Although many factors affect your body's internal pH, the most important one is the food you eat (and the beverages you drink). Luckily, these things are entirely within your control. But what exactly should you do if you want to create an acid alkaline diet for optimum health? Well, when you're giving people nutritional advice, you can either tell them what they can eat or what they can't eat. Both kinds of knowledge are important, but this article focuses on the second approach. Below are the top five foods to avoid if you're following an acid alkaline diet for optimum health.
1. Soft Drinks
Colas and other soft drinks are loaded with sugar, which is highly acidifying. They also contain phosphoric acid, making them even more acidifying. Besides, they're full of empty calories, but no nutrition. Sure, some soft drinks contain added vitamins, but don't be fooled--they're still no substitute for real food. And while energy drinks, sports drinks, and vitamin waters may have a healthier image than colas, they're just as acidifying. The same applies to diet or "zero-calorie" soft drinks. Unfortunately, the artificial sweeteners in these beverages are highly acidifying, as well.
Coffee is highly acidifying, partly because it contains caffeine, a chemical that can have a number of harmful effects on your health. If you drink several cups of coffee a day, you will probably feel terrible if you quit cold-turkey. Remember, caffeine is a drug, so withdrawal symptoms are to be expected. You can make it easier on yourself by replacing one cup of coffee with green tea. After a few days, add another cup of green tea, and cut back one cup of coffee. Continue until you are off of coffee completely. Green tea contains some caffeine, but less than coffee does. On balance, it is an alkalizing beverage. Plus, it contains other substances that appear to have powerful health benefits. Among these is l-theanine, an amino acid that helps reduce anxiety and induce relaxation. There are also powerful antioxidants which can help prevent cancer, according to some recent studies.
3. Alcoholic Beverages
Almost all alcoholic beverages are acidifying. Another problem with alcohol is that it is a source of empty calories. According to one study, the average American drinks 28 gallons of alcoholic beverages per year. Considering that the average person already gets too many calories from sugar, white flour, and other nutritionally-empty foods, adding alcohol on top of everything else is just making things worse. As few as three drinks a week have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer by 60 percent, and drinking also raises the risk of esophageal and laryngeal cancer.
4. Dairy Products
The dairy industry will tell you that milk is a perfect food. But the truth is that dairy foods have both pros and cons. From the perspective of the acid alkaline diet for optimum health, one of the cons is that nearly all dairy products make your body more acidic. It's okay to eat some acidic foods, but when you add a lot of dairy on top of a diet that is already full of acidifying meat, grains, and sugar, you end up making it impossible to achieve an optimal acid-alkaline balance. The main reason to consume dairy products is that they are rich in calcium. If you give up dairy products, you can still get enough of this essential mineral, either by eating plenty of calcium-rich plant foods, like kale and spinach, or by taking a bone-building supplement. But if you continue to consume dairy products, you can still create an alklaline-leaning pH balance by making sure that your total protein intake isn't too high. In other words, if you drink more milk, eat less meat, and vice versa.
5. Fast Food
You already know fast food is bad for you, right? But it never hurts to hear the main points again, in case you didn't get all of them the first time. Fast food is high in calories, high in total and saturated fat, high in sugar and processed starches, and low in fiber. It's also highly acidifying. Think of the ingredients in a cheeseburger: There's fatty meat, fatty cheese, a white-flour bun, tomato, and a few shreds of lettuce. Guess what? All of those ingredients are acidifying, except for the bit of lettuce and the sesame seeds on the bun. But that's not nearly enough alkalizing ingredients to compensate for all of the acidifying ones.
Some people think that an alkaline diet for optimal health is overwhelmingly complex. As you can see, however, this doesn't have to be the case. Reducing or even eliminating the five foods in this article will go a long way toward helping you to create a healthy acid alkaline diet.