assorted vegetables

Foods for Alkaline
Diets



Overview

Many alternative health experts recommend a diet comprised of more alkaline than acid foods. In the book, Staying Healthy with Nutrition, author Elson Haas, M.D. recommends a diet consisting of 70 - 80 % alkaline and balanced foods in spring and summer. For winter months, he recommends decreasing this to 65 to 70% of alkaline and balanced foods.

Alkaline foods are recommended by many holistic doctors as an antidote for acidic body conditions such as acidosis and acid reflux. The traditional yoga diet, consisting of mainly fresh fruits and vegetables, is generally an alkaline forming diet.

What are alkaline foods? Almost every book I have with information on acid and alkaline foods has some what conflicting information on this subject. In general, most of the sources I referenced note that most fruits and vegetables have an alkaline ash. I've noted the exceptions to this generalization below.

Alkaline Fruit

Most of the books that I have show most fruits as having alkaline ash. These include:

  • apples
  • bananas
  • grapefruit
  • oranges
  • pineapple
  • raisins
  • nectarines
  • blackberries
  • dates

The most alkaline fruits listed in the Mayo Clinic Diet Manual chart are watermelon, dried apricots, dried figs and cantaloupe.

Exceptions to this were found in:

  • Staying Healthy with Nutrition - lists acid fruits as pomegranates, strawberries and cranberries.

  • The Mayo Clinic Diet Manual and Nutrition Almanac show cranberries, plums and prunes as being acid.

Alkaline Vegetables

Most vegetables have an alkaline ash. These include:

  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • eggplant
  • mushrooms
  • squash
  • turnips

The most alkaline vegetables in the Mayo Clinic Diet Manual were beet greens, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, and baked potatoes.

Exceptions:

  • The Mayo Clinic Diet Manual lists corn as being acid forming.

  • Acid & Alkaline, notes asparagus as being acid.

  • Nutrition Almanac and Prescription for Nutritional Healing classify asparagus and brussel sprouts as being acid.

Other Alkaline Foods

Besides most fruits and vegetables, the following selected foods were noted as being alkaline in the books as listed below:

  • Staying Healthy with Nutrition - millet, buckwheat, sprouted beans, sprouted seeds, olive oil, soaked almonds.

  • Mayo Clinic Diet Manual - cream, ice cream, jam, milk, almonds, chestnuts, fresh coconut, molasses.

  • Nutrition Almanac - molasses, maple syrup, honey, millet.

In Ayurvedic (traditional Indian medicine) milk is often recommended to correct health issues related to too much stomach acid, which would imply that the traditional Indian healers felt milk was an alkaline food. Milk used to be recommended for ulcers in the U.S. but these days many Western doctors classify milk as an acidic food. Its use in modern ulcer diets has gone out of favor over the last decade.

Interesting Resource:

Acid - Base Balance - A Human Nutrition and Health Resource - an online resource that lists the PRAL (Potential Renal Acid Load per 100 grams) of various foods. Negative numbers indicate base or alkaline-producing foods and positive numbers are acid-producing foods. From the Paleo Diet web site. Data adapted from Data Remer T, Manz F. Potential renal acid load of foods and its influence on urine pH. J Am Diet Assoc 1995;95:791-797

Sources:

1. Acid and Alkaline Foods, the Connective Tissue Disorder Site, www.ctds.info.

2. Haas, Elson, Staying Healthy with Nutrition, Celestial Arts, Berkeley, California, 1992.

3. Mayo Clinic Diet Manual, 3rd Edition, Philadelphia, W.B. Saunders Company.

4. Herman Aihara, Acid and Alkaline, 5th edition, George Ohshawa Macrobiotic Foundation, Oroville, California. 1986

5. Kirhschmann, Gayla J and John D., Nutrition Almanac, Fourth Edition, McGraw Hill, 1996.

6. Balch, James F. and Phyllis A., Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Third Edition, Avery, New York. 2000

 

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