PRAL: Kidneys, and Urine pH Balance
PRAL in simple words is the amount of acid created by the body after ingesting certain types of foods. Protein-rich foods such as meat, cheese, and eggs enhance acid production in the body, whereas fruits and vegetables produce alkaline or base. Dietary composition plays an important role in altering the acid-base balance in the body by providing either acid or base precursors.
Consumption of high PRAL food produces too much acid which should be excreted from the body so that it doesn’t lead to health issues such as insulin resistance or heart problems. The kidney is the organ that has a great mechanism to control the acid-base balance. One important function is excreting acid into the urine.
The typical pH range of urine is between 4.5 to 8 and typically around 6-7. Any pH greater than 7 is considered alkaline, whereas any pH less than 7 is considered acidic.
Dietary Interventions to Control Acid-Alkaline Balance
The diet has an important role in changing the pH value of your urine. Once digested, the food you consume leaves behind wastes, and those wastes are either acidic, alkaline, or neutral and have a direct effect on your body’s urine pH.
Consuming acidic food will leave urine acidic, and consuming alkaline foods will leave urine alkaline. Having excess acid or alkaline in your body leads to some unhealthy conditions.
When you have excess acid in your body it is advisable to choose more alkaline foods to get rid of the excess acid and enhance your overall well-being.
It is best to focus on plant-based protein such as legumes, beans, fruits, and vegetables because this helps to control the acid in your body. However, this doesn’t mean you should avoid animal-based protein such as meat, poultry, and dairy products, just don’t consume them in excess.
Have balanced meals where half your plate is made up of fruits and vegetables and the other half is equally divided into protein and grains.
Effects of Acidic pH
When your body fluids contain too much acid this leads to metabolic acidosis. Metabolic acidosis is when your kidneys and lungs are not able to get rid of enough acid or when too much base is eliminated.
There is also such a thing as diet acidosis; it’s defined as consuming foods that are high in acids which leads to too much acid accumulating in the body and putting pressure on the kidneys thus deteriorating their functions.
Acidification may lead to weakness in your body functions. In the long run, dietary acidosis increases bone loss and paves the way to bone fractures. Also, It can cause obesity and diabetes due to insulin resistance. Furthermore, it can lead to increased free radicals and oxidation resulting in wrinkles, and other age-related issues.
Effects of Alkaline pH
Conversely, metabolic alkalosis can result from the body containing too much bicarbonate or too little acid – which, in turn, stem from the excessive loss of fluids or certain health conditions involving kidney damage.
On the other hand, an alkaline diet is high in vegetables and fruits but low in protein and grains. This could potentially alter your urinary pH level – making it alkaline. Those with an alkaline urine pH face an increased risk of UTIs and kidney stones, conditions that could progress to kidney issues if left untreated.
In observing the info tables below, keep in mind that a positive value indicates an acid-producing food, and the negative value indicates an alkaline-producing food.
Below you are shown 10 different foods with their PRAL values to help you properly incorporate them into your diet. Remember that moderation is the key to ensuring acid-base balance in the foods you eat.
Acidic Effective Foods:
Alkaline Effective Foods:
As shown in the acidic foods listed, that acid is mainly found in meat, poultry, nuts, and dairy products. However, the base is found in fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins such as beans and legumes.
Consuming a balanced diet containing both acidic and alkaline-producing foods is necessary to maintain the acid-base balance. Keep in mind, that if your pH is acidic you should incorporate more alkaline foods into your diet because this helps to decrease the acid. It’s helpful to take a look at PRAL values of foods to accomplish this.
As a take-home message, enjoy different types of foods and focus on variety.