Alkaline Diet Improves Blood Pressure

Alkaline Diet Improves Blood Pressure is aimed at people with high blood pressure (hypertension). It summarizes one scientific study into the effects of alkaline diet on blood pressure.

Before I look at the results, it is important to understand the nature of the research. This is a statistical study that reveals a link between risk of high blood pressure and acid-forming diets. It does not look at individual cases. For you, it’s vital to get proper medical examination, and advice. The statistical link between increased high blood pressure and acid-forming diet might not apply to you. It is just a pointer to consider when you and your doctor assess what your options are for improving your health.

Alkaline Diet and High Blood Pressure Report

The alkaline diet and high blood pressure report is:

Diet-dependent net acid load and risk of incident hypertension in United States women.
Zhang L, Curhan GC, Forman JP.
Hypertension. 2009;54:751–755.

As I mentioned, this is a statistical study. Because of that, it includes lots of analysis data. The details are not very useful to individuals. However, the principles are extremely important. As you may know from my other descriptions of alkaline diet, food analysis is only an estimation of acid-load. As an individual, you should be most concerned with the pH of your urine. But, food analysis can help guide us to what needs changing.

In most of my articles to-date, I’ve used PRAL to estimate acid-alkaline load. This report uses two different methods: NEAP, and Pro/K

NEAP to Estimate Acid-Alkaline Load

NEAP (Net Endogenous Acid Production) is generally regarded as an accurate estimation of the acid load from food. It is useful in laboratories. However, in real-life, it is difficult to calculate. More significantly, any food score for alkaline diet is only an estimate. There are too many variables from cooking methods, growing conditions, seasonality, etc. Therefore, it is not worth the effort in calculating NEAP for everyday food planning or dietary assessment.

Pro/K to Estimate Acid-Alkaline Load

Protein to potassium ratio (Pro/K) is a simple measure of acid-alkaline load. It has good practical value as it:

  • Is simple to calculate.
  • Uses the most common factors that affect acid load.

In this study, there was very strong correlation between the results for NEAP, and the results for Pro/K. If I was preparing food tables now, I would probably use the Pro/K formula rather than PRAL, for the sake of simplicity. But, the tables are done now. And, I’m working on an even simpler way of estimating acid-alkaline load.

Blood Pressure photo
Self-testing Blood Pressure is a great idea. But, get results checked by a medical professional each year.

Your Alkaline Diet and Blood Pressure

The relevance of this report to individuals is that, for some people, diet might have an impact on hypertension. That does not mean that improving diet alone will decrease blood pressure. There is a strong suggestion that it will help some people. However this has to be managed on an individual treatment basis. As the authors say:

Our findings should be tested in randomized trials to determine whether dietary interventions to reduce diet-dependent net acid load […] could reduce the risk of hypertension.

Specifically, they recommend:

increase intake of foods which supply alkali, such [as] fruits and vegetables; decrease intake of foods which have a high acid load, such as meat and cheeses; and increasing the ratio of potassium to protein in diets

Do you want personal help measuring or managing your acid-alkaline load? Please, ask in the healthy eating forum.