Dr. Fuhrman Dr. Fuhrman

The acid/alkaline connection to health

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If you google acid/alkaline you will find many sites that are trying to sell you something to make your blood/urine more alkaline. Almost all the other sites that talk about it are sites from naturopaths with questionable health claims. If a site claims to have found the cause for all disease it usually means it is a quack site.

However, this does not mean the acid/alkaline concept is totally nonsense (I do not agree with Quackwatch on this topic). There are many components to health and the acid/alkaline balance of your diet is one of them. I am not going to put together a list of benefits of eating more alkaline, because you do not want to follow a diet that prevents a couple of specific diseases: you want to live the healthiest life you can. I do not think it is a coincidence that a healthy diet that emphasizes fruit and vegetables is an alkaline diet.

Acid and alkaline foods

Fruits and vegetables are alkaline (even sour tasting fruits like lemons are alkaline to your body). Whole grains (except quinoa), cheese and meat are highly acidic. Beans and nuts are somewhat acidic. My lay-conclusion is that one of the big problems with modern diets is that we eat too much grains and too much meat. Our ancestors ate meat and lots of vegetables, but no grains. Their general diet was alkaline and they were generally healthy. People in rural China and other developing countries eat whole grains and lots of vegetables, but no meat. Their diet is alkaline, and they are generally healthy. Most people in industrialized countries eat meat and grains and almost no fruit and vegetables at all. They are not very healthy.

So, what should you do?

I do not think you should worry about the acid/alkaline balance in your diet. If you eat a healthy diet that consists of lots of fruit and vegetables, you are already eating an alkaline diet that is best for your health. If you are currently eating lots of meat and/or grains, you probably already know that that is not the healthiest diet there is, not just because it is acidifying, but because you are not getting enough nutrients from fruits and vegetables. Nevertheless, it can be interesting to assess the alkalinity of your diet. I am developing a tool to do just that. Stay tuned for more information.

May 16, 2006