The balance of acid and alkaline in the body is essential for proper metabolism to take place, and when out of balance can create an environment allowing viruses, bacteria, fungi, and candida to thrive, which can cause weight gain, digestive issues, skin problems, fatigue, inflammation, weakened immunity, urinary tract issues, and kidney problems.
All foods are either acid-forming or alkalizing and are measured by pH (potential or strength of hydrogen), which is the concentration of acid protons (H+). Alkalinity can neutralize these acids. The pH range is from zero to 14, zero being the most acidic and average around 7.35-7.45. Less than 7.35 is called “acidosis,” and above 7.45 is known as “alkalosis or basic.”.
Acidic foods have higher quantities of acid-forming minerals, chlorine, sulfur, nitrogen, and phosphorus, whereas alkaline foods have higher amounts of potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, manganese, and iron. Alkaline mineral benefit nerve transmission and muscle contraction (including our heart muscle), maintain healthy blood pressure, and regular blood clotting, regulates enzyme activity, and enables oxygen and energy distribution to our cells. They are also necessary for all our metabolic functions - from digestion to cellular metabolism.
Traditionally, the Ayurvedic diet includes more acid-forming foods, such as grains, dairy, and legumes, and fewer alkalizing foods, such as leafy greens, sprouts, and fresh herbs, which 5,000 years ago was more sensible, but not so much today. When Ayurveda was developed, all food was wild, organic, local, and seasonal and was grown in fertile, mineral-dense soil, free of pesticides and fertilizers. But today, much of what you find at the supermarket, even organic, is hybridized and can have an improper mineral balance that wild foods contain.
Additionally, in the modern world, many diets are composed of more acid-forming foods like animal products, processed grains/flours, sugars, etc, and the antidote is to consume more alkaline foods, especially vegetables, and fruits. A common rule is to eat 80% alkalizing foods and 20% acidic foods.
Below is a chart that breaks down which categories foods fall into, and not to complicate things, not all food’s acidity correlates to acidity in the body; for example, lemon and apple cider vinegar is acidic, but their results after digestion and assimilation are alkaline. If you have specific questions about your health or diet, I suggest you seek a nutritional or holistic professional to help you design the proper diet.