Your body woks hard to bathe your cells within a very tight pH range of 7.35 to 7.45 which is slightly alkaline. If acidity levels creep up even a little, this will affect the health or your skin. Most of the acidity in your body is ultimately derived from your diet and how the proteins, carbohydrates and fats you eat are processed. If eating a particular food results in the production of excess protons (H+), it’s classed as acid-forming, but if its metabolism uses up more protons than it produces.
It’s classed as an alkaline-forming food. It’s important to note that this classification is based on the effect a food has after it has been processed, and whether or not it raises or lowers the acidity (pH) of your urine. It Is not based on whether the food itself is acidic or alkaline in quality.
Alkaline Forming Foods
Many acid-tasting foods such as lemons, oranges and tomatoes actually have an alkaline effect on the body. This may seem confusing, but here’s a quick chemistry lesson to explain things (and it’s interesting, honest!). Acid-tasting fruits such as limes contain weak acids (such as citric acid and malic acid) which do not break down to release protons to any great extent. Instead, they are readily neutralised by the large amount of potassium also present in the fruit to form salts such as potassium citrate and potassium malate.
These salts react with sodium, water and carbon dioxide in your cells to form sodium bicarbonate, which is alkaline. BUT beware: adding sugar to fruit juices reduces the neutralising effect of potassium, so sweetened fruit juices become acid-forming.
Aim to eat more alkaline forming foods:
Green tea;tomatoes; berries; grapefruit; figs; peppers; some pulses (alfalfa, lentils, lima beans, soybeans, navy beans); some nuts (almonds, pine nuts, chestnuts); sweet potatoes; squash/ pumpkins; parsnip; artichokes; courgette; aubergine; green leafy vegetables (kale, broccoli, spinach, barley grass, wheat grass,); coconut; sour cherries; mango; apricots; ripe bananas; dates; melon; watermelon; herbs (parsley, coriander leaf, oregano); avocado; celery; asparagus; green beans; beetroot; radish; garlic.
Acid Forming Foods
Protein-rich foods such as meat and dairy products are the main acid-forming foods in your diet, even though they don’t taste acidic when you eat them. This is because the amino acids they contain are broken down to produce excess protons which acidify your urine as your body works hard to flush them out.
Normally, your body processes acid-forming foods without difficulty. However, many nutritionists recommend following a relatively alkaline diet and avoiding excess acid-forming foods to decrease the level of inflammation in the body. This is believed to help combat premature ageing, improve immune function, and promote healthy hair, skin and nails.
Aim For Balance
For optimal beauty benefits, aim to eat a balanced diet that consists of 60% to 80% alkaline foods and only 20% to 40% acid foods. Essentially, this means eating more fruit and green-leafy vegetables and cutting back on the amount of animal proteins and processed foods you eat while still maintaining a regular intake of protein. Eat animal proteins (eggs, poultry, meats, seafood) no more than once a day and have regular vegetarian days, too.
Maintain a balanced intake of mildly acid-forming foods:
Vegetables with a high protein or sulfur content, such as: grains (barley, oats, quinoa, rice, wheat, flours, bread, pasta); some pulses (eg black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans); some nuts (pecans, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts); dairy products (cream, cheese, milk, ice-cream); wine; apple cider vinegar; sparkling water; vegetable oils.