The Western diet, high in processed foods and animal fats is higher in acid--with lower pH levels, in other words--than the diets of many other cultures’. Foods have varying pH and acid levels, some rank high in acids and are low pH while others have high pH or alkaline levels. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Food with a pH level less than 7 is considered acidic, whereas foods with a pH level higher than 7 is alkaline. Some holistic physicians and natural food dietitians recommend a low-acid or high pH diet, saying that the human body needs higher pH levels. If you are trying to eat a low-acid diet, avoid processed meats, pickled vegetables, white sugar and white flour. Artificial sweeteners, tea, coffee and peanuts are particularly high in acids.
Most plant-based foods have low acid levels. In particular, leafy greens have low acid levels. Spinach has a high alkaline level, according to Essence of Life. Broccoli contains low acid levels as well. Other vegetables with low acid levels include asparagus, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chard, cucumber, eggplant, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, peas, peppers, pumpkin, sprouts, squashes, alfalfa, barley grass, wheat grass and wild greens, according to The Wolfe Clinic.
Figs contain very high pH levels, according to Essence of Life. Dried apricots, raisins and prunes also have low acid levels. Many fresh fruits, such as peaches, blackberries, oranges, apricots, grapefruit, banana, mango, tangerine, guava and lemons, also contain high pH levels. Watermelon, grapes, apples, strawberries and pears are more neutral foods.
Most meats and dairy products are acid-producing foods. However, there are a number of protein sources that have low acid contents. Soybeans and tofu have low acid levels along with high protein content. In particular, fermented tofu is a highly alkaline. Some nuts, such as hazelnuts and almonds, have high pH levels. Try adding slivered almonds to a salad or spinach for a low-acid complement. Soy milk made from soy beans is another low-acid, high pH food. Goat milk and goat cheese have lower acid levels than cow’s milk. Chestnuts and coconut are a few other sources of protein for a low-acid diet.