What food should we eat?

Whatever our Stone Age ancestors died of, it probably wasn’t acidosis or diabetes. These ailments are rife in societies where diets are too high in acid-forming meat, eggs, the wrong kind of fats, refined carbs, sugar, coffee, processed foods and artificial substances. When the body is overloaded with acid-forming foods it’s out of balance – whereas a balanced, slightly alkaline state helps to keep illness at bay.

Description: Description: What food should we eat?

So, although our bodies’ processes are in charge of regulating our pH, the part we can control is the acid/ alkali balance of the food we eat. However, the taste of a food isn’t necessarily an indication of its acid or alkaline-forming tendency. For example, prunes contain aromatic organic acids that aren’t metabolized in the body and so increase the acidity of body fluids, whereas the ash of sharp-tasting citrus fruits is actually alkaline.

But there’s no need to buy an acid/ alkali guide so that we can eliminate all acid-forming foods. In facts, it would be dangerous to do so as they’re not all bad. Protein is essential; it just has to be in the right proportion to other food groups (For meat, use the palm of your hand as an estimate of portion size)

Balance and moderation

“Acidity is a complex term and shouldn’t be confused with indigestion,” says Jenny Meyer, of MME Dietitians in Gauteng. “While tweaking your diet can help, it’s important not to adjust it to extremes that may compromise your health or deprive you of nutrients. Eat good quality foods and apply the concepts of balance and moderation. Cut out junk, drink sufficient water and eat a varied diet with lots of fresh veg, salads, controlled portions of fresh fruit, high-fibre carbs, lean proteins and healthy, unsaturated fats”

If in doubt, see a dietitian or healthcare practitioner who can guide you towards fine-tuning a diet that will promote your optimum health, advises Meyer.

Alkaline vs Acidic Foods

Description: Description: Alkaline vs Acidic Foods

Alkaline-forming foods include green tea, apple cider, oats, quinoa, wild rice, soya sauce, garlic, sprouts, almonds, avocado, olives, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, bell peppers, mushrooms, cauli-flower, cucumber, leafy green vegetables, fresh coconut and most fruits, including citrus (see acid list for acid-forming fruits)

Acid-forming foods include meat, fish, poultry, shellfish, eggs, cheese, bacon, brazil nuts, walnuts, peanuts and peanut butter, all types of bread (especially wholewheat), cereal, crakers, macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, crackers, corn, cranberries, plums, prunes, cakes and cookies.

Should I be taking medication or supplements?

“The essence of good nutrition is to keep your nutrient intake in balance and avoid labeling food as “good” or “bad”, says Joburg-based dietitian Zikhona Spelman.

“It’s when we don’t practice the simple principle of “everything in moderation” that food starts becoming an enemy to our bodies.

“Choosing to embark on an acid/ alkaline diet or choosing to take supplements is not a matter of “right or wrong”. It’s a case of whether the decision will have positive or negative repercussions for your health and wellbeing in the long run.

“The best person to advise you is a qualifies, experienced healthcare professional in the field of nutrition. Self-diagnosis and treatment should never be an option.”

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Your GP can test your pH levels using a blood or urine sample.

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