When you hear the term Alkaline Meal Plan For Beginners, many things might come to mind. Alkaline and acid are often used in healthcare settings for extreme cases of illness and disease. The best thing about this type of eating plan is that it’ll also help you achieve optimal health, which is why it’s great for anyone looking to lead a better lifestyle.
What can you eat on the alkaline diet? Top alkaline foods and 7 day meal plan
The alkaline diet is perfect for losing weight and to help you stay awake but it can also reduce aches and pains.
Increasing the amount of alkaline food in your diet, while reducing acidic options, could lead to a healthier body.
An alkaline diet works on the basis eating acidic food has a negative effect on your digestion, increasing bloating and generally making you feel lethargic because the kidneys are working overtime to break down the acids in food.
The aim of the diet is to balance out the pH level(opens in new tab) of the fluids in your body at between 7.35 and 7.45 because that’s when your body functions best. The diet suggests you eat 80 per cent non-acidic foods and then meat on top, making up the additional 20 per cent of your meal
Nutritionist Nishtha Patel says: “An alkaline diet is one that is intended to balance the pH levels in the blood and urine. It is mainly plant based and includes whole foods. The aim is to make sure that you are taking enough alkalising whole foods rather than worrying about taking excess acidic foods.”
Just like clean eating, the alkaline diet avoids processed foods and encourages followers to reduce their meat intake and increase the amount of vegetables they consume.
However, the eating plan – also known as the alkaline ash diet – has been criticised by some for omitting certain acidic foods which are good for you.
Nishtha says it is important to include both.“We need both to be balanced,” she explains. “For example meat and fish or other protein sources like nuts are acidic, but essential to the diet too. Therefore rather than being totally eliminated, it is advisable to include small portions of these foods into a daily diet too.”
Others believe that this is more because it encourages healthy eating, through low calorie fruits(opens in new tab) and vegetables, rather than anything to do with their alkaline levels.
What is an alkaline diet?
An alkaline diet involves eating lots of highly alkaline food, such as fresh fruit and vegetables and whole foods. It also advises avoiding too many acidic foods, which can cause inflammation and disease.
The human body needs a delicate acid/alkaline balance in order to stay healthy. This number should be around 7.4 (on a scale of 0-14). Followers of the alkaline diet believe that nowadays our diets are too acidic, which can cause various diseases and lead to weight gain.
Naturopath Louise Westra(opens in new tab) explains: “The pH scale measures how acidic or basic something is, on a scale of 0-14. Something that is alkaline is on the basic end of the scale, or greater than 7. This school of thought believes changing the body’s pH level to be less acidic, and thus more alkaline, can improve your health and prevent certain diseases.”
There is some evidence(opens in new tab) to suggest that there may be some value in considering an alkaline diet in reducing morbidity and mortality from chronic diseases.
Plus, while more research is needed, other studies(opens in new tab) show that following an alkaline diet could be beneficial for people at risk of developing kidney stones. There are also suggestions that it can have a positive impact on muscle mass, bone health and cardiovascular risk.
However, it is not clear whether these findings are to do with changing pH levels in the body’s blood and urine, or rather because followers are eating a generally healthier diet, by increasing their intake of fruit and vegetables and lowering their consumption of processed foods and high-fat produce.
Critics of the alkaline diet also argue that there is not enough evidence to support these claims. For example, this research(opens in new tab) found that promotion of the alkaline diet to prevent calcium loss is not justified. Also, while some research(opens in new tab) suggests that following an alkaline diet might improve health in people with kidney disease, it found that it does not achieve this by changing blood pH.
Louise also warns that changes to alkaline levels in healthy people are usually minimal. She says: “It’s critical for our health that the pH of our blood remains constant. If it fell outside of the normal range, our cells would stop working and we would die very quickly if untreated. As such our body has many effective ways to closely regulate its pH balance. This is known as acid-base homeostasis. It is nearly impossible for food to change the pH value of blood in healthy people, although tiny fluctuations can occur within the normal range.”
As a result, it is important not to remove all acidic foods from your diet and to include some in each meal.
Nishtha, who runs The Gut Expert(opens in new tab), says: “Most experts believe that we should be aiming for a 7:3 ratio of alkaline to acidic foods.”
What can you eat on the alkaline diet?
The following foods are high or moderate in alkaline, so can be included freely in an alkaline diet:
- Fruit – Raspberries, strawberries, cherries, cranberries, blackcurrants, apples, avocados, figs, etc
- Vegetables – Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, celery, peppers, green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, etc
- Beans – Butter beans, soy beans, white haricot beans
- Nuts – Cashews, almonds, chestnuts
- Herbs – Coriander, parsley, dill, basil
- Seaweed – Spirulina, chlorella
- Grains – Quinoa, buckwheat, spelt
- Bone broth
- Chia seeds
- Avocado oil and coconut oil
When following an alkaline diet, it is advised to buy organic produce whenever possible.
