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
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
- Hot chocolate
- Canned juices
- Nut milk
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)
- 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
- Avoid lying down immediately after a meal, especially a dinner.
- Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, & avoid heavy meals.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid pressure on your abdomen.
- Lose excess weight if overweight.
- Quit smoking if you do.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners, chewing gum, & frequent alcohol.
Foods that may help reduce your symptoms:
- Vegetables – eating fresh, raw, boiled or sautéed