The Alkaline Diet From Cathy Wong, N.D., Essentially, the alkaline diet is opposite the high protein, high fat, low carb diets that are currently in vogue. Most people have never heard of alkaline-acid balance, but many holistic doctors and nutritionists consider a properly balanced diet to be important to optimal health and preventing diseases such as cancer. The theory behind an alkaline diet is that because our body's pH level is slightly alkaline, with a normal range of 7.36 to 7.44, our diet should reflect this and also be slightly alkaline. An imbalanced diet high in acidic foods such as animal protein, sugar, caffeine, and processed foods tends to disrupt this balance. It can deplete the body of alkaline minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, making people prone to chronic and degenerative disease. Thorough scientific studies are lacking on the alkaline diet. Many conventional doctors do not believe in the alkaline diet. Who is this diet for? This diet is for people who feel unwell on a high fat, low carb diet. It is also for people lead stressful lives and who consume large amounts of acidifying foods such as protein, sugar, processed food, cereals, starches, and caffeine, with little alkalinizing vegetables. What are the symptoms of excess acidity? Low energy, chronic fatigue Excess mucous production Nasal congestion Frequent colds, flus, and infections Nervous, stressed, irritable, anxious, agitated Weak nails, dry hair, dry skin Formation of cysts, such as ovarian cysts, polycystic ovaries, benign breast cysts (fibrocystic breasts) Headaches Joint pain or arthritis Neuritis Muscle pain Feel better after a detox diet Hives Leg cramps and spasms Gastritis, acid indigestion Medical doctors try to test the acidity or alkalinity of the body tissues and cells by analyzing the blood. Pioneers Carey Reams, Harold Hawkins, or Emanuel Revici developed methods to measure urine pH and other factors such as saliva pH. Modern proponents of the alkaline diet look at the pH of blood, saliva, and urine, in addition to health symptoms and other factors. What are the guidelines of this diet? An alkaline diet is composed of approximately 75-80% alkaline foods and 20-25% acid foods. Alkaline Foods Higher alkaline are better Vegetables -- High alkaline: wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa spouts, broccoli sprouts, other types of sprouts, cucumber, kale, parsley, sea vegetables. Moderate alkaline: avocado, arugula, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, celery, collard, endive, garlic, ginger, green beans, lettuce, mustard greens, okra, onion, spinach, tomato. Slightly alkaline: artichoke, asparagus, brussels sprouts, carrot, cauliflower, kohlrabi, leeks, peas, rhubarb, rutabaga, turnip, watercress, zucchini Fruit -- Slightly alkaline: coconut, grapefruit, lemon, lime Beans and legumes -- Moderate alkaline: lima beans, soy beans, white beans. Slightly alkaline: Lentils, tofu. Nuts, seeds, oils -- High alkaline: pumkin seeds. Slightly alkaline: almond, borage oil, coconut oil, cod liver oil, evening primrose oil, fish oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil, sesame seeds. Grains -- buckwheat, quinoa, spelt Condiments -- Moderate alkaline: cayenne, red chili pepper, sea salt, stevia. Most herbs and spices are somewhat alkaline. Dairy -- Slightly alkaline: goat milk Acidifying Foods Lower acid are better. Most acidic are worst Dairy and Dairy Substitutes -- Slightly acid: cow's milk, rice milk, soymilk. Most acid: cheese (including cottage cheese, hard cheese, aged cheese, and goat cheese), ice cream, soy cheese, whey protein powder. Animal meat -- Moderate acid: wild fish. Most acid: beef, chicken, duck, eggs, farmed fish, gelatin, lobster, organ meat, pheasant, pork, poultry, seafood, squid, turkey, veal, venison. Grains -- Slightly acid: amaranth, millet. Moderate acid: oats, rice (brown rice, white rice), rye, wheat. Most acid: barley, corn, rye. Beans and legumes -- Slightly acid: black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans. Vegetables -- Most acidic: mushrooms, potatoes. Fruit -- Slightly acid: cantaloupe, dates (not dried), nectarines. Moderate acid: apple, apricot, banana, all berries, figs (fresh), grape, honeydew, mango, orange, papaya, peach, persimmon, pineapple, tangerine, watermelon. Most acid: dried fruit. Nuts, Seeds, and Oils -- Slightly acid: brazil nuts, flaxseeds, hazelnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil. Moderate acid: butter, ghee, corn oil, margarine, walnuts. Most acid: cashews, peanuts, pistachios. Condiments -- Moderate acid: ketchup, mayonnaise, table salt. Most acid: jam, mustard, soy sauce, vinegar, white sugar, aspartame, molasses, sugar cane, barley malt syrup, honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, yeast.