Should You Worry About These Surprise Acid-Causing Foods?
The term “pH” refers to how acid or alkaline something is. Liquids with a low pH (0–6) are acidic, while a pH of 8–14 means something is alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral, or balanced. Do acidic foods have a negative effect on your body?
Why Does pH Matter for Your Body?
In the case of your skin, a slightly acidic pH is a good thing. It helps improve your defenses against bacteria, viruses and other problems.
Inside your body, things are different. Your internal organs and enzymes work best with a neutral pH.Problems with pH can get in the way of healthy muscle function. That’s why athletes need plenty of electrolytes such as calcium, potassium and magnesium. Electrolytes help balance blood pH and prevent muscle cramping.
When Do You Need To Worry About Acidic Foods?
If your blood gets too acidic, it’s called acidosis. A small change in pH is enough to put you into acidosis.
Fortunately, your body has a natural system in place to avoid this problem. Your kidneys and lungs work to eliminate excess acid automatically. As long as these organs stay happy and healthy, you should never have to worry about acidosis.What if your kidneys aren’t working correctly? In that case, eating too many high-acid foods can put extra stress on your vital organs. Diabetes, aspirin overuse, alcohol abuse and certain medications can trigger kidney problems.
How Do High Acid Levels Affect Your Health?
Acidic blood pH can trigger a number of harmful side effects that get worse depending on the severity of acidosis:
- Breathing problems
- Heart problems
Other health problems are caused indirectly by acidosis. For example, when your body detects low pH, it attempts to compensate by using calcium to neutralize the acid. If things get bad enough, your body literally starts stealing calcium from your bones! This can contribute to osteoporosis or osteoarthritis.
What Foods Are Acidic?
The worst acid-causing foods are things you probably wouldn’t think of. They make your kidneys work much harder to balance your blood pH:
- Soft drinks: Soda has tons of phosphoric acid, which affects your tooth enamel and raises the acid your kidneys have to deal with.
- Red meat: Red meats produce a ton of acid as they’re being digested. Chicken also contributes, but not as much as red meat.
- Refined grains: White bread and other processed grains add a lot of dietary acid.
- Cheese and yogurt: Eating yogurt, cheese, ice-cream and other dairy foods can raise levels of acid in your body.
Of course, milk, cheese, yogurt are good for you. They have good probiotics for digestive health and calcium to strengthen your bones. Chicken and other proteins give you important B vitamins. The key is to be balanced and always follow your doctor’s instructions, especially if you have kidney problems.
What About Citrus Fruit?
Most people think of citrus when it comes to acidic foods, but the truth is that they don’t add much to the acidity your kidneys have to deal with. You can enjoy oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruits and tomatoes to your heart’s content. In fact, the antioxidants in these superstars actually help protect your internal organs!If you’re trying to avoid acid-causing foods, focus on plenty of green veggies, whole grains and red fruits. They can give you excellent nutrients without putting stress on your kidneys.