Nishtha explains: “This is mainly the reason that it is healthy, it takes you back to basics. You eat a whole food diet, packed with fruits and vegetables, raw and cooked. This in turn helps curb cravings and increases your vitamins, minerals and phytonutrient status.”
What can you not eat on the alkaline diet?
While no foods should be completely removed from your diet, it is worth reducing the following acidic foods:
- Meat – Beef, pork, lamb, veal, etc (as well as processed meat such as ham, sausages, salami, corned beef, etc)
- Diary – Pasteurised milk, cheese (especially hard cheeses), yoghurt, etc
- Eggs (the yolk in particular)
- Grains – Rice, pasta, rolled oats, cereals, rye bread, whole wheat bread, etc
- Sugar – Ice cream, sweets, chocolate, fizzy drinks, etc
However, a small amount of natural fats such as olive oil, cream, butter and milk and protein, like chicken and fish should still be included in your diet.
Top 20 alkaline foods
While lots of different food is alkaline, these are 20 of the top alkaline foods:
- Swiss chard
- Green beans
How can I make my body alkaline quickly?
The human body is constantly trying to regulate its pH balance and it is therefore difficult to make your body alkaline quickly. However, by increasing your intake of alkaline foods and reducing your level of acidic foods, you may be able to change it slightly.
Nishtha also recommends reducing caffeine and replacing it with organic teas such as rooibos, ginger, lemongrass or nettle. Plus she suggests sticking to a schedule of eating meals at the same each day. However, she says: “Bear in mind that the body is very clever and it is regulating the pH balance consistently. So it is actually quite difficult to change it with just food, at least in your blood. Your urine will vary depending on what you have ingested.”
Louise agrees: “The idea that you can make your body more alkaline is currently contentious given what we know about the need to keep pH stable within such a narrow range.
“However, the recommendations to follow are to ease up on your consumption of at least some of the highly acid forming foods in your diet and to find ways to replace some of those acid forming foods with loads of veggies and fruits, which you should be eating in every meal.”
7 Day Alkaline Diet Meal Plan [PDF, Menu & Alternatives]
The alkaline diet is a popular diet that has been used by celebrities like Victoria Beckham and Jennifer Aniston.
The diet is based on an idea that certain foods are more acidic and replacing them with ‘alkaline’ foods is better for health and to lose weight. Some of its staunchest supporters say it can even help fight diseases such as cancer.
Although it does promote some healthy eating habits, the diet is generally not based on sound scientific principles.
This article will cover the theory behind the alkaline diet, what foods are included and offer sample 7 day meal plans to follow.
What is the Alkaline Diet?
Also known as the acid-alkaline diet or alkaline ash diet, the alkaline diet is based on a theory that particular foods cause your body to produce acid, which is bad for you.
The diet is based on the premise that the pH (a measure of acidity and alkalinity) within your body can be changed depending on what you eat.
By choosing more alkaline foods included within the diet, you can ‘alkalize’ your body, thus improving health.
- 0 – 7 is acidic (0 being the most acidic)
- 7 is neutral
- 7 – 14 is alkaline (14 being the most alkaline)
It was originally developed to be used in the prevention of kidney stone and urine infections, since changes in pH of urine can change depending on what you eat.
However, this doesn’t mean the pH within the rest of your body will change, as pH within the blood is regulated by the kidneys and not affected by the foods you eat.
Therefore, there isn’t any credible evidence for this theory.
Foods Included Within the Alkaline Diet?
If you’re following the diet, then generally you’ll want eat more of the alkaline foods and less of the neutral and acidic ones below
Generally the foods higher in acidity contain more protein, phosphate and sulfur, whereas alkaline foods tend to contain more potassium, magnesium and calcium.
- Meat – particularly processed meats like corned beef
- Dairy – particularly Parmesan cheese, cheddar and hard cheeses)
- Eggs – egg whites are closer to neutral
- Grains – particularly brown rice and rolled oats
- Natural fats and oils – such as butter and olive oil
- Unsweetened fruit juices
- Vegetables – particularly spinach, celery and eggplant
- Nuts – such as almonds and walnuts
- Soy foods
Problems with the Alkaline Diet
The diet itself on the whole has some parts that are indeed healthy, despite the lack of evidence on it’s theories around changing your body pH.
This is because it encourages people to eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, which have all been shown to improve a variety of health markers.
However, there are certain aspects which aren’t healthy long-term
Lack of Protein
Because meat, dairy, fish, poultry and eggs are discouraged, the only high-protein foods are plant-based foods like beans, legumes and dairy. Foods like nuts, seeds and whole grains do have some protein, but it tends to be in smaller quantities.
Protein is important within the body for building and repairing your tissues and maintaining muscle mass .
