Alkaline Food Charts: Your Introduction to PRAL

Alkaline Food Charts: Your Introduction to PRAL

This introduction to my basic acid alkaline food charts describes how they are structured. It also acts as an index to the charts, which are organized by USDA nutrition food groups.

This is the first set of charts to use PRAL Scores to rank foods by acid or alkaline effect. Later charts have more features and focus on popular foods.

Why Use PRAL Alkaline Food Charts?

Alkalizing your body (which essentially means ensuring your urine is alkaline) has many health benefits, though not as many as some merchants claim. Taking baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) works for many health problems. Unfortunately, it can raise blood pressure, so an alternative is better.

This is where increasing your pH level through food comes in. There is a lot of information on the Internet about alkalizing diets and acid-alkaline balance. Much of this is confusing and sometimes contradictory.

First of all, the effect of food on the body is nothing to do with the pH of the food itself. The important measurement is how the food changes the pH of your body after it has been digested. Often sour foods like lemon juice will actually raise pH after digestion, making the body more alkaline.

Secondly, alkalizing the body with food does not mean that you must stop eating lots of different foods. The opposite is true. You must eat a wide variety of food, choosing acidifying foods as well as alkalizing ones, which, in total, have an overall alkalizing effect.

Other PRAL Alkaline Food Factors

The tables that I present here focus solely on the acid/alkali effect of food after it has been digested. There are other factors that you must consider when planning your diet to avoid problems with general health. I cover these principles in more detail in my Diet Section – these charts simply cover food acid-alkaline values for assessing your food diary.

Description Of PRAL Alkaline Food Charts

To help you plan your meals, I have prepared a number of tables that analyze the food items from the USDA National Nutrient Database. I use a technique developed by Remer and Manz. PRAL (Potential Renal Acid Load) gives a simple method to calculate a value that gives a good indication of the acid or alkaline effect of food. The calculation is described in “Dietary potential renal acid load and renal net acid excretion in healthy, free-living children and adolescents”, which I explain, in detail, elsewhere.

Before I introduce the tables, a few words of warning.

PRAL gives a precisely calculated value based on the nutrients contained in 100g of food. This value can vary due to many factors including variety, growing conditions, season, and cooking method. Not only that, but digestion varies from person to person, and at different times of the day. Use PRAL values as a guide – the real measure of your progress can only be determined by measuring the pH of your urine. This is a simple process using widely available test strips or meters.

Though I present the figures for 100g, many food portions will be much smaller than this. You will eat herbs, spices and other flavorings in much smaller portions. Unless these foods are a significant portion of your diet, or they are particularly potent, you can simply ignore them.

I give an exact figure for PRAL, but you should only use these tables as a guide. They are useful for you to see, for example, which food will help alkalize your body better than another food. I’ve categorized the values into columns, and it is these that are most important.

The column categories range from very alkaline, negative numbers to very acid, positive numbers. Just because a food is an acid does not make it a bad choice. You should choose an acid food as your main protein source, then balance it out with a selection of alkaline foods.

Finally, it is wrong to try and balance an excess of acid foods by taking an excess of alkaline foods. If you want a meat or fish based meal, choose a small portion, then bring it to around neutral with a good selection of vegetables etc. You should try to make the other meals you eat that day alkaline in total.
Acid-Alkaline Food Charts Choices

PRAL Alkaline Food Charts

The USDA database that I use for my tables has a number of different groups. I have prepared a table for each of these groups, except for “baby food”. You should seek as much variety as possible, choosing from each table. You must not ignore acid-producing foods – these should make up 20-40% of your calorie intake, with the balance from alkaline foods.

Dairy and Egg Products
Often seen as best sources of protein. You need to be careful about fat content and cholesterol, which will be included in later editions
Spices and Herbs
A good diet needs variety. The only way you stick to a well planned diet is to eat tasty satisfying food. From coriander to mustard, use spices and herbs to make your food interesting.
Fats and Oils
Can fats and oils be good for you? Get the pH balance right, and no food is bad. Choose the right dressings for your meals and enjoy your healthy diet.

See the latest Alkaline Oils List.

