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Why Some Acidic Foods are considered Alkaline Forming

Updated on September 13, 2016

For those of you who are looking into the acid alkaline diet for the very first time, there is one thing that might strike you as being a little confusing and that is that a lot of the foods considered to be alkaline forming foods are actually acidic in nature. I’m talking specifically about foods like lemons, limes, apples and oranges. All of these foods may seem to you to be highly acidic in nature and in fact citric acid is even one of their main components. So why are all these foods listed as being alkaline on the acid alkaline diet list? Well it all has to do with the minerals which make up these fruits and the ‘ash’ that they are believed to leave behind once they have been digested.

The Basic Theory of the Acid Alkaline Diet

To explain the acid alkaline diet simply the theory is that any food or drink we take into our body will affect the PH level of our cells and our overall PH balance in general. When someone has a body which is overly acidic, they are believed to be more at risk of contracting chronic diseases and life threating diseases such as cancer. In theory then, consuming more alkaline forming foods and less acid forming foods should help to create a healthier, more alkaline body.

Why Some Acidic Foods are Alkaline Forming

The important thing to remember when understanding which foods are considered to be acidic to your system and which aren’t is that it’s not about the state of the food outside of the body, it is about the ‘ash’ residue they leave behind within your system once they have been digested. Certain minerals are believed to leave an alkaline ash when digested, minerals such calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium to name just a few. When a food is predominantly made up of these minerals it is much more likely that it will be considered to be an alkaline forming food when following the alkaline diet. If we take the lemon as an example, lemons are high in potassium and calcium which contributes to them being alkaline forming once digested. Lemons are also believed to stimulate the production of calcium carbonate within the body which again would have an alkalizing effect as calcium carbonate is able to neutralize the acids in overly acidic cells.

Not an exact rule

This information never seems to equate to an exact rule though and you will always find some foods or drinks on either the acid or alkaline forming side of the list that you wouldn’t really expect to be there, often because they have one or two random minerals in their make-up that sends them over to the other side as it were. Lemonade is a good example of this. Lemons are one of the most alkaline forming foods around, so it would make sense that lemonade would be alkaline forming too, wouldn’t it? Well actually depending on its sugar content and other factors you may well find that lemonade makes its way into the acid forming category. To follow this diet then the best thing you can do is to find a good list of all of the acid and alkaline forming foods – a list that you trust as there are many conflicting ones on the web - and plan your diet accordingly. It really is no good guessing as you will more than likely make mistakes as to which foods are alkaline and which are not.

What if your body doesn’t cope well with acidic foods?

It’s all well and good knowing that lemons and limes are highly alkaline forming foods after digestion but what if your digestive system simply doesn’t deal well with these foods? What if it flares up a bad case of GERD for example or what if these foods bring you out in a rash? In cases like these it is not impossible to follow the acid alkaline diet but it just means you will need to take a more balanced approach, working harder to cut down on your acid forming foods and perhaps sticking to the foods that are slightly less alkaline forming but are also less acidic in nature prior to digestion.


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