There are 2 extreme opinions surrounding this topic – either you´ve already researched a lot about the food pH and you´re currently trying to incorporate this theory into your diet, or you´re just against it on principle because it´s denying many common notions about nutrition and accepting it would mean accepting that all we´ve ever known has been no more than a bunch of old wives´ tales that became real for no relevant evidence. Since we´re naturally afraid of hearing that we might have been doing something wrong for our whole lives, (which may have had negative consequences on our health basically by our own fault), it is understandable that a lot of people will be skeptical about this. However, after a scientific research you´ll find out that nothing more than a common sense is needed to see the logic in the theory and the aftermath of its long-term ignorance.

What is pH?

“pH” is an abbreviation for “potential hydrogen” and it measures how many hydrogen ions are in any solution. It ranges from 0 – acid to 14 – alkaline with 7 being neutral. This scale can be used for measuring basically anything but what interests us here is the bodily fluids to be tested. Blood, as one of the most important fluids in our bodies, is of pH 7.35-7.4 and constantly keeps this level, otherwise you´d go into a coma and die of either alkalosis or acidosis. Lungs and kidneys are two organs responsible for keeping the right pH in your body. When you go up the stairs or run to catch a bus, your breath will speed up and deepen to get more oxygen in (which alkalizes the body) and get rid of excess carbon dioxide (which acidizes the body). Kidneys work similarly filtering the blood and eliminating the toxins and excess acid with urine, thus keeping the blood pressure and the blood pH stable.

Acidic – alkaline balance

As we´ve mentioned, keeping the pH of blood in its tight range is vital, and that´s why you should be aware of the ways to help your body get stabilized. It is the most basic stuff that you´ve been hearing since you´ve been a child – breathing fresh air, sun exposure for vitamin D, getting enough / not too much sleep, physical activity / though not training as an Olympian, eating healthy food, avoiding stress – however, most of us just started ignoring these recommendations and although we know they´re right, we kind of claim not to have enough time to eat right, exercise, sleep for 8 hours, or going out to get a real fresh air. Result? Illness. You may not believe that feeling good can be as easy as we say here and that´s why we´re going to explain it scientifically: All of these needs described above, in lack or excess, create an acidic condition which needs to be taken care of. Our bodies are perfectly designed to “keep us alive” and so we don´t have to worry that we die from sleeping just for 2 hours or drinking a cup of coffee. However, the innocent-looking coffee is the starting point of a battle that our bodies have to fight every day.
Let´s have a look at the pH of some important items: Sulphuric acid is 0 and calcium with 14 stands on the other end of the scale. Regarding food, it is quite difficult to estimate on what end most of it stands. Let´s see on this example: Imagine you´re having a normal working day: you get up after a 5-hour sleep tired (acidic), drink your coffee (acidic), go to work and stress about a presentation (acidic), of course you´re working inside in an office with artificial light and air-condition (some more acid), and then you get home and have something really sweet like a cola drink and a healthy looking beef steak with vegetables (one good point for veggies) and that´s it, if this was a computer game, you wouldn´t have enough “lives” to get to another level. But let´s get more scientific: Coke, as well as a coffee with sugar is about a pH of 2.6. Our cells need a pH of 6.5 to work properly so when you put such a strongly-acidic drink into your body, it needs to work really hard to get back into balance. Some may argue there is no problem since the body will obviously take care of it – and it will, but the cost will be huge.

