By Rehan Iqbal
While medical science is still undecided on all the benefits of an alkaline diet, there are many who swear by the wellness and positive results that they have experienced after trying this controversial diet. The alkaline, or ash diet is as much about what we eat as what we drink.
A lot has been written about alkaline foods, but the drinks have not received as much attention. To help you fully master the alkaline diet, I’ve compiled a list of alkaline drinks, as well as neutral or mildly acidic drinks, and the acidic drinks that you should avoid.
Many fruit juices are alkaline, as well as certain teas. Dairy alternatives, like almond and soy milk are also healthy neutral to high-PH drinks. For more information about alkaline drinks, keep reading. I’ll be providing the full lowdown on which drinks are best, which are okay in moderation, and which drinks are acidic, making them potentially hazardous.
What are Alkaline Drinks?
The basis for the alkaline diet is to avoid acidic food and drink. The natural PH of our bodies is around 7.4. Anything above PH 7 is alkaline, less than PH 7 is acidic. This means that alkaline drinks all have a PH of 7 or more.
It is the function of our lungs and kidneys to regulate the PH of our blood. Since the ideal PH is slightly alkaline, it seems logical to try consume food and beverages that have a higher PH. This helps maintain a healthy PH balance.
Most of the food we eat tends to be more acidic. The same can be said for the beverages we drink. A lot of sugary sodas will make your blood extremely acidic. This means that your kidneys have to work really hard to try normalize the body PH.
Continuous daily consumption of acidic food and drink can lead to kidney disease, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. By drinking healthy beverages with a high PH (7.4 or more), you will be improving your chances of leading a long and healthy life.
What Drinks are Alkaline?
If you’re ready to start drinking your way to a healthier body, grab a cup of whatever makes you feel good and get ready for the complete guide to alkaline beverages.
Nothing beats good old H₂O for a healthy body. All doctors, nutritionists, and health gurus agree that good hydration is essential for all of us. This means drinking around 11 to 15 cups of water per day, depending on your body mass.
The EPA recommends that public drinking water should have a PH of around 7 to 7.4. This is neutral and in keeping with the natural PH of the human body. However, in some areas, certain minerals in the water make it acidic. Though tap water and most bottled water is generally neutral. This means it is okay to drink as much water as you want without disturbing the PH balance of in your blood.
Carbonated (fizzy) water will be more acidic. CO₂ used to create those delightful bubbles in the water also produce carbonic acid, causing a reduced PH of around 4.9 to 5.5. In general, all carbonated drinks should be avoided if your aim is to only consume alkaline drinks.
Alkaline diet purists recommend drinking alkaline water, with a PH of 8 or more. There has been quite a few medical tests conducted to determine whether alkaline water has any real health benefits. While more research is needed, there is enough evidence to prove that drinking alkaline water has some significant health benefits. These include:
Considering the numerous proven benefits of drinking alkaline water, it seems like an obvious choice for a healthier lifestyle. Investing in a water alkaline machine is a good idea is you’re interested in reaping these benefits. In the long run, it’s a lot cheaper than buying bottled alkaline water.
Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are a staple of any healthy diet. However, not all fruit (and vegetable juices) are alkaline. Some are great, others are neutral, and there are a few juices that are downright acidic. Lemon juice is an exception that needs a discussion all of its own.
Alkaline Fruit and Vegetable Juices:
Acidic Fruit Juices:
The anomaly in the list of alkaline vs acidic drinks is most certainly lemon juice. Other citrus fruits (like orange and lime) have similar benefits, but lemon juice is the one acidic juice that is wholly recommended as part of a healthy alkaline diet.
Despite its low PH (2 – 3), which makes it extremely acidic, lemon juice actually helps normalize the PH in our bodies. By stimulating our natural mechanisms for controlling body PH, lemon juice causes a rapid decrease in blood acidity.
There are numerous other benefits of drinking lemon juice:
While it may seem like a crazy contradiction, adding a teaspoon (or two) of lemon juice to a glass of alkaline water has incredible health benefits.
Most herbal teas, including green tea are great for an alkaline diet and generally have many other health benefits. These teas range from PH-neutral to slightly alkaline.
Regular black tea, like English and Ceylon teas are acidic (PH 4.9 to 5.5).
Alternatives to cow’s milk have become increasingly popular. If you are lactose intolerant, you probably drink products like almond or soy milk. These are pretty good for an alkaline diet as they tend toward PH neutral or slightly alkaline.
Slightly Acidic Drinks
There are some drinks that are okay to drink even though they are not, strictly speaking, alkaline. Drinks that have a PH of around 6 – 7 are not particularly hazardous.
Whole milk and unsweetened dairy drinks have a PH of around 6.7 to 6.9. This makes them mildly acidic and can be consumed in moderation. The additional health benefits, most particularly calcium for healthy bones and teeth, make dairy products an important part of a healthy diet.
This is another drink that has numerous health benefits and is only slightly acidic (PH 6.2 – 6.5). It is a very refreshing and healthy drink.
Some drinks really should be avoided if you want to reduce the amount of acid in your diet.
A lot has been said about the negative health effects of drinking fizzy drinks with a lot of sugar. No matter how you look at it, sodas are bad for you in every way. The combination of sugar and CO₂ make sodas amongst the most acidic drinks around. For example, Coca Cola has a PH of 2.5.
For most of us, waking up in the morning without a cup of coffee is simply unimaginable. While coffee is not as bad as highly acidic soft drinks, it’s not great. At a PH of 5, coffee is about the same as black tea on the scale of acidic drinks.
Do You Really Need to Include Alkaline Drinks in Your Diet?
The jury is still out on the importance of an alkaline diet. It’s true that the body self-regulates its PH to remain around 7.4 regardless of what we eat or drink. However, the modern American diet is highly acidic. Eating a lot of meat and sugar means that the average American is at risk of serious health problems, especially as we grow older.
Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are all consequences of an acidic diet, as is kidney disease and most types of cancer. To maintain a healthy body, it is essential to try obtain a balance in what we eat. Alkaline drinks (particularly alkaline water) are a wonderful way to help restore the balance.
Even if you’re not fanatical about following an alkaline diet, reducing the amount of acid in the food and beverages that you consume will vastly improve your general health and reduce your risk of many chronic illnesses.