Acidic and alkaline foods, how to maintain the right pH: the antacid diet

Maintaining the precious acid-base balance is essential.

Cappuccino and brioche? No thanks. The village breakfast is not at all "sweet" as it is believed. It is actually a bit sour. Indeed, acidifier. Because milk, coffee and simple sugars shift our body pH towards acidic values, less than 7, not compatible with an optimal state of health. It is one of the many examples of dietary "mistakes" reported in the book entitled Antacid therapy for the treatment of tumors, written by Dr. Stefano Do, research director of the Department of Medical Oncology and Molecular Medicine of the ISS (Istituto Superiore di Sanità).

The expert explains to us what to do to maintain the precious acid-base balance.

What is the ideal pH of the human body and how to measure it?

The absolute reference value is that of arterial blood, which must be 7,4. It is a value that must remain stable to stay healthy. As soon as it lowers a little (for example, pH 7,3), problems begin for all body parts, even if they do not manifest themselves immediately but over time: tissue acidity, in fact, causes damage in the long term. In routine, the arterial pH it is almost never measured because, unlike venous sampling, it involves an invasive procedure. Much simpler is to measure the urine pH, also by means of self-tests sold in pharmacies. Just put the stick under the urinary stream and the pH appears in the window, which must be between 7,5 and 8. The more the value drops below this range, the more the risk of genitourinary tract infections increases, as well as be an indicator of a state of acidosis that affects the whole organism.

Does every part of our body have to have basic values?

Not at all. If we think of the body as a nation, there are small “special statute” regions that can afford an acidic microclimate. I refer to the stomach, whose gastric juices are acidic in order to digest food, to the skin mantle which has a pH between 4,7 and 5,8 and the vaginal ecosystem whose pH varies according to the age of the woman and , during the fertile life, according to the same phases of the cycle. It is often acidic, but sometimes it veers towards alkaline values, as happens in pregnancy and menopause. Moreover, alkalinity is not an absolute value. The important thing is to keep the body in balance because metabolic alkalosis is also pathological.

What does living with chronic tissue acidosis involve?

It is one of the most deleterious conditions for health. First, acidity creates inflammation and accelerates cell oxidation processes. Hence, age ahead of time. It also paves the way for diabetes, arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases, arthrosis (the degeneration of joint cartilages), autoimmune diseases, vaginitis and cystitis linked to the fact that bacteria grow in an acid habitat, liver and kidney failure because the excretory organs are called to dispose of a sea of ​​acid waste, as well as neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. As for tumors, it is known that they develop in the presence of two conditions: cellular hypoxia (lack of oxygen in the mitochondrion) and acid pH. If the cells are healthy, well hydrated, oxygenated and with the right pH, the malignant ones do not find fertile ground to replicate.

Are there any dysfunctions or diseases that favor acidosis?

Surely. Those suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, should be followed by a good dietician to try to counterbalance the state of acidosis they entail. Diabetes is also the cause and effect of an acidic pH at the same time. Because the excess of sugars, not properly metabolized, produces a large amount of lactic acid which, when it enters the circulation, causes the homeostasis of the whole organism to be upset. Furthermore, all people suffering from marked overweight, metabolic syndrome (the antechamber of diabetes) and intestinal dysbiosis should check their urinary pH, to get a picture of the situation and take appropriate corrective measures. Some women already realize that something is wrong withacrid smell of one's own sweat, one of the first red flags of an imbalance in pH regulation.

How important is nutrition in our internal balance?

It matters a lot. We must remember that all foods rich in simple sugars (sweets and sweeteners, biscuits, snacks, chocolate, candies, carbonated drinks and industrial fruit juices) shift the pH towards acid values, together with animal proteins and fatty acids. In addition to desserts, sausages, red meats, cheeses (very acidifying due to casein), eggs, spirits, coffee and black tea should be consumed in moderation, while green tea has a pH ranging from slightly acidic to alkaline. Among animal proteins, it is better to give preference to fish because, for the same weight, it has a lower protein content than meat. And among the first courses, it is better to opt for whole carbohydrates whose fibers modulate the absorption of sugars. As fats, no to butter and yes to extra virgin olive oil, while among the alkalizing foods we find all vegetables and legumes, paying attention to onions and peas, which are very sugary, and soy. As for the fruit, it is very sugary and should be consumed in moderation between meals, and not "wedged" between a pizza and a dessert: in this way you risk filling up with sugar and ending up with acidic urine in the morning.

What are natural alkalizers?

Lemon and tomato. Both are free from sugar, animal protein and fat. Containing a large amount of citric acid, lemon is only acidic in appearance. As soon as it is ingested, it transforms in our stomach into one of the most powerful alkalizers found in nature. Ditto for the tomato which has very few sugars and a high quantity of acids (including citric) which are very basifying. In light of this, it takes very little to compensate for the "acidifying load" of a steak, cutlet or sole: squeezing half a lemon on it or accompanying them with not too ripe tomatoes is an excellent "balance-saving" trick. Finally, check the label of the mineral water you put in your cart - it must have a pH above 7.


Is your urine a little acidic? Do you want to detoxify from head to toe, regain alkaline well-being and lose a few pounds at the same time? Dr. Sara Valente, a nutrition biologist in Rome (, has prepared a varied and balanced menu, ready to put your pH back in line. Here it is (free day: Sunday).

Breakfast valid for every day: Pear, spinach, celery and a piece of ginger smoothie; 10 unpeeled almonds.
Alternatively, vegetable yogurt with coconut or oat milk; three Brazilian nuts; dandelion tea, green tea or orthosiphon.



70 g of quinoa with boiled vegetables and lentils, dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.


150 g of fresh or frozen blueberries


cream of spinach with a handful of chia seeds; a grilled sole seasoned with aromatic herbs (rosemary, sage, parsley, wild fennel or chives) and raw extra virgin olive oil.



70 g of brown rice with courgettes and saffron


a baked apple with cinnamon and juice of half a lemon


120 g of grilled tofu with a sprinkling of curry; pan seared spinach with oil and lemon.



julienne carrot salad with half an avocado; 60 g of millet with mixed vegetables and raw extra virgin olive oil.


150 g of raspberries; 1 turmeric and ginger tea


Chickpea hummus with wholemeal croutons; “Cuore di bue” tomato salad dressed with extra virgin olive oil, lemon and a handful of sunflower seeds.



vegetable, potato and legume soup with a sprinkling of Chlorella seaweed


a fruit of your choice; a square of extra-dark chocolate 


omelette of two eggs and courgettes with mixed salad or grilled seasonal vegetables.



Natural tuna salad with lettuce, carrots, 5 green olives, cherry tomatoes, a kiwi, a teaspoon of mixed seeds; oil and lemon


20 g of dehydrated raisins; three nuts 


150 g of chicken breast in coconut milk and curry (or "alla cacciatora", with onion, carrots, celery, tomatoes, garlic, red wine, parsley, rosemary and pepper).



120 g of wild steamed salmon, seasoned with lemon, and a side dish of raw seasonal vegetables


centrifuged (or extract) of orange, carrot and lemon


cream of pumpkin with a teaspoon of kuzu (root with high alkalizing power) and wholemeal croutons; “Cuore di bue” tomato salad with extra virgin olive oil and lemon.

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