Poultry Products
Where do you find which foods to avoid? Do you simply avoid meat? Don’t chicken out – you’d be a turkey to avoid all these foods.
Soups, Sauces, and Gravies
Wondering what food to eat for a healthy diet? You can eat anything if you balance your meals properly. Look at sauces from Worcestershire sauce to a little bit of gravy to make your meal delicious.
Sausages and Luncheon Meats
What food should you avoid? Anything that makes your health worse. But if you follow a good pH balanced diet plan you can eat anything. Including salami and meaty spreads.
Breakfast Cereals
What are health producing foods? All food if you balance your diet, no food if you don’t. Start the day with a well balanced breakfast, then continue this good food habit throughout the day.

See the latest update to alkaline breakfast list.

Fruits and Fruit Juices
Fruit foods for health. Fruity snacks and sauces can help make all food good for you. From apricots to pears, see how to balance your diet with fruit.

Be sure to check out the new Alkaline Fruits List.

Pork Products
Are you looking for food to avoid? Look no further – it doesn’t exist. With a proper pH balanced you can combine any pork products in your diet, but don’t make a pig of yourself.
Vegetables and Vegetable Products
If you want good healthy foods look at vegetables. You don’t have to be vegetarian. Just add enough vegetables to your meaty meals and say goodbye to acid diet problems.

Be sure to check the new Alkaline Vegetables List.

Nut and Seed Products
Are there any foods that reduce acid? All food can do if you plan it properly. Balance all foods that you eat, including nuts and seeds, and watch your pH level rise.

Also see the Alkaline Nuts List.

Beef Products
Do you know what unhealthy food is? All Meat? Beef Products? Think again. With a properly balanced diet you can eat anything from beef suet to liver, as long as you add enough alkaline foods to your plate.
Beverages
Are you obsessed with food? What about drink? From tea to low calorie flavored water, choose drinks that help you balance your pH level.

See the new alkaline beverages list for popular drinks and more nutrients. Also, check out the complete Alkaline Alcoholic Drinks List.

Finfish and Shellfish Products
Is fish food bad Some think it’s only shellfish. In fact there is no bad food, just imbalanced diet. Balance your diet and you can eat any fish from clams to cod.
Legumes and Legume Products
Looking for food to avoid? Be careful, you could end up eating nothing (and that is unhealthy). Balance your diet properly and you can eat anything. Find legumes for pH balance.
Lamb, Veal, and Game Products
Do you think lamb, veal and game are foods to avoid? Think again. Choose wisely. Balance well. You can enjoy any food if you plan your diet properly.
Baked Products
There are no bad foods, just foods eaten badly. Baked products can be good or bad for your health depending on how you balance them with other foods.
Sweets
Food that helps improve your diet is all around us. If you plan meals properly you can eat almost anything you like. Why not celebrate with a delicious sweet. You’ve earned that pudding.
Cereal Grains and Pasta
Searching for food to avoid? Any food eaten badly can cause health problems, but food eaten well always helps you. Plan to balance your diet and you can eat anything from cereal to pasta.

Also see the Alkaline Pasta List.

Fast Foods
Food and health go together. Don’t give up food – starvation causes ill health through malnutrition. Instead, look for balanced meals. Even fast foods are OK if you know how to balance pH.
Meals, Entrees, and Sidedishes
Good food is all around us. You simply choose the right selection for pH balance and watch your health improve. Even ready meals can help you if you make the right choices.
Snacks
When compiling your food diary, don’t forget about snacks. Regular frequent meals avoid starvation and overeating that helps keep you healthy. Balance your snacks from chips to pork skins.
Ethnic Foods
Wondering what food to avoid? Any food is bad if it’s not eaten as part of a balanced diet. Plan your meals properly, and you can eat anything, including ethnic foods from agave to whalemeat.

Your Alkaline Food Charts

Alkaline food charts should help you plan a diet that keeps you healthy while including your favorite foods. So, it is important that you understand the principles of alkaline diets. Because many dieters get too obsessed with alkaline foods without considering the need for acid-alkaline balance.

Remember that you can ask about alkaline foods any time you need more help. Or use that link to share your experiences and opinions about alkaline food charts.



Alkaline Food Charts Document Change History

Alkaline Food Charts Intro Doc Change HistoryTo read the document change history, click the Foodary History image on the right.

Do you have suggestions for improving Acid Alkaline Food Chart Intro? Then, please add your idea to Foodary Suggestion Box. Or, send the Feedback Form, below.

13 thoughts on “Alkaline Food Charts: Your Introduction to PRAL

    • Sorry Susan,

      I have not found the time to transfer them from my health website to this nutrition site.

      I will get them done as soon as I can, in the meantime, you can follow the above link for the full list.

      • The charts are now transferred, except for the ethnic foods table. This got deleted from the old site before I finished transferring, due to lack of interest.

        If you want it back, please ask by way of a comment here, explaining why it is important, and I will see if I can retrieve it.

  1. Grateful for your work in making these charts available.

    I ran into two small problems. I was trying to find a value for vinegar and thought it would be under gravies and sauces, thinking it might relate to sauces. Later stumbled upon it under herbs and spices. Problem solved.

    Then second problem. Since I’m trying to calculate recipes enough to adequately offset acid ingredients like meat, I need quantities in a recipe-friendly form. It could well be I just missed it, but didn’t see anything to tie vinegar to tablespoons.

    Found your site after being made aware of the whole acid/alkaline problem by the book Building Bond Vitality by Lanou and Castleman. You might want to mention the book on your site. Now that I understand more about acid/alkaline and other bone-building issues I didn’t know about in time, I realize that osteoporosis is not a disease. It is a form of starvation, like scurvy, beri-beri, or goiter. And gout?

    Thanks,
    Donn Cole

    • Thank you for your comments.
      I’m sorry things are so slow round here, and I will try to find more time to get the acid-alkaline food charts finished, then I can get started on the more interesting part of this project – the food diary.

      That will have features that allow finding food items easier, as well as easy ways to assess recipes and different serving sizes. For the moment, there is an excellent search facility in the bar at the top of each page, which makes finding vinegar, or any other diet item, very easy.

  2. I just want to thank you. I don’t have gout but I’ve been housebound – often bedbound – with auto-immune problems that MDs don’t know how to treat. Several years ago I read about the damage that low pH can cause. At the time my pH was 4.5-5. Using the misleading (often lying) charts found online, it took me several YEARS to get my pH up to 6. Using YOUR charts, I’ve been able to increase my pH from 6 to a healthy 7-7.5 in just a few DAYS! (Can anyone say Parsley Soup?) I am now ready to eat a more balanced diet and I feel much, much better. Thank you so much for your diligent work. (I’ve seen several USDA databases… It takes a lot of work to reorganize them into something useful and publishable.) I know you’ve already helped to save lots of lives, so thanks again and God bless.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Christina. You have given me fresh impetus to finish moving the acid-alkaline food charts here, and then moving on to the more serious job of making them easier to use. Also, there are other health aspects of nutrition that I want to cover, such as excess iron.

      I am really pleased the charts have helped you. Parsley soup sounds interesting. Do you have a recipe?

  3. I was wondering how the – alkaline works. I’m trying to decide which breakfast cereal is better alkaline, a -3 or a -30? Which one should I be eating if I have gout? I tried to find this info on the site but could not figure it out. Thank you

    • I’m sorry that the information is not clear. I am trying to improve it, but time is a problem.

      Though the process is simple, it is very long-winded, as you have to add up the values of everything you eat and drink everyday. This is why I want to automate the food diary to save you time. It may be a few months before I can make this happen.

      You need to look at your entire diet not just one item. Even then, the food charts are only a guide, and you have to confirm the changes within your own body by testing the pH of your urine. This can give fantastic benefits as Christina noted above.

      The process is only slightly related to gout, which is why I moved these food charts to this website.

      At this stage, you would be best reading all my diet for gout information, then asking any questions in the gout forum related to that site.

  4. hi,can you please clarify why every value has minus sign,is -3 more acidic than -13 or is this reverse,plz clear its quiet confusing for layman.if you can reply to my email it would be very appreciable,very thanks for your great work.

    • Sorry for the delay, Daisy. The truth is, this website needs a lot of work to make it clearer.

      Minus values only appear on foods that have an alkalizing effect, so -3 is less alkalizing than -13. “Acidic” does not get considered for foods with a minus value.

      I would also avoid it for plus value foods. They are acid-producing, which has a different meaning.

      The essence of alkalizing diets needs to be considered in the context of a typical Western diet. These diets, mainly because of the high protein content, acidify the body. The tables are only a guide to help choose better options once you have analyzed your entire diet. The true test comes when you measure the pH of your urine.

      Your diet must comprise a healthy mix of acid-producing and alkali-producing foods, with an overall alkaline (i.e. minus) balance.

    • I can think of no good reason why raw tomatoes should be considered acid in the context of these PRAL charts. There are, of course, other contexts besides an alkalizing diet. If you’d care to add a bit more background as to why you are asking your question, Adrien, I’ll try to give a more enlightened answer.

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