocado, banana (yellow), blackberries, carrots, cranberries, endive, sour grapes, kale, dried peach, persimmon, pomegranate, plum, raspberries, spinach neutral oils cold-pressed, expeller-pressed almond, avocado, coconut, linseed, olive, walnut oils



agar agar, alfalfa, apple, fresh apple cider, apricot, globe artichokes, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, blueberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, rockmelon, cauliflower, celery, cherries, chestnuts, chicory, coconut milk, collards, fresh sweet corn, cucumbers, daikon, ginger, grapefruit, guava, fresh raw horseradish, kelp, kohlrabi, lemon and peel, lettuce, lime, loganberry, mango, melons



asparagus, beans dried, cashews, dried coconut, cranberry juice and concentrate, egg yolk, fruit jams (canned, sulphured, sugared, dried), sweet grapes, pasteurised milk products, dry peas, pecans, plums, tofu, water-chestnuts

Acidic fats 

butter, cream, margarine, lard


Highly acidic

alcohol, artichokes (sunroot), barley, bread, buckwheat, caffeine, coffee, dried corn and corn products, custards, drugs, all flour, honey, lentils, maté, millet, oatmeal, peanuts, all rices, rye grain, unfermented soy, sorghum, spaghetti and other pasta, sugar cane, tobacco, wheat grain

Helpful hints to alkalinise your diet

  • Eat plenty of vegetables, preferably raw — at least a cup of alkalinising greens (such as kale, chard, mustard greens, or broccoli tops) each day. Avoid cooking them, as not only will it reduce their nutrient content, but cooking can sometimes convert an alkaline-forming food into an acidifying one. For example, spinach is considered alkaline-forming when raw, but is slightly acidifying when cooked. A very light steam or blanching is preferred over cooking the life out of them.

  • Eat fresh raw fruits, for example, citrus, watermelon, paw paw, mangoes, apples and blueberries are among the best choices; redyrated raisins are also good. However, fruits such as prunes, blackberries and cranberries can have an acidifying effect.  


  • Squeeze half a lemon or lime into a glass of water as a beverage, especially good after arising from sleep. Keep yourself well-hydrated with a good-quality, well-filtered water, which means drinking when you’re thirsty. Also, cold showers make the blood more alkaline, while hot showers make it more acid.

  • White flour and sugar both acidify the body. Limit your consumption of bread, noodles, baked goods and processed cereals. Instead, choose grains and pseudocereals such as wild rice, quinoa, amaranth and millet. In place of sugar, choose the natural sweetener stevia. Warm green or herb tea can also make a big difference to your body’s pH.     

  • Meats and dairy products can be very acidifying. Instead, substitute activated nuts and seeds. If eating flesh, choose fish and lamb over beef.

  • Use olive oil instead of vegetable oils in salads. When cooking, use coconut butter.

  • Try green powders: spirulina, chlorella, barley grass powder, wheatgrass powder.

  • Make a miso broth by dissolving one teaspoon of miso into a cup of warm water.

  • Eating alkaline-forming food doesn’t mean you can never have some of your favourite acidifying foods. There are ways to combine acid and alkaline foods to optimise digestion and nutrition. Use the food combining chart as a guide.


A balanced diet contains 25% acid-forming foods and 75% alkaline-forming foods.

PARTLY ADAPTED FROM Acid Alkaline by Herman Aihara

Information on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional health care and medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without first consulting a qualified health care provider. Each person’s body is different and will react differently to various foods and herbs as well as vitamins and minerals. Use the information found on this website as precisely that: Information only.

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