Even in the context of weight loss, high protein foods have been shown to help to increase feelings of fullness, meaning you naturally eat fewer calories and lose weight over time
In terms of the foods that are discouraged:
- Poultry such as chicken is rich in a variety of important nutrients, including protein, niacin, selenium, and phosphorus.
- Dairy like milk and cheese is generally considered one of the best source of calcium and can help improves bone density and reduce risk of fracturers, particularly in older people
- Eggs contains high-quality protein, good fats and various other lesser-known nutrients such as Vitamin A, B2, B5 and B12.
- Fish contains lots of important nutrients such as protein and vitamin D. Fatty fish aslo contains lots of omega-3 fatty acids that many people don’t get enough of.
- Red meat such as beef and pork is one type of food that you shouldn’t overconsume. Even though they are highly nutritious, they are also higher in saturated fats. These type of fats are considered unhealthy fats when compared to unsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts and seeds.
In reality, these foods don’t need to be eliminated entirely from your diet and can be eaten as part of a balanced diet.
Restrictions on Whole Grains
Whole grains are often thought of as a ‘bad’ food because they contain lots of carbs.
However, they contain lots of fiber, vitamin B minerals, manganese, magnesium, iron, zinc and good amounts of protein.
Many studies find eating them is associated with many benefits like lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
One large review of 45 studies found a link that eating three servings of whole grains daily to a 20% lower risk of heart disease and stroke
Even for weight loss, one study that spanned almost 120,00 people found 3 servings of daily whole grains daily was linked to less belly fat
Examples of whole grains include:
- Whole grain bread
- Brown rice
Neutral on Olive Oil
Olive oil is known to be very healthy, particularly extra virign olive oil. This is because it contains lots of healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants.
Many studies find it can help across a range of health markers. These include:
- Lowering inflammation
- Favourable effects on body weight
- Reduced risk of stroke an heart disease
Limited Fatty Fish
Fatty fish is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, which many people don’t get enough of.
They are especially important in heart and brain health health, but they can also reduce the risk of health condititions such as heart attacks and strokes
One large study of 40,000+ people found people who ate one or more servings of fish a week lowered their risk of heart disease by 15%
Even in relation to weight loss, studies find fatty fish can help lower body fat and encourage weight loss
Fatty fish include:
The issue with diets that are overly restrictive is that they are difficult to follow over the long-term.
This means once you finish the diet, you revert back to old eating habits and lose any benefit that following the diet had. Some studies find that dieters often end up heavier than before they started their diet
Therefore, if you want to lose weight or get healthier, a better alternative is to find a diet or sustainable way of eating that you can maintain indefinitely.
What Is the Alkaline Diet? Review, Research, Food List, and More
The alkaline diet, also called the alkaline-ash diet or alkaline-acid diet, was made popular by its celebrity followers. Big names like Victoria Beckham, Kate Hudson, and Tom Brady have said that they’ve tried the diet with positive results.
In 2013, Victoria Beckham tweeted that the alkaline cookbook Honestly Healthy: Eat With Your Body in Mind, the Alkaline Way, written by vegetarian chef Natasha Corrett and nutritionist Vicki Edgson, was her favorite. Since then, the alkaline diet has become much more common.
But celebrity diets don’t necessarily work for everyone or yield long-term results. Not to mention, there’s a lack of research behind the main principles of the alkaline diet — and for some people, the approach may come with health risks.
So, is it healthy or not? This guide will help you decide whether trying the alkaline diet is right for you.
What Is the Alkaline Diet, Exactly?
The premise of the alkaline diet is that the foods we eat affect our blood’s pH balance. You may recall from chemistry class that pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline something is. It ranges from 0 to 14.
- 0 is extremely acidic
- 7 is neutral
- 14 is very alkaline
Proponents of the alkaline diet believe that diets high in certain foods, such as meat and grains, and low in others, such as potassium-rich vegetables and fruits, can cause imbalances in blood pH that lead to a variety of health problems. This is known as the acid-ash hypothesis, which is why the alkaline diet is sometimes known as the acid-ash diet.
It is important to note, however, that this premise is simply a hypothesis, which means it is unproven. There is no research to support these claims, and in fact one review found that “the human body has an amazing ability to maintain a steady pH in the blood,” regardless of diet.
While the pH of food likely does not matter, the alkaline diet does encourage fairly healthy eating patterns, including emphasizing unprocessed and plant-based foods and limiting red meat and refined grains. One study found that following the alkaline diet would increase several micronutrients, such as potassium and magnesium, which could help lower the risk of hypertension and stroke and improve cardiovascular health, bone health, and cognition. For those reasons, U.S. News & World Report ranked the alkaline diet No. 31 in its Best Heart-Healthy Diets and tied for No. 35 in Best Diabetes Diets.