Consequences of acidizing your body

The point is, when this coffee gets into your system, the body´s alarm starts to ring and the body will do ANYTHING to get the pH right back into balance. So it takes calcium from the source most easily accessible – your bones and releases it into the blood. However, the form of the calcium is not suitable for your bloodstream because it´s crystallized and because it cannot be used otherwise, it´s released back but stays ON the bone and creates bone spurs. This condition is usually found by X-ray on knees or spine and often doesn´t have any symptoms. Sometimes though it can impair your joint movement accompanied by pain, especially in athletes when the body part continues to be used excessively.
The problem is, food is a huge part of our lives and we cannot seem to get it just right. We use food as comfort, we have no time to cook so we buy processed food and microwave it so then it has no more nutrients in it, and on the top of it all, we over-consume acid-forming foods and neglect those which would give us most good. This way, we over-acidize our bodies, sometimes unknowingly, and put so much pressure on the system that one day, it just might break down. Our immune systems are impaired already by the lack of sleep, fresh air, activity, and sun, so that feeding them acidic food is the worst thing you can do. Such a tired body cannot function on high speed forever and the results will come in form of autoimmune diseases like allergies, frequent colds, and various health problems ranging from hair loss to cardio-vascular diseases.
Allergies are a great example of an exhausted organism. They´re a form of autoimmune disease when your body gets confused and starts to attack its own cells or cells that are of no threat to it – like certain foods. A classic form of allergy is eczema – a skin rash that itches like crazy and makes skin very dry, up to a state when it tears. When an allergen is consumed, the skin becomes inflamed, it´s red and itchy. It is very difficult to treat it and most allergists will tell you it is s condition for life. The issue begins with medical schools not incorporating enough nutrition into their studies and so all doctors will do is give you medications rather than focusing on the underlying cause – potentially an over-acidized body. As we mentioned above, your body can handle acidic foods but it´s exhausting to the system. If you overdo it with coffee, sugar, animal products, or even nicotine and alcohol, you may be wondering why your skin is itchy and dry but the answer is very straightforward – all the toxins you put in need to be eliminated – and your skin is one way to do that. So basically, having eczema can mean your body is still working but the load of acid you´re putting in is too big.

How to get back in balance

Acidic foods

Alkaline foods



Dark leafy green vegetables


Meat & dairy

Almonds & Brazil nuts – 5 a day



Millet, quinoa, buckwheat, spelt









Honey, Maple syrup


You may find varying tables of acidic – alkaline foods with very detailed divisions but some of them are difficult to classify. That is why we included the general division of very commonly used food groups. There are some foodstuffs which enlistment of isn´t clear, such as fruits some of which can be incorporated into a diet but should only fill approximately 10% of the diet (because of the potential yeast infections), as well as fish, grains, legumes, and nuts which should be incorporated up to 30%. The division was suggested by Barbara O´Neill, a qualified naturopath and nutritionist from Australia, who also mentions our ridiculous relationship to milk. She explains that humans are the only species on this planet who drink milk when they´re adults and gives an example – breast milk is created in mom´s body to provide the perfect nutrition up to the state when the baby is able to chew its own food. That is basically at the age of 2, and any other mammal has the same process designed by nature. For some reason though, we keep on giving our children AND ourselves milk of another species, which logically, has a totally different composition of nutrients, and thus, is not suitable for humans. Because our grandmothers believed milk is good and large dairy companies tell us how strong our bones will be, we have no reason not to trust them unless we do the research ourselves. The truth is, cow´s milk does contain a lot of calcium but it is also acidic = so the calcium that we drink with our milk is eventually used to balance the pH of blood instead of strengthening our bones.

However, as everything should be in balance and we certainly cannot expect you to stick to this diet completely, Mrs. O´Neill suggests eating Feta, Ricotta, or Mozzarella from goat´s or sheep´s milk if necessary and at least keep the 70% of your diet alkaline. This way, you should be able to strengthen your immune system and give it the time and possibility to fight diseases instead of creating allergies. So the last potential benefit we want to talk about is fighting cancer by alkalizing your body. You can find a lot of success stories on the Internet about completely destroying cancer cells just by the right nutrition and the point is – they might just be SO right. The trick is, cancerous cells need a pH of 5.5 and that is exactly 1 point down on the scale. However, since the scale is logarithmic, the drop of only 1 point means 60% less oxygen available for the cells. Now because our cells need oxygen to work properly, they are impaired but for cancer that is great because it cannot live in the presence of oxygen. In other words, raise the pH by 1 point and save your health. And the message we want you to take from this article is the quote by the famous Hippocrates “Let food be the medicine and the medicine be the food.”

by Katarína Vicová

O´Neill, B. (2012). Acid-alkaline balance. [YouTube video]. Retrieved from:
Song for Wellness (n.d.). pH balance chart. [picture]. Retrieved from: