When it comes to your body pH, even a slight deviation can mean the difference between life and death (no exaggeration!). And while your body has checkpoints in place to keep your pH in a healthy range, following a healthy diet may help.
Proponents of an alkaline diet — one that's full of healthy "alkaline-forming" foods — claim the diet will help you shed pounds, boost your digestion and reduce any lingering aches and pains. While the research into the benefits of an alkaline diet is still in the early stages, alkaline foods are uniformly healthy, unprocessed fare — exactly the type of food that should make up your diet anyway!
As for which foods are the most alkalizing, these picks are the top 10 best additions to any alkaline diet.
Don’t be afraid to eat your avo! Not only are avocados strongly alkalizing, but they’re rich in fiber. Fiber literally keeps your stomach full after a meal, so you’ll feel satisfied for longer (no more mid-meal cravings!). You’ll also get lots of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that shields your cells from damage.
Try This: Add avocado to your favorite salad, or keep it classic with this delicious guac.
2. White Navy Beans
In the navy ... you’ll get tons of fiber and protein! In addition to being strongly alkaline, each cup of white navy beans supplies about 20 grams of protein and half your daily fiber needs. White navy beans also come loaded with iron, which can fend off fatigue. And bonus: it’ll help your skin glow!
Try This: Add a spoonful of white navy beans to your wraps, mash them to use a topping for toast, or make white bean chili using our delicious recipe — simply use white beans instead of red kidney beans.
3. Soybeans and Edamame
Soy is a must-have when you’re eating alkaline — and it’s a great source of protein, whether you eat meat or not. Unlike most plant-based proteins, mature soybeans and edamame (immature soy beans) have all the amino acids you need to nourish lean muscle, boost your immune system and help with cell growth.
Try This: Snack on scrumptious homemade roasted soy beans or season steamed edamame pods with a little pink sea salt for an easy and delicious snack.
A powerful alkalizer, beets also serve as a great source of nitrates, a class of phytonutrients. While it’s not clear exactly how nitrates affect your health, they seem to boost your endurance when you work out, a recent study found.
Try This: Roast beets in the oven for an easy-and-alkalizing side dish, or blend beets, chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon juice for a delicious beet hummus.
Most sugars are off-limits — or strictly limited — on an alkaline diet due to their acid-forming properties. But Stevia is a notable exception. On top of being a calorie-free (and sugar-free) all-natural sweetener, Stevia is highly alkaline-forming. Stevia might also help with blood sugar control, making it especially good for people with diabetes (as long as your doc gives the OK).
Crisp, cool and hydrating, cucumber doesn't exactly replace AC, but it will definitely cool you down. It’s also among the most alkalizing foods you can eat, as well as a great source of vitamin K for bone health.
Try This: Infuse your water in cucumber for an alkalizing (and spa-inspired) beverage, or blend pineapple, cucumber, coconut water and fresh cilantro for a refreshing smoothie.
Another strongly alkalizing veggie, broccoli offers a wealth of health benefits. It’s high in vitamin C for healthy skin, packed with vitamin K for bone strength and also contains a family of phytonutrients called isothiocyanates, which may help prevent cancer.
Try This: Cook up a batch of simple boiled broccoli to eat throughout the week. Add it to scrambled eggs, sandwiches and salads.
8. Almond Butter and Almonds
Almonds and almond butter can keep your alkaline diet on track when you’re craving crunchy or creamy textures. They’re both moderately alkalizing, and they also supply lots of dietary fiber to keep you full (and help you lose or maintain your weight) and antioxidants like vitamin E.
Try This: While natural almond butter is alkalizing, the sweeteners found in some commercial varieties are not. Look for an almond butter whose sole ingredients are almonds (and sea salt, if you prefer). Or try making your own.
The ultimate healthy summer treat, watermelon is also one of the best fruits for an alkaline diet. On top of its alkalizing properties, watermelon is one of the best natural sources of lycopene, a bright red pigment that nourishes your skin and offers all-natural sun protection.
Try This: Chop a whole watermelon into 1-inch chunks so you can easily spoon out a bowl full of fruit for an alkalizing snack. Or season the watermelon chunks with olive oil, black pepper, fresh mint and just a hint of feta cheese for a sweet and refreshing salad.
Here’s another reason to go cuckoo for coco: It’s amazingly alkalizing. Coconut also contains special fatty acids, called MCTs, that digest like carbohydrates and provide an almost-instant energy boost.
Try This: Add coconut to homemade granola bars (flavored with alkalizing ingredients like honey) or add a few chunks of fresh coconut meat to your cereal or smoothie.