How Does the Alkaline Diet Work?
The alkaline or acid-ash diet classifies foods according to how much acid they produce when digested. That amount isn’t necessarily the same as the acidity level of foods in their raw state. Acid-forming foods produce a pH lower than 7, while alkaline foods result in a pH level greater than 7, research has found. Any foods that are around 7 are considered neutral. With that in mind, the diet recommends:
- Avoiding acid-forming foods, such as meat, dairy, fish, eggs, grains, and alcohol
- Consuming plenty of alkaline-forming foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes
- Limiting neutral foods, such as starches, sugars, and natural fats
Again, there is no research to indicate that the pH of food has any impact on overall health, whereas there is plenty of evidence that shows it simply is not possible to change the body’s pH through diet. In fact, pH levels vary based on the regions of the body; for example, the stomach is highly acidic, and it needs to be to perform its job.
The kidneys and lungs are largely responsible for maintaining a balanced pH within the body, and the various levels are very tightly regulated. Blood pH ranges from 7.2 to 7.45, says Jennifer Fitzgibbon, RDN, a registered oncology dietitian at Stony Brook University Cancer Center in New York. The kidneys also help balance pH levels in urine, according to UC San Diego Health. A urine pH of 4 is considered strongly acidic, while 7 is neutral and 9 is strongly alkaline, notes Michigan Medicine.
A style of eating can’t change your body’s pH. You may notice a difference in your urine pH, which can be measured with a simple dipstick test (also called a urine test strip), but that won’t tell you your overall levels because urine pH doesn’t reflect your body’s pH, according to MedlinePlus. That’s because excess acid might be excreted through the urine in order to balance the body’s pH levels, notes the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).
If your body’s pH changes, it’s because of a serious health issue. Urine with a high pH could indicate a urinary tract infection or kidney stones, while a low pH could signify diarrhea, starvation, or diabetic ketoacidosis, per Michigan Medicine.
What Are the Potential Health Benefits of an Alkaline Diet?
Followers and authors of the many guides and recipe books about the alkaline diet say it can treat diseases and chronic conditions, including cancer and kidney disease.
From a scientific perspective, these claims aren’t realistic, says Adrienne Youdim, MD, an associate professor of medicine at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine in Los Angeles. But, she says, the foods listed as alkaline tend to be healthy, and when you look at eating approaches like the widely studied and beneficial Mediterranean diet, you can reasonably say that the focus on these foods is a healthy approach.
Despite the alkaline diet having been widely studied, there aren’t any definitive studies suggesting that this approach can have an effect on cancer — one of the biggest draws of the diet. Fitzgibbon says that the cancer treatment theory is based on the claim that cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment. And while that is true in a lab setting, it’s nearly impossible to alter cells in a way that creates a less acidic environment the body, she says. Here is what research has found about the alkaline diet and several chronic health conditions:
Bone Health There are claims that the alkaline diet can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The theory is referred to as the “acid-ash hypothesis of osteoporosis,” which states that eating an acid-rich diet, such as the Western diet, can erode the bones and lead to osteoporosis by increasing calcium in urine and reducing calcium in the body. But the theory doesn’t hold up. Past research published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism noted that it seems like acid-producing diets plus low calcium intake could lead to bone issues, but if calcium levels are high, eating an acidic diet might even be protective. Another prior review and meta-analysis concluded that there is no evidence that an acidic diet can lead to bone disease, and there is no evidence that it can protect bones either.
Cancer Prevention There was a preliminary study published in 2019 in the International Journal of Cancerthat found alkaline diets may have a protective benefit against hormone receptor negative–breast cancer, but most of the research has been inconclusive. Most results, however, do point to one dietary measure that may reduce breast cancer risk: eating less meat and more fruits and veggies, researchers reported.
The AICR does not support claims about cancer and the alkaline diet, saying that the acidity and alkalinity of foods aren’t important when it comes to human body chemistry. Instead, the AICR says that eating a largely plant-based diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (without worrying about alkalinity) is a healthy approach that can help lower your risk of cancer and chronic diseases. So, the alkaline diet might be a good approach for people fighting cancer, but not for the reasons given by fans of it, according to a study published in 2018 in Oncology.
Chronic Kidney Disease People with chronic kidney disease may also benefit from focusing on alkaline foods, because too much protein is hard on the kidneys. In an article published in 2017 in the Journal of Renal Nutrition, the author argued that by reducing acid load to the kidneys through a low-protein diet with an emphasis on plant proteins, you may be able to slow kidney disease progression and improve kidney function. Research published in 2018 in the Iranian Journal of Kidney Diseases noted that an alkaline diet slows down the rate at which the kidneys’ blood-filtering systems decline.
Heart Health An earlier review published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health found that eating more alkaline foods, such as fruits and veggies, may help reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke.