What has pH Balance to do with Diseases?

An Apple A Day Photo

There is confusion about what pH balance is, mainly caused by spurious analysis of food ash. To clarify the nature of pH balance, I will explain it in terms of it’s links with various diseases. This is the first of many articles exploring links between healthy eating and illness. Here, I will look at one nutrition study that investigates alkaline diet and various diseases[1].

What is pH Balance?

The report starts with a background to alkaline diet, and the role of pH balance in body tissues. It notes that pH balance has changed considerably over the last 10,000 years, with especially rapid changes during the last 200 years. There has also been a significant shift from more potassium than sodium, to the reverse.

It is generally accepted that agricultural humans today have a diet poor in magnesium and potassium as well as fiber and rich in saturated fat, simple sugars, sodium, and chloride as compared to the preagricultural period. This results in a diet that may induce metabolic acidosis which is mismatched to the genetically determined nutritional requirements

The report continues with explanations of the need for different pH values in different parts of the body. Minerals move around the body to provide the environment needed in specific locations. The net effect shows in urine, which may be acidic or alkaline depending on prevailing conditions. It notes that this can be influenced by diet, and the Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL) scores can be used to estimate pH balance.

The rest of the report, except the conclusions, cover the relationships between pH balance and various diseases.

Continue reading What has pH Balance to do with Diseases?

Potassium for pH Balance

High Potassium Foods Photo

Potassium is one of three alkaline components of the PRAL calculation for pH Balance Diet Score.

We need potassium for several functions in our bodies, and it is also important for balancing the effects of too much sodium. The risks of average diets in America are important, and so I turn to Harvard School of Public health once again to share modern nutrition thinking about potassium:

Most Americans consume far too much sodium and far too little potassium, an eating pattern that puts them at higher risk of heart disease and death. Making a few changes in food choices can help shift the balance. Potassium levels are naturally high in vegetables and fruits, and sodium levels are naturally low. Large amounts of sodium are often added to foods during processing. So choosing produce that is fresh or frozen, or choosing foods that have not had salt added in processing, can help curb dietary sodium and boost potassium.

Potassium deficiency can lead to muscle weakness, abnormal heartbeat, and slightly elevated blood pressure. On the other hand, too much potassium can also be bad for the heart, and kidney patients might need lower than normal intake. So what is normal potassium intake?

Continue reading Potassium for pH Balance

Phosphorus for pH Balance

Phosphorus Foods Photo

Phosphorus is the secondary acidic component of the PRAL calculation for pH Balance. We need phosphorus mainly for strong teeth and bones. However, it is also essential for many other body functions.

Phosphorus affects how our bodies use carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It helps our bodies store energy, and it works with B vitamins. Other important functions that need phosphorus are:

  • Kidney functions
  • Muscle contraction
  • Normal heartbeat
  • Nerve signals

Fortunately, phosphorus is available from most foods, and there is never usually a shortage in a typical balanced diet. Our kidney’s readily dispose of excess, which leads to one important aspect of phosphorus in nutrition. Most people never need worry about it, but sufferers from kidney disease are often advised to reduce phosphorus intake.

Continue reading Phosphorus for pH Balance

Protein for pH Balance

High Protein Foods Photo

Protein is the main acidic component of the PRAL calculation for pH Balance Diet Score. We need protein to build body tissues, and also for enzymes that allow our bodies to function.

Here is a list of the most protein rich foods from the USDA list of key foods. Like all the current Foodary food charts, the high protein list simply tells you the numbers. The list will tell you how much protein you are eating. It will help you choose more protein or less protein according to your personal dietary needs.

However, your protein choices, like most dietary choices should be governed more by quality than by quantity. At the moment, my nutrition data is taken from the USDA database. This allows me to list quantities, but quality scores need more work. I am committed to improving the data. There is an established scoring system for protein quality, and I will explain more about this soon. Please subscribe to Foodary Food Facts Update Service if you want to be informed when that is available.

In the meantime, a little common sense goes a long way. That, and a few simple pointers on protein quality.

Continue reading Protein for pH Balance

Alkaline Snacks List

Alkaline Snacks pic

My alkaline snacks list is an update to my earlier Acid-Alkaline Snacks Food Chart. It has a tighter focus on popular foods from the USDA Key Foods list. It also has extra nutrition information in a sortable table.

Snacks cover a wide range of food. More importantly, this request for an update makes me realize there has to be a better way of organizing alkaline food tables that does not rely on USDA food groups. The current focus in nutrition circles is to categorize food groups as:

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Oils and Fats
  • Protein
  • Sundries including water and related fluids
  • Avoid
  • Treats to be eaten sparingly

The USDA nutrition database also includes meals, fast foods, and, as I am explaining here, snacks. Ultimately, the Foodary database will also include recipes and complete meals or snacks. For now, I am going to focus on basic foods that become ingredients for recipes. However, many people have asked for an updated alkaline snacks list, so I have included one below. There are only a few snacks included in the USDA key foods list, so I have included other groups such as Baked Products, Meals, and Fast Foods.

