Alkaline diets have become increasingly popular as a natural solution for weight loss, boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation. While many celebrities are bringing the message of alkaline diet foods to the masses, eating alkaline isn’t just a new Hollywood FAD diet.

What is an Alkaline Diet?

An alkaline diet simply means you’re eating more foods that alkalize your blood.

All foods are either acidic or alkaline. A food is categorized as acidic or alkaline based on the impact it has on the body’s pH once it’s been metabolized, not based on its taste.

For example, it intuitively makes sense to categorize lemons and apple cider vinegar as acidifying foods based on their physical properties and flavor. Surprisingly, both of these foods actually have an alkalizing impact on the blood once they’ve been metabolized.

The acid-alkaline balance of our blood is measured on the pH scale, which ranges from 0-14. Zero is considered highly acidic, while 14 is highly alkaline. As you can see, our ideal pH is neutral: neither too acidic or alkaline. When our pH is in balance, we have more energy, our immune system is strong, weight loss is easier and our skin even looks brighter. In short, a balanced pH allows us to feel our best.

On the other hand, if our pH tips too far to either end of the scale, serious health symptoms can result.

You see, when our blood becomes too acidic, we’re more prone to irritability, a loss of concentration and focus, frequent illness and unexplained fatigue. Acidic blood also creates the ideal environment for chronic diseases to thrive in, such as cancer. While it’s rare, high alkaline blood can also cause symptoms such as twitching, tingling and numbness, confusion and muscle spasms.

As suggested above, our blood’s pH is directly impacted by the foods we eat. Unfortunately, today’s modern diet is comprised primarily of acidic foods. Cow’s milk, eggs, meat, white flour, white sugar, artificial sweeteners and vegetable oils are considered highly acidic to the body. And please don’t shoot the messenger here, but cheese is the number one acidifying food available to us today.

Alkaline diet foods include all leafy greens, fruit and vegetables, as well as algae, sea vegetables, ginger, olives, and coconuts. Quinoa, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds and almonds are also alkaline. Since our diets tend to be higher in acidic foods, it’s important to make healthy alkaline swaps wherever possible.

Swapping acidic foods for alkaline diet foods will help keep your pH balance optimal, so you can reap the rewards of glowing health. Here are 7 healthy alkaline diet swaps.

1. Dairy for Coconut Milk

While there’s nothing more refreshing than ice cream on a hot summer’s day, dairy products leave the blood acidic. For this reason, it’s best to substitute cow’s milk for a non-dairy alternative such as unsweetened coconut milk whenever possible. Coconuts are high in healthy fats and several alkaline minerals, such as potassium.

If you’re not a coconut fan, you can also swap out dairy products for unsweetened almond milk, which is another alkalizing nut milk alternative.

And if you’re wondering how you’ll survive without ice cream, don’t worry. As it turns out, ice cream isn’t off limits on an alkaline diet when it’s made with coconut milk.

2. Refined Sugar for Green Leaf Stevia

Not only is refined sugar acidifying to your blood, it also wreaks havoc on all of your organs, has the potential to destroy your cells and upsets the delicate balance of your hormones. Regularly consuming high amounts of refined sugar can also lead to metabolic conditions such as type II diabetes.

For these reasons, one of the best alkaline diet food swaps you can make is to substitute white sugar for a natural, alkaline plant sweetener such as green leaf stevia. As a plant sweetener, green leaf stevia has been shown to have no negative impact on blood sugar levels, and has an alkalizing effect on the