The word acid typically carries a pernicious connotation with it, because it’s often paired with terms like battery acid, acid reflux, or acid rain. When it comes to your body, however, there need not always be alarm. Certainly, beverages high in acid. like soda, energy drinks, fruit juices, and sports drinks like Gatorade, should be consumed only in moderation.
When it comes to food, the word acid is a good thing. The body processes meats and whole grain foods as acid supplying, while fruits and veggies are considered base foods. That means lemons and limes, despite their sour flavor, fall under the base umbrella. There are also neutral foods like olive oil, butter, and certain kinds of nuts.
The reason for this distinction is because the label refers to how the food is metabolized in your digestive system. A chicken breast will turn into acid in the stomach, whereas a potato is an alkaline-forming food, or more commonly referred to as a base.
With a healthy balance of base and acid foods in your diet, your stomach will be all smiles. Disproportionate amounts of acid-based foods can lead to trouble, both immediately and down the road. This is why Mom and Dad were right when they made you eat your greens at dinnertime.
So what should you do?
Ordinary bodily processes like sweating, even if it’s in the steam room or sauna, and hydrating more can help balance acid-base levels in your body. Of course, exercise is an even healthier option, particularly cardio exercise.
This is because running requires heavier breathing, which results in a greater release of carbon dioxide (CO2, aka what you exhale). Carbon dioxide is also an acid, so releasing it will help lower acidity. Imbalance tends to tip toward the acid side of the scale, because most people would rather eat a steak than a kale salad. However, vegans and vegetarians should make sure they are eating enough acid-based foods.
Tweaking your diet is the best way to balance the acid levels, so gravitate towards foods you’ll enjoy eating. That way, you can sustain your new habits. With that said, cucumbers, radishes, and figs are among the strongest base foods. Pork, chocolate, eggs, and cheese are very acidic options. If any of those sound particularly tasty, you may want to make sure you adjust your consumption accordingly.
Things to remember
These are general guidelines, so consult your doctor before making any drastic dietary changes. Daily habits and demands, as well as overall lifestyle, can dictate what your body needs in order to function properly. For example, athletes often need more carbohydrates and protein to keep their metabolism running at peak efficiency.
Whether you are a gym rat, bookworm, avid cyclist, or workaholic, the answer to a healthier you could simply be a balancing act of acids and bases.
It’s always important to make sure your body is getting all of the nutrients it needs to function properly in order to reach your goals. WellPath nutritional solutions can help you stay on top of your help all the time.
About Zac Howard
Zac Howard is a writer on The Path Editorial Team. He is a graduate of Florida State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in magazine journalism at NYU. With his passion for lifting and dieting, Zac enjoys writing about all different kinds of exercise as well as keeping up with the latest news in the world of fitness. For more of his work, visit his website.