Man Meditating on a Rock at the BeachThe internal environment of our bodies is ideally maintained at a pH of around 7.30-7.40. This means our internal environment is alkaline. In order to maintain this alkaline state, we need adequate oxygen, water, and acid-buffering minerals available as we are eliminating waste products.

When such an alkaline environment is maintained in the body, our metabolism, enzymes, immune system, and repair processes function at their best. Many processes present a challenge to this balance due to the production of acid waste products within the body, including stress, poor diet and inflammation. We need to have mineral buffering reserves to combat and neutralize these acids. That’s why a diet that is predominately alkaline-forming is essential to the maintenance of good health.

Most vegetables and fruits contain higher proportions of alkaline-forming elements and promote an alkaline environment in your body. Foods that you think of as “acidic” fruits or vegetables – such as raw tomatoes, citrus fruit, and rhubarb – contain what are called ‘organic acids’. These foods actually form alkaline residues because the body is able to fully break down those kinds of acids into bicarbonate (which is alkaline) and water.

Foods that are high in protein – including milk, meat, and even whole grains – are acid-forming. Most fruits are alkaline-forming, but some – like prunes, plums, and cranberries – are acid-forming because our bodies can’t break down the types of acids they contain. Highly refined foods, consisting of mostly fats, sugars, and simple starches, are all acid-forming.

Don’t fret about the few fruits and/or vegetables that are acid forming; just remember that in general vegetables and fruits are alkaline forming, starches (i.e., breads, pastas, etc.) and proteins are acid forming. To obtain and maintain a healthy, alkaline environment in your body, your diet should be heavily weighted towards alkaline-forming foods. Think of your plate in terms of percentages; about 70-80% (3/4) of your plate should be filled with alkaline foods, and only 20-30% (1/4) should be acid-forming foods.

Juicing, cleansing, deep breathing, relaxation, adequate sleep and a calm mind are other ways that you can obtain and maintain an alkaline body chemistry and keep your body running strong – all year long!