Since lactic acid causes muscle pain and uric acid is responsible for joint pain, it makes sense that controlling your acidity by eating alkaline foods could be beneficial to your fitness. Taking in high alkaline foods can help you to maintain healthy blood pH and possibly even boost your workouts. Acidic foods tend to be overly processed and high in sugars and sodium, so cutting out the ones that are unnecessary can be beneficial.
When it comes to alkalinity, food falls into three categories, acidic, alkaline, or neutral. To determine how alkalizing or acidic to the body a food is, each food is measured on a Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL) scale. PRAL determines the acidity or alkalinity of a food based on the minerals, protein, and phosphorus that is left behind after the body has metabolized it. The lower the PRAL score, the less acidic a food is. Therefore a food that has an alkalizing effect on the body will have a very low, negative score. The higher the score, the more acidic the effect of the food on the body.
If you are looking to start eating foods that are lower in acid, try to incorporate these top ten high alkaline foods into your diet.
#10. Swiss Chard (PRAL Score: -8.1)
Swiss chard is a superb source of vitamins A, C, K, magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber.
#9. Kale (PRAL Score: -8.3)
Kale has 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. It also has a 10% daily value of omega-3 fatty acids per cup. This leafy green is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium and iron. Kale is loaded with antioxidants and actually has more iron than beef.
#8. Spinach (PRAL Score: -11.8)
Spinach is loaded with nutrients your body needs including niacin, zinc, protein, fiber, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, and vitamins A, C, E and K.
#7. Sunflower Seeds (PRAL Score: -12.1)
A good source of protein, Sunflower seeds are a high alkaline food that is also rich in selenium, calcium, magnesium and copper.
#6. Prunes (PRAL Score: -13.4)
In addition to their high levels of nutrients and vitamin C, prunes are a good source of energy that won’t spike blood sugar levels.
#5. Dates (PRAL Score: -13.7)
Dates are ancient cultivated fruits that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fiber.
#4. Figs (PRAL Score: – 14.1)
Figs have lots of fiber and essential minerals including magnesium, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, vitamin K and vitamin B6.
#3. Beet greens (PRAL score: -16.7)
Often ignored, the leafy part of the beet is loaded with nutrients. Beet greens have a good amount of protein and fiber, while also being high in phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese.
#2. Lima Beans (PRAL score: -18.3)
Lima beans are a good source of folate and magnesium but are a powerhouse as a natural source of dietary fiber.
#1. White Kidney Beans (PRAL score: -23.2)
Aside from their superb PRAL score, white kidney beans also contain antioxidants, complex carbs, fiber and a plethora of nutrients including copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc.
While it is a great approach to nutrition, the high alkaline diet is healthy primarily because it encourages eating organic fruits and vegetables, and restricts or eliminates the consumption of processed, overly salted or sugary foods. If looking up PRAL scores isn’t for you, simply try to be more conscious of the items you’re buying at the grocery store.
For more information on healthy eating, check out Why You Need More Fiber.