Acidity in food plays a vital role in your overall health as well as the food's flavor. To understand what acidity is, one must understand the concept of pH. pH stands for the power of Hydrogen or the pH balance. All chemicals or solutions rely on the pH scale to determine it's acidity, neutrality, or it's basicness. When it comes to the foods that we eat, there are two main determining factors once food reaches our kidneys-whether they are converted into ammonium or bicarbonate. Foods that are ammonium-based are more acidic and foods that are bicarbonate-based are more basic. Your body's ideal pH is about 7.5, which is slightly more alkaline. However, your stomach must maintain an acidity of about 3.5 in order to help foods break down properly. Foods that are more acidic may cause certain conditions, such as skin rashes and acid reflux, whereas a diet that is too basic may lead to yeast growth (candida) or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). However, a balanced diet is needed in order to keep your body properly functioning. Here are some of the best high and low acid food you can eat for your health.

High Acid Foods

Sweets

Colorful frosted donuts

Too much sugar can cause acidity in your urine and also lead to kidney stones as a result of its high acidity. For this reason, they should also be limited when eating a well-balanced diet that is full of nutrients. Other types of sweets to avoid are

  • Sodas
  • Candy
  • Cake
  • Soda

Processed Food

A plate of french fries

Processed foods such as cold cuts, soda, junk food, and frozen dinners typically contain refined oils, excess fat, salt and sugars that are difficult for the body to process and are overall bad for your health. Processed also contain artificial ingredients that are also high in acidity, so try eating this type of food in very low doses.

Alcohol

A glass of beer

According to research, more than 60 million Americans display signs of acid reflux at least once per month. Though alcohol doesn't affect everyone, it can worsen symptoms, especially for those who have GERD, in which stomach acid goes back up the esophagus. Left untreated, this can lead to erosion and other conditions such as esophageal cancer. Try limiting your alcohol intake to just one glass or avoid drinking two to three hours before bed.

Eggs

Two whole eggs

Though eggs contain plenty of health benefits, they can also be acid-forming for those who are already prone to symptoms such as heartburn and acid reflux due to their high fat and protein content. Try limiting your egg intake or try substituting them for tofu, which can lend a similar flavor but without the acidity.

Pasta

A bowl of bowtie pasta

Pasta in itself isn't very acidic and is rather bland without added sauces and spices. However, when you pile on ingredients such as marinara, fats and other added flavorings, this can induce acid reflux. Instead of adding things that can trigger a highly acidic meal, try cooking your pasta in chicken stock instead, which can add delicious taste without the discomfort. If you wish, you may also try spray-on butter to bring out pasta's taste.

Low Acid Food

Oatmeal

A bowl of oatmeal

Many of us are aware that oatmeal makes a delicious start to your day but it also a high-fiber, low-fat way to maintain your weight and reduce glucose levels, which is why it is one of the best low-acid staples to keep in stock. Unlike many kinds of cereal which contain added sugar, oatmeal can be eaten by itself or added with any of your favorite toppings for added richness. However, be careful of adding fruit that is high in acids, such as blueberries or pineapples, but feel free to add on those that will help keep your satisfied without the worry.

Nuts

A pile of almonds

If you are crazy about nuts, you can rejoice as they are full of healthful benefits not only for your heart, but for your brain since they are rich in fatty acids and antioxidants. Nuts, such as almonds can also be used in a variety of ways to make meals more flavorful, such as a topping for yogurt, a low-carb alternative to pie crust as well as stir-fry creations. Nuts are also high in healthy fats, which can help you manage your weight as well as keep you more satisfied.

Vegetables

Vegetables in a pan

Most vegetables are alkaline and cause no discomfort for those who are prone to acid reflux, and these include tomatoes, cabbage, bell peppers, cauliflower and even pumpkin. However, some vegetables are higher in acid, come in the canned variety, and can be especially harmful with added salt. Frozen is a better option since they tend to be placed in the freezer at the peak of freshness. Or you may opt for fresh vegetables, which in many cases, can be eaten raw, or cooking in a variety of ways.

Fruit

A bowl of mixed fruit

Although many fruits such as blueberries, grapefruit, and grapes can be high in acid, many fruits are perfectly safe to eat if you have a sensitive tummy. On the flip side, some fruit that you may consider acidic, such as guava and bananas actually learn towards being more alkaline even though all fruits are someone acidic on some level. If you are prone to gastric discomfort due to acid, try staying away from citrus fruit, which can stir up uncomfortable symptoms. Instead, limit your intake of acid-forming fruit or try eating more soothing fruit such as cantaloupe or coconut.

Chicken

Grilled chicken

If you are seeking a low-acid, versatile staple that is high in protein, chicken is your friend. Not only is it extremely versatile, but it is a lean protein that adds additional flavor to your meals without being too hard on your gut. Chicken can be marinated to perfection, then baked for a quick dinner and is a healthier alternative to frying, which can increase fat content due to using lots of oil. Try a fresh cranberry walnut salad or make a chicken salad to add to sandwiches, atop your favorite leafy greens or alone for a daily protein fix.

There are many high and low acid options that are nutritious. However, if you have food sensitivities, paying attention to the foods that you eat will not only create a happier gut, it will help you to feel your best. Try adding a low-acid diet if you are feeling some discomfort and tweak accordingly for the best results.

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