Alkaline pH and Diet
The foods we eat significantly impact the pH of our urine. This is because of any food’s potential renal acid load (PRAL). Your urine pH might become alkaline when your diet is dominated by foods that make your urine more alkaline.
PRAL is short for Potential Renal Acid Load. Essentially, it is the measurement of the acidic content produced in your body by the foods you eat. When you have a higher PRAL value, this means that more acidic content was produced in your body as a result of the food you ate. If it’s negative, the opposite effect takes place, where more alkaline (the opposite of acidic) was produced by the food you ate.
Your body’s pH levels are regulated by your kidneys and lungs. Acids are naturally produced in our body to support metabolism and digestive processes.
As mentioned earlier, some diets result in more acidic content in your body than others because of the foods that make up your diet. As a result, your body depends on the functioning of your renal system to discard the extra, unnecessary acids that your body generated from the food you ate.
IMPORTANCE OF PRAL
- It helps in measuring the exact amount of acid produced in your body as a result of the foods you eat.
- It helps prevent acidosis, or excess acid in your body fluids, which could lead to other chronic conditions such as hypertension, insulin resistance, and osteoporosis.
Vegetables and fruits that produce alkaline in your body have a negative PRAL value. The more you eat vegetables or fruits, the more likely your body produces alkaline, leading to an alkaline pH in your urine. Therefore, it is important to combine high alkaline foods with acidic foods if you have an alkaline pH in your urine. Here are some fruits and vegetables that have an alkaline effect on your body, along with their PRAL values:
Vegetable PRAL Values
- spinach -14
- celery -5.2
- eggplant -3.4
- tomato -3.1
- broccoli -1.2
Fruit PRAL Values
- raisins -21
- banana -5.5
- apricots -4.8
- apple -2.2
- orange juice -2.9
Any pH value ranges between 0-14, and an alkaline pH is valued above 7. The urine pH ranges on average between 4.5-8. There are several factors that affect your urine pHs, such as diet, certain medications, and diseases like kidney or liver disease. It’s important to keep your urine pH balanced, and if it is too high, you should take action to rebalance your urine pH and protect your body from potential problems.
Your diet can have a big impact on your urine pH because foods have a wide range of PRAL values, determining whether foods are acidic or alkaline. The more you eat foods that are high in alkaline, like vegetables, fruits, some nuts, legumes, and beans, the more alkaline residues these foods will leave in your body, resulting in alkaline urine. Therefore, it’s necessary to have a balanced diet in which you combine both acidic and alkaline-producing foods to keep your urine pH levels as neutral as possible.
Your kidneys and lungs are the two main organs that balance the pH of your body. Any reduction in their functionality can directly affect the pH of your urine, resulting in contracting diseases like kidney stones, UTIs, or other respiratory problems.
Reaching an optimal urine pH level is important for maintaining a healthy body that is more immune to diseases.
Balanced Menu Options
A balanced menu incorporates different food groups in your diet, as this helps in maintaining an optimal pH value in your urine, as well as adds necessary nutrients and minerals to your meals. That said, a balanced menu means eating both alkaline and acidic foods in moderation.
Here are some tips to consider when you plan your meals:
- Have vegetables (grilled, baked, steamed) or a side salad to go along with a protein-based dish
- Add legumes and beans to your main meat dish.
- Prepare an animal-based protein dish that includes meat, poultry, fish, or dairy, that is combined with vegetables.
- Have a serving of fruit every day.
- Add nuts and seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, or flax seeds to your salads or yogurt.
Need more ideas? Here are some different menu options for a balanced pH:
- Grilled salmon with a side of veggies and sweet potatoes
- Grilled chicken, buckwheat, and sautéed broccoli
- Eggs with avocado and spinach served on whole-wheat toast
- Greek yogurt mixed with fruits and nuts
- Brown rice with a mix of legumes, carrots, zucchini, and bell pepper
- Cooked bulgur with chickpeas and yogurt on the side
- Salad made with quinoa and your choice of veggies, such as spinach, carrots, and bell peppers, combined with a selection of seeds