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Acid/Alkaline Balance

The Textbook of Medical Physiology by Arthur C. Guyton, M.D., probably the most recognized authority on human physiology states: 

"...the regulation of hydrogen ion concentration (pH or acid/alkaline balance) is one of the most important aspects of homeostasis." (Homostasis is where the components involved seek an equilibrium.)


ph = measure of how acid or how alkaline a substance is.
ph scale = scale of measurement for acidity and alkalinity.

acid neutral alkaline
1 7 14

All chemical processes have an ideal pH at which they are most efficient. For example the body functions best with an internal chemistry being slightly alkaline (pH of 7.0 to 8.0). The pH of the blood is even more specific:

Blood ph 7.4 = Normal 7.2 = Death

Our internal body chemistry functions in an alkaline environment. Our blood must maintain a pH of 7.4. If it drops below that to 7.2 we die.

The cells of the body in health are alkaline. In disease the cell pH is below 7.0. The more acid the cells become, the sicker we are and feel. The cells won't die until their pH gets to about 3.5. Our bodies produce acid as a by-product of normal metabolism. This is the result of our bodies burning or using alkaline to remain alive. Since our bodies do not manufacture alkaline, we must supply the alkaline from an outside source to keep us from becoming acid and dying.

Food is the means of replenishing the alkaline to the body. The main determining factor of alkaline is the organic minerals. One can equate organic minerals with alkaline for better understanding. Foods are of two types, acid or alkaline. This refers to the ash value of a food. (Meaning the type of residue that remains after the food is digested and processed). Is it acid, or is it alkaline? If there is an acid residue (inorganic acids), the body must neutralize this acid to keep the blood from getting acid. The acid is neutralized with alkaline.

Ideally there is adequate alkaline in the diet to do this. However, if there is not, the body must extract alkaline from its cells to neutralize the acid. This, of course, causes the cells to become acid, and thus diseased. Because our bodies are an alkaline entity, in order to maintain health, the majority of our diet must consist of alkaline ash foods.

We can remain in health by consuming a diet that is 70 to 80 percent alkaline and 20 to 30 percent acid. The more alkaline the better. 

If we become too alkaline by eating a majority of alkaline foods, we will lose our appetite and automatically want to fast, during which time the normal acid metabolic by-products will return the body's pH back to normal. 

It's interesting to note that some foods which qualify as a real food have an acid ash reaction. This is probably nature's way of keeping a balance so that the real food consumer does not become too alkaline. Also note that the acid content of these acid ash real foods is very low and they still contain valuable nutrients which can be utilized by the body.

Below is a chart of the acid and alkaline foods.

Acid/Alkaline Balance

The breakdown of foods into acid ash and alkaline ash categories would generally be as follows:

NOTE: Foods in the Acid Ash column are listed in order of least acid to most acid; in the alkaline ash column, foods are listed in order from most alkaline to least alkaline.

  • Some Raw Fruits and Vegetables
    (cranberries, blueberries, plums, prunes, squash)
  • Whole Grains - Cooked
  • Overcooked Fruits and Veggies
  • Dairy Products
    (cheese, eggs, milk, etc)
  • Sugar and Refined Grains
  • White Meat
    (fish, fowl)
    Raw, Rare, Well Done
  • Red Meats
    (beef, pork, mutton)
    Raw, Rare, Well Done
  • Herbs, Spices, Condiments, Spicy Foods
    (garlic, hot peppers, onions, horseradish, etc.)
  • Fried Food, Coffee, Tea, Salt, Alcohol
  • Drugs and Medications, Tobacco

  • Raw Fruits
  • Dried Fruits
  • Frozen Fruits and Veggies
  • Lightly Steamed Fruits and Veggies
  • Raw Nuts
    (almonds, pecans, cashews, etc.)
  • Sprouted Grains
The average American diet consists of: 20 to 30 percent alkaline foods, and the diet should consist of at least: 70 to 80 percent Alkaline Foods and 20 to 30 percent Acid Foods.

It is not unusual for the average American to go 7 to 14 days without eating any alkaline foods.