Our body needs a constant pH in the blood from 7.35 to 7.45. The pH value indicates how acidic or alkaline a solution is. A neutral pH is 7. Values below that are called acidic. Values above 7 are called alkaline. So our body prefers a slightly alkaline environment.
The pH value is very important in many, and some vital processes in the human body. These include sugar metabolism (glycolysis), but also the binding of oxygen in the blood and the processes in the muscles. An alkaline diet contributes to the pH value in the body remaining in the optimum range and enabling all bodily functions to be performed smoothly.
The food that we eat is converted by the digestive and associated metabolic processes to a kind of ash. This is either acidic or alkaline. Even in modern biochemistry it is not the organic matter itself which determines whether a food is acidic or alkaline, but its inorganic matter. Inorganic matter being those individual components that the food you eat is broken into during digestion. If there is sulphur and phosphorus, for example, the food is more acidic. If the ash consists mainly of magnesium, potassium, sodium or calcium, it is an alkaline food.
The Swedish biochemist Ragnar Berg (1873 - 1956) carried out some tests on alkaline nutrition. He examined the proportion of acid and alkaline formers in the ash of various foods. In vegetables such as potatoes, fruit and dried fruit he found mainly alkalis. In meat, there was an excess of acids.
All foods naturally contain both acidifying and alkaline-generating substances. The balance of these two may be disturbed in our bodies depending on the composition of our diet. When you eat meals containing many acids, the body has to use a lot of minerals to neutralize the acids. If this happens too often, the mineral reserves soon run low. In this case, the body accesses its storages, for example, in the teeth or bones. There is no other possibility because the body must ensure that the blood remains alkaline in all circumstances.
Dietary over-acidification is caused by the excessive consumption of acid-forming foods. Those mainly include meat, cold cuts, sugar, soft drinks, dairy products, bread and bakery products because the protein in these foods is broken down to acid by the digestive system.
Among the most important, alkaline-forming foods are:
- Vegetables and
Tip: root vegetables contain lots of minerals. It’s fine to eat more beetroot, carrots and turnips.
The rule of thumb for an alkaline diet: half of each meal should consist of the above components to ensure a balanced supply of alkalis, because plant foods are the best provider of alkalis in our diet. On the other hand foods that stimulate acid production in the body on the other hand, should be avoided. This mainly concerns animal protein, which we eat in the form of meat, fish and eggs.