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Acid-base balance and dietary interventions

Time of stress, acidifying food, a lack of exercise, long-term use of medicines and even incorrect breathing are all acidifiers that have a significant effect on the body’s environment. In addition, many of your clients eat too few fruit and vegetables, which also means that their intake of potassium and other alkalising minerals is insufficient. Furthermore, acidifying foods such as milk, white bread, cheese, soft drinks and chocolate are very popular. To ensure or to restore a good acid-base balance, it is important that your client eats a good amount of alkaline products and that acids are removed from the body correctly. The main intervention is always the food.

Effects of acidification

Excess acids in the body are transported to the surrounding tissues, such as muscles, tendons, subcutaneous connective tissue, the skin and joints. If there is an acid-base imbalance, the cells are unable to function correctly. This has a disruptive effect on the enzymatic processes that are important for the bones and cartilage. The antioxidant function of the body also worsens. This causes the blood and lymph circulation to stagnate, resulting in a reduction in the oxygen supply. Particularly after the age of 40 years, this can have far-reaching implications for your client. That is why it is important that well in advance of that time, the acid-base balance is restored.

Symptoms of acidification

The initial symptoms that you will recognise in your client are muscle ache, joint pain, fatigue, skin problems, fungal infections and inflammations. If your client is predisposed to this, these symptoms can slowly develop into chronic metabolic diseases, including arthrosis, gout, arthritis, raised blood pressure, fibromyalgia and osteoporosis. When your intervention takes effect, many symptoms can improve and even disappear. When the acid-base balance is (back to) functioning properly, your client is also less susceptible to illnesses and disorders.

Which foods can be eaten and which can’t

Good intervention in respect of deacidification starts with knowledge about the acidifying effect of foods. But when you search online for good acid-base tables, you will soon find out that many of them contradict one another (significantly). This is because each time different methods of measurement are used. There are, for example, tables that are based on ash content values and that state how acidic or alkaline a food is, not how bad the level of acidification is. In addition, a sour taste does not necessarily mean that a product has an acidifying effect. A good example of this is lemon juice, which has a very sour flavour, but nevertheless has an alkalising effect. Only when PRAL values are used will the level of acidification in the body become clear.

PRAL value

In the table you will find the PRAL values of various commonly eaten foods. PRAL is the acronym for Potential Renal Acid Load. This is the estimated potential acid load on the body for every 100 grams of food. The table is scientifically substantiated and can be used as reliable reference when treating your client who suffers from (the effects of) a disrupted acid-base balance. The table would work well as a nutritional guide for your client. You could also use it to plan an alkalising diet which suits your client’s personal situation.

Degree of acidification

The table is easy to use. The higher the positive value, the stronger the acidifying effect on the body. A high positive value is found, for example, in Gouda cheese (+18.6) which is therefore also a highly acidifying product. Value 0 means that neither acidification nor alkalisation occurs – this is the case, for example, with olive oil. Negative values indicate that a food has an alkaline effect. A good example is spinach which, with a PRAL value of -14.0, has a high alkalising effect. Alkalising food is of considerable importance when the environment of your client’s body is acidified. It can also be used as a good preventative measure.

Alkaline water

The table with PRAL values also includes alkaline water. Alkaline water has a highly negative PRAL value (-18.4!) and also contains bicarbonates, for an even higher alkalising effect. It can be put to good use to maintain the balance over a longer period of time, but you can also use it to achieve a major effect quickly and to deal with the worst symptoms of an imbalance. This means that alkaline water is an important part of effective acid-base intervention in your client.

 

Drinks

 

Food

PRAL value

Alkaline water

-18.4

Tomato juice    

-2.8

Red wine

-2.4

Mineral water

-1.8

Coffee

-1.4

White wine, dry

-1.2

Coca-Cola

0.4

Beer

0.9

 

 

Cereal products

 

Food

PRAL value

Wheat bread – wholemeal

1.8

Wheat bread – white

3.7

Rye bread

4

Rice (white)

4.6

Cornflakes

6

Noodles (egg)

6.4

Spaghetti (white)

6.5

Wheat flour

6.9

Spaghetti (wholemeal)

7.3

Wholemeal flour

8.3

Oat flakes

10.7

Rice (brown)

12.5

 

 

Vegetables

 

Food

PRAL value

Spinach

-14

Celery

-5.2

Carrots (baby)

-4.9

Courgette

-4.6

Cauliflower

-4

Potatoes

-4

Radish (red)

-3.7

Aubergine

-3.4

Tomatoes

-3.1

Lettuce (average of four types)

-2.5

Chicory

-2

Leek

-1.8

Iceberg lettuce

-1.6

Onions

-1.5

Mushrooms

-1.4

Sweet peppers (green)

-1.4

Broccoli

-1.2

Cucumber

-0.8

Asparagus

-0.4

 

 

Milk and dairy products

 

Food

PRAL value

Ice cream (vanilla)

0.6

Milk (full, pasteurised)

0.7

Egg white

1.1

Cream (fresh, sour)

1.2

Yoghurt (full fat)

1.5

Egg

8.2

Cottage cheese

8.7

Quark

11.1

Camembert

14.6

Gouda cheese

18.6

Cheese, 48+

19.2

Egg yolk

23.4

Cheddar, low fat

26.4

Parmesan cheese

34.2

 

 

Legumes

 

Food

PRAL value

Green beans

-3.1

Peas

1.2

Lentils

3.5

Peanuts

8.3

 

 

Sugar and high-sugar products

 

Food

PRAL value

Jam

-1.5

Honey

-0.3

Sugar (white)

-0.1

Chocolate milk

2.4

Cake

3.7

 

 

Fats and oil

 

Food

PRAL value

Margarine

-0.5

Olive oil

0

Sunflower oil

0

Butter

0.6

 

 

Fish

 

Food

PRAL value

Haddock

6.8

Herring

7

Cod

7.1

Trout

10.8

 

 

Meat and meat products

 

Food

PRAL value

Hotdog sausage

6.7

Beef (lean)

7.8

Pork (lean)

7.9

Chicken

8.7

Veal

9

Turkey

9.9

Processed meats

10.2

Liver sausage

10.6

Salami

11.6

Corned beef (tin)

13.2

 

 

Fruit (drinks) and nuts

 

Food

PRAL value

Raisins

-21

Blackcurrant

-6.5

Bananas

-5.5

Apricots

-4.8

Kiwi

-4.1

Cherries

-3.6

Orange juice (unsweetened)

-2.9

Pear

-2.9

Hazelnuts

-2.8

Oranges

-2.7

Pineapple

-2.7

Lemon juice

-2.5

Peach

-2.4

Apple juice (unfiltered)

-2.2

Apples

-2.2

Strawberries

-2.2

Water melon

-1.9

Grape juice (unsweetened)

-1

Walnuts

6.8

 

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