Blog Nutrition Alkaline Diet Food List: Eat These To Improve Your Health

Alkaline Diet Food List: Eat These To Improve Your Health

The stomach has a naturally acidic environment. This is necessary for breaking down food and for protecting against harmful bacteria. However, sometimes the acidity levels in the stomach can become imbalanced, leading to problems like heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux. Proponents of the alkaline diet believe that by eating more of what they call alkaline foods and fewer so-called acid-forming foods, you can restore balance to your body and improve your overall health. This is simply a hypothesis—there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that eating specific foods can alter the pH of your blood or body tissues. It also doesn’t make sense physiologically – your body tightly controls its pH levels regardless of what you eat. However, there may be some other benefits associated with eating a diet that is high in supposedly alkaline foods. The foods on the alkaline diet food list are high in fiber and nutrients.  Fiber, for example, has been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and certain cancers (8).

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What Do You Eat on an Alkaline Diet?

If you’ve looked up an alkaline foods chart online you’ll notice that there are different versions of it. This is because there isn’t an official list of what you can and cannot eat on the diet.

Most charts classify foods based on the acidity or alkalinity before it’s been consumed, which again will have no effect on the pH of your blood or body tissues because this is tightly controlled by your body.

Below is an alkaline food list based on the supposed potential acidity or alkalinity of a food after it has been digested. It is unclear what this potential is based on.

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Highly Alkaline Foods

  • Sea vegetables (kelp, seaweed, dulse)
  • Sprouts (soy, alfalfa, bean)
  • Cucumber 
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Parsley
  • Broccoli
  • Himalayan salt

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Moderately Alkaline Foods

  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Collard
  • Capsicum
  • Endive
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Arugula/rocket
  • Mustard greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Lemon 
  • Lime
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Butter beans
  • Soybeans
  • Chia
  • Quinoa

alkaline diet food list

Mildly Alkaline Foods

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrot
  • Chives
  • Courgette/zucchini
  • Leeks
  • New baby potatoes
  • Peas
  • Rhubarb
  • Swede
  • Watercress
  • Grapefruit
  • Coconut
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa
  • Spelt
  • Lentils
  • Tofu
  • Other beans & legumes
  • Goat & almond milk
  • Most herbs & spices
  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Flax oil/ Udo’s oil

What Should You Avoid on an Alkaline Diet?

Avoiding supposedly acid-forming foods is central to following an alkaline diet. This diet allows you 20% of your daily caloric intake to come from so-called acid-forming foods. The following are classified as acidic foods:

Neutral/Mildly Acidic Foods

  • Beans – Black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans
  • Cantaloupe
  • Currants
  • Fresh Dates
  • Nectarine
  • Plum
  • Sweet cherry
  • Watermelon
  • Grains – Amaranth, millet, oats, spelt
  • Rice/soy/hemp protein
  • Freshwater wild fish
  • Rice & soy milk
  • Nuts – Brazil nuts, pecan nuts, hazel nuts
  • Seed oils – Sunflower oil, Grapeseed oil

Read More: Energy Balls: The Best Ingredients To Beat The Midday Energy Slump

alkaline diet food list

Moderately Acidic

  • Fresh fruit juice
  • Condiments – Ketchup, mayonnaise, butter
  • Fruits – Apple, apricot, banana, blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, grapes, mango, orange, peach, papaya, pineapple, strawberry
  • Whole grains – Brown rice, rye bread, sourdough bread, whole wheat bread
  • Ocean fish
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Highly Acidic

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee/Tea
  • Dairy – Butter, cheese, cream, ice cream, milk
  • Meat & poultry – Bacon, beef, lamb, pork, veal
  • Farmed fish
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Cocoa
  • Condiments – Honey, jam, jelly, mustard, miso, rice syrup, soy sauce, vinegar
  • Yeast
  • Mushroom

What Are The Potential Benefits of an Alkaline Diet?

The main claim made by proponents of the alkaline diet is that it can:

Reduce Your Cancer Risk

The American Institute for Cancer Research states that there is no direct link between the acidity or alkalinity of your diet and cancer (1). 

alkaline diet food list

However, they say that a largely plant-based diet with a lower percentage of animal products may reduce your cancer risk. In this regard, an alkaline diet may offer some cancer-preventative benefits simply on the basis of eating more plants and fewer animal products.

You don’t have to follow the alkaline diet in particular to get this benefit, you can simply work towards eating more plant-based and fewer animal products.

Improve Heart Health

The alkaline diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, which are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Any diet rich in fruits and vegetables may also help reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, both of which are risk factors for heart disease (4).

Additionally, the alkaline diet limits animal products, making it low in saturated fats and ultra processed foods, which are linked to an increased risk of heart disease (7).

Again, you don’t need to follow an alkaline diet to get these benefits – you can simply eat more fruits and vegetables, and less animal products and ultra processed foods as part of your normal eating pattern.

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Promote Weight Loss

The alkaline diet may help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. This is because fruits and vegetables are generally lower in calories than animal products and processed foods.

Additionally, the fiber in these foods may reduce your appetite and promote fullness after meals, both of which may lead to weight loss (6).

