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How To Limit Acidic Foods In Your Meals

13 Mar 2020
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The PH value of a particular food tells you if it is an acid, alkaline, or neutral:

  • A pH of 0 indicates a high level of acidity
  • A pH of 7 is neutral
  • A pH of 14 is the most basic, or alkaline

Just like different substances, different parts of the human body have different pH levels. Your ideal blood pH is between 7.35 & 7.45, which is slightly alkaline. The stomach is typically at a pH of 3.5, which helps food break down properly.
Acidity occurs when the amount of acid in the stomach increases or enters the food pipe leading to heartburn, reflux & acidity. 

 

HIGH-ACID FOOD & DRINKS (AVOID)
If you suspect you have problems with acidity, you can make changes to your diet to help improve symptoms. Foods that are considered acidic, must have a pH level of 4.6 or lower.

Foods that tend to cause more acidity in the body & that you may need to limit or avoid include:

  • Most grains especially refined like maida, white rice, fine wheat flour
  • Sugar – white, brown, jaggery
  • Certain dairy products like milk, paneer & cheese
  • Processed foods like instant noodles, ketchup, pickles, papads, chips, jams, pieces of bread
  • Processed meats, fish 
  • Sodas & other sweetened beverages like canned juices, coke
  • High-protein foods & supplements like whey
  • Salt, mustard, & nutmeg

 

FRUITS & FRUIT JUICES HIGH IN ACID
Here’s a list of fruits listed from most acidic to least:

  • lemon juice (pH: 2.00–2.60)
  • plums, berries 
  • grapes 
  • pomegranates 
  • pineapples

It’s important to remember that fruit juices especially orange, mixed fruit, pineapple & grapes are acidic, too. 

Drinks high in acid/aggregates acid secretion:

  • Black Tea
  • Indian Masala Tea
  • Beer & whiskey
  • Coffee
  • Hot chocolate
  • Canned juices
  • Milk
  • Nut milk

 

LOW-ACID FOODS
Some alkalizing (or neutral) foods & beverages you can incorporate into your diet include:

  • Soya products, such as miso, soybeans, tofu
  • Unsweetened yoghurt (Dahi) (Greek yoghurt) 
  • Most fresh vegetables, including sweet potatoes
  • Bananas, Guava 
  • Herbs & spices 
  • Beans & lentils (avoid if you are bloated/ have gas)
  • Quinoa  
  • Herbal teas
  • Fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts, & seeds

 

EFFECTS OF EATING TOO MANY ACID-PRODUCING FOODS
A diet that includes too many acid-producing foods, such as a high protein or high sugar diet, can cause acidity too. This may cause a type of kidney stone called uric acid stones to form.

Avoid or limit these foods since they may be affecting your acid-base balance:

  • Corn oil
  • Sweeteners, such as sugar, molasses, maple syrup, processed honey, & aspartame
  • Salt, mayonnaise, soy sauce, & vinegar
  • Hard & processed cheeses
  • Grains, such as corn, rice, & wheat
  • Coffee

 

PREVENTION
Lifestyle Changes:

  1. Avoid lying down immediately after a meal, especially a dinner.
  2. Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, & avoid heavy meals.
  3. Wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid pressure on your abdomen.
  4. Lose excess weight if overweight.
  5. Quit smoking if you do.
  6. Avoid artificial sweeteners, chewing gum, & frequent alcohol. 

Foods that may help reduce your symptoms: 

  • Vegetables – eating fresh, raw, boiled or sautéed
  • Ginger
  • Oatmeal

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