Continue reading Alkaline Snacks List

Calcium for pH Balance

High Calcium Foods photo

Calcium is one of the 5 elements of the PRAL calculation for pH Balance Diet Scores.

There is some interesting science behind that, but I like to provide easy to use tables so you can focus on food, not formulas. I only mention the science so you understand that PRAL is a proven method for estimating alkaline diets. Others rely on science fantasy, Foodary uses science fact.

Speaking of facts, always remember that, despite it’s precision, PRAL is really an estimate to guide you towards pH balance. It’s a great tool for checking the important things relating to alkaline diet:

  • Is my total diet is alkaline?
  • Do I eat sufficient acidic foods?
  • Which food changes will improve my alkaline diet?

Continue reading Calcium for pH Balance

PRAL Nutrients

PRAL Nutrients icon

PRAL Nutrients are those substances in food and drink that are used in the Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL) calculation.

The PRAL score is the best indicator for how we can improve an alkaline diet. Though PRAL scores are calculated as absolute numbers, in practice, they should only be used as a general guide. Seasonal variations, different varieties, and cooking methods will all affect the PRAL score. Despite this variation, the numbers are useful in making better food choices. Ultimately, the proof of your alkaline diet comes when you test the pH of urine. The alkaline food lists will help point you in the direction of foods with lower PRAL scores if you need to raise the pH of your urine. There is more information in PRAL pH Balance Calculation.

The key to alkaline diets is that 20-30% of foods should be acidic, with the rest being alkaline or neutral. Overall, your total pH balance diet score should be alkaline. There is no target for PRAL. The target pH for urine in healthy individuals is 6.5 to 7 in the morning, rising to 7.5 through the day. The target should be higher if you are fighting ill health, though there are complications to this that I will consider when I explain various diseases in future articles.

Continue reading PRAL Nutrients

Your Healthy Recipes

Your Healthy Recipes photo

Foodary is here to listen to your favorite foods, maybe listen to any health problems you have, and provide you with tasty, healthy recipes that help you maintain or improve your health.

I am Keith Taylor, and I developed Foodary for my own health needs. There is a history that started with a food diary. When I started that, I got great feedback from many visitors. After lots of discussions, and my own growing awareness, I realized I don’t want a food diary. I want healthy recipes that are generally nutritious, but which also help my personal health. I want to go further than that, and provide an online service to all people who are concerned how their food affects their health.

Continue reading Your Healthy Recipes

Alkaline Pasta List

Alkaline Pasta Photo

My alkaline pasta list covers all the USDA Cereal Grains and Pasta food group. As such, it can be a source of healthy whole grains, which are important to nutrition, though rarely very alkaline.

The key to understanding pasta in an alkaline diet is to understand the big picture. An alkaline diet is always alkaline in total, but it must contain around 20-25% acid forming foods. The secret is to incorporate acid foods wisely, and look to maximize healthy minerals, vitamins, and fiber.

There is another important point about whole grains in general, and pasta in particular. Pasta forms a good carbohydrate base for your meal. Most pasta carbohydrate is the preferred complex form. I will explain the importance of complex carbohydrates in a future article. For now, let’s think about the rest of our pasta meal.

Most current healthy nutrition guides emphasize switching from unhealthy refined cereals to unrefined whole grains. So a switch to whole wheat pasta is good, but there’s more. Whilst you’re improving the healthiness of your pasta, an alkaline diet can help even more, if you look at the sauce.

Vegetable sauces for pasta are nice, but if you want meat or seafood, a pasta meal can still be alkaline. Be sure to make the sauce with three times as much calories from plants as calories from animals. There are lots of ingredients near the top of the most alkaline foods list that make excellent sauces for pasta. If you are not sure if your favorite pasta meal is alkaline forming, please share the recipe with me in Foodary Healthy Eating Forum. I’ll analyze it for you, and I might even add some tips for making it a better part of your alkaline diet.

Continue to read the Alkaline Pasta List

Most Alkaline Key Foods List

Most Alkaline Foods Photo

My most alkaline key foods list summarizes the top items from all my alkaline foods lists. Before you use the list below, you should read my Alkaline Food Lists Explanation, and some of the examples listed at the end of that explanation.

The science behind a good alkaline diet might be complicated, but my lists make managing your own diet easier. In essence, for healthy eating, you need to allow around 20-25% of your calorie intake in acid forming foods, and the rest in alkaline forming foods.

The lists guide you to make better choices when planning what to eat. However, the only true measure of the success is to measure urine pH, and set an alkaline target. I will explain more about setting and testing your alkaline target in other articles. In the meantime, use the list below to find the most alkaline foods that will increase your pH.

See the Most Alkaline Key Foods List