Again, you can achieve this without following the alkaline diet by simply eating more fruits and vegetables.

alkaline diet food list

How To Follow an Alkaline Diet

If you’re still interested in following an alkaline diet, there are a few things you should know.

Keep It Simple

Complicated and overly-restrictive diets are hard to follow and sustain long-term. To make things easy, start by gradually replacing acid-forming foods with alkaline options.

You don’t have to have the entire alkaline food list at hand, just master these three distinctions:

  • Acidic: Meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, grains, alcohol
  • Neutral: Plant-based fats, starches, and sugars
  • Alkaline: Fruits, nuts, legumes, and vegetables

With that in mind, ensure that 80% of the foods you eat are alkaline-forming and neutral, and 20% are acid-forming.

Choose Whole, Unprocessed Foods

The best way to follow an alkaline diet is to focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods.

You want to eat as many one-ingredient foods as possible. Ideally, these should be fresh, but frozen and canned foods are also good options. They are cheaper yet still contain many of the same nutrients as fresh foods (and sometimes more).

alkaline diet food list

When buying packaged foods, look for items that are:

  • Made with whole, unrefined grains
  • Low in added sugar
  • Free of artificial additives
  • Rich in healthy fats, such as olive oil or avocado
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Read More: A 7-Day Alkaline Diet Plan To Rebalance PH Levels And Fight Inflammation

Become a master at reading ingredient labels to identify and avoid so-called acid-forming foods. Some ingredients and phrases to watch out for include:

  • Refined
  • Enriched
  • Processed
  • Bleached
  • Bromated
  • Partially hydrogenated
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Sugar
  • Honey
  • Agave nectar
  • Maltodextrin
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Sodium nitrites and sodium nitrates 
  • Artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives

If a food contains any of these ingredients, it’s likely an acid-forming food that you should limit in your diet.

alkaline diet food list

Cook Most Of Your Meals At Home

Cooking at home gives you more control over the ingredients in your food. It also allows you to save money and eat healthier (2).

If you must eat out, choose restaurants that serve fresh, whole foods. Avoid fast and ultra processed foods, typically high in unhealthy ingredients (9). Asking about the ingredients in a dish and how it’s prepared can also help you make healthier choices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some common questions about the alkaline diet.

Is The Alkaline Diet Good For You?

There’s no scientific evidence to support the claims that the alkaline diet has any effect on your body’s pH levels. However, eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods is generally considered healthy.

How Long Should You Follow The Alkaline Diet For?

There’s no specific amount of time that you should follow the alkaline diet for. Some people choose to stick to the diet long-term, while others may only follow it for a short period. If you do follow it for any period, make sure your meals are balanced and include a variety of nutritious foods.

See also
How To Improve Your Health With Foods Rich In Selenium And Zinc

What Are the 10 Most Alkaline Foods?

The 10 most supposedly alkaline foods are cucumber, spinach, kale, parsley, broccoli, kelp, sprouted beans, alfalfa, green drinks, and Himalayan salt.

alkaline diet food list

What’s In the Alkaline Vegan Diet Food List?

The alkaline diet works for vegans because it forbids all animal products including meat, fish, poultry, and dairy. Instead, this diet’s food list is made up of plant-based foods that are supposedly alkalizing.

What’s In The Keto-Alkaline Diet Food List?

To make the alkaline diet keto-friendly, you need to avoid all high-carb fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes, and grains. You’ll also need to limit your intake of moderate-carb vegetables.

What’s In The Alkaline Diet Cancer Food List?

Due to the nutrient-rich and anti-inflammatory properties of many plant-based foods, including them on the alkaline diet or any diet may help lower cancer risk (3). Some of the best cancer-fighting foods are said to include cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale), garlic, ginger, turmeric, and tomatoes.

The Bottom Line

The alkaline diet is a nutritional approach that focuses on eating foods that are rich in nutrients and low in acidity. This diet encourages plant-based foods and limits animal products, which may have many potential health benefits, including weight loss and a lower risk of chronic diseases. There is no scientific evidence to support the claims that the alkaline diet can change your body’s pH levels, and it doesn’t make sense physiologically because your body tightly controls this regardless of what you eat. However, eating more plant-based foods, especially fruits and vegetables, is generally considered healthy.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. Breaking Down the Association Between Alkaline Diet and Cancer (2020, aicr.org)
  2. Frequency of eating home cooked meals and potential benefits for diet and health: cross-sectional analysis of a population-based cohort study (2017, biomedcentral.com)
  3. Functional foods and their role in cancer prevention and health promotion: a comprehensive review (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  4. Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables (2012, academic.oup.com)
  5. Nutrition for Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease in Adults (2014, niddk.nih.gov) 
  6. Optimising foods for satiety (2017, sciencedirect.com)
  7. Saturated Fat Consumption and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Ischemic Stroke: A Science Update (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) f
  8. The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre (2020, mdpi.com)
  9. The Hidden Dangers of Fast and Processed Food (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  10. Vegetable-Based Diets for Chronic Kidney Disease? It Is Time to Reconsider (2019, mdpi.com)
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