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does the alkaline diet help balance internal pH and can alkaline foods help naturally ward off cancer

Incorporating more alkaline foods through an Alkaline diet may improve bone health, reduce the risk factors for hypertension and stroke and help prevent muscle wasting.1

Alkaline Diet

What is an alkaline diet? – The alkaline diet, which is also known as the acid alkaline diet (or alkaline ash diet) is based on the theory that minerals found in various types of food can affect the pH balance of your body.2

The alkaline diet plan includes fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts and legumes, as well as minimal meat and dairy consumption, which proponents believe help regulate your blood pH.1

As our blood is naturally alkaline, the high-alkaline diet is based on the theory that consuming a highly acidic diet can upset the body’s internal balance, and create an environment that may foster the development of diseases.

Advocates believe that eating alkaline food can promote higher energy levels, increase stamina, and improve digestion.1 Additionally, individuals that consume foods high in alkaline anecdotally report increased focus and mental clarity.

Alkaline Diet Cancer Theories

Currently, there is a lack of evidence that either supports or disapproves the theory that a high-alkaline diet may help inhibit the development of cancer.

Studies have also shown that cancer cells thrive in a low pH (acidic) environment, but they will not survive in alkaline (high pH) surroundings. There are also reports that cellular pH becomes more alkaline after chemotherapy.1

Studies related to an alkaline diet, cancer prevention and lifestyle changes revealed that dietary changes can alter urine pH levels. In addition, a study done on a relation between bladder cancer, alkaline water and acid load noted that some of the alkaline diet foods may have cancer-protective qualities.2

However, acid-base balance is regulated by our body’s natural kidney and lung functions.3 It’s impossible to permanently alter the cell environment in your body in order to create a less-acidic environment to prevent cancer.

Alkaline Diet for Weight Loss

If you’re considering the alkaline diet for weight loss, the diet will require you to cut back on non-alkaline foods like wheat, certain meat, refined sugars, caffeine, processed foods and alcohol. As a result, some individuals may lose weight on the alkaline diet, as they increase their intake of fresh, unprocessed foods.3

What is a high-alkaline diet good for? – In addition to an emphasis on fresh food and potential weight loss, alkaline diet benefits include improvements in cardiovascular health and an increase in growth hormone which may positively influence cognition and memory.1

Studies also show that consuming more alkaline producing foods may improve K/Na (potassium to sodium) ratios, reduce muscle wasting, help maintain bone health and reduce risk factors for hypertension and stroke.1

It may also provide an increase in intracellular magnesium, which is needed for enzyme systems and to activate vitamin D.3

Alkaline Foods

For those wondering what are alkaline foods, an item’s pH value has to fall between 7-14 on the pH scale. The pH scale ranges from 0-14, where 0-7 is acidic and 7 is considered neutral. Consuming high alkaline foods and drinks consistently is a key principle in the alkaline diet. Supporters are encouraged to monitor the pH value of their urine with test strips frequently. As pH values vary slightly from person to person, documenting and keeping track of changes is considered helpful for monitoring progress.

List of Alkaline Foods

The following alkaline food list cover the main foods that have an alkaline effect on the body. Followers should consume a mix of the following food groups on a regular basis.


  • Alfalfa Grass
  • Asparagus
  • Barley Grass
  • Beet
  • Black Radish
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Celery
  • Chives
  • Comfrey
  • Cucumber
  • Dandelion
  • Endive
  • French Cut Green Beans
  • Garlic
  • Green Cabbage
  • Horseradish
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lamb’s Lettuce
  • Leeks (Bulbs)
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Red Cabbage
  • Red Radish
  • Rhubarb Stalks
  • Rutabaga
  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Shave Grass
  • Sorrel
  • Soy Sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Sprouted Chia Seeds
  • Sprouted Radish Seeds
  • Straw Grass
  • Turnip
  • Watercress
  • Wheat Grass
  • White Cabbage
  • White Radish
  • Zucchini


  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Black Currant
  • Blueberry
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherry
  • Coconut (fresh)
  • Cranberry
  • Currant
  • Date
  • Gooseberry (ripe)
  • Grapes (ripe)
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon (fresh)
  • Limes
  • Mandarin
  • Mango
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Pineapple
  • Plum
  • Raspberry
  • Red Currant
  • Strawberry
  • Tangerine
  • Tomato
  • Watermelon
  • Yellow Plum

Non-Stored Organic Grains & Legumes

  • Buckwheat Groats
  • Granulated Soy
  • Lentils
  • Lima Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Soy Flour
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Soy Nuts
  • Soybeans
  • Spelt
  • Tofu
  • White Beans


  • Almonds
  • Brazil Nuts


  • Caraway Seeds
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Wheat Kernel

Fats (Cold-Pressed Oils)

  • Borage Oil
  • Evening Primrose Oil
  • Flax Seed Oil
  • Marine Lipids
  • Olive Oil


  • Coconut water
  • Lime water
  • Fresh lemon
  • Fresh veggie juices
  • Green and herbal teas
  • Wheat grass

While the above list highlights many alkaline food options, the answers for some popular health conscious options may be less clear. For those wondering if oatmeal is an alkaline food, the answer is not as straightforward. Oatmeal is considered slightly acidic, particularly when topped with acidic condiments such as sugar. While it may be okay to include now and then, it should not be a staple among your alkaline breakfast foods.

Is apple cider vinegar an alkaline food? – Although it may seem contrary to an alkaline diet, apple cider vinegar is alkaline-forming, unlike other vinegars such as white or red wine. In fact, it’s considered by some to be one of the top alkalizing foods that may help with acid reflux and promote digestion.

If you suffer from acid reflux, there are some additional alkaline foods for GERD. Coconut water or water with lemon may help alleviate painful, burning sensations. Additionally, foods high in glutamine, such as fish, spinach and parsley may help reduce inflammation associated with acid reflux.4

While these examples of alkaline foods for acid reflux may help prevent future outbreaks, read our article on natural heartburn remedies for quick-acting relief.

Alkaline Food Chart

The alkaline foods chart below outlines foods that are alkaline on a scale from most acidic to most alkaline. You can read the acid/alkaline food chart it from left to right, using the food categories in the middle to compare various acidic vs. alkaline foods.

Whether you decide to follow this diet or not, most alkaline foods are healthy for you, but it is important to note that it is not meant to prevent cancer, or other illnesses.

alkaline food chart including list of alkaline foods and drinks and alkaline vs acidic foods groups

For an easy comparison of alkaline vs. acidic foods, the BHO Alkaline Food Chart breaks down alkaline foods by categories to help you identify the top alkalizing items.

Scientific Research Referenced in this Article

  1. Schwalfenberg, G. K. (2012) The Alkaline Diet: Is there evidence that an alkaline ph Diet Benefits Health? Journal of Environmental Public Health. 2011. doi: 1155/2012/727630
  2. Fenton, T. R. & Huang, T. (2016). Systematic review of the association between dietary acid load, alkaline water and cancer. BMJ Open. Doi. https://dx.doi.org/10.1136%2Fbmjopen-2015-010438 .
  3. American Institute for Cancer Research. (n.d.). Alkaline Diets. Retrieved September 25, 2017 – View Reference
  4. Krishna Rao, R. (2012). Role of Glutamine in Protection of Intestinal Epithelial Tight Junctions.Journal of Epithelial Biology and Pharmacology5(1), 47-54. doi: 2174/1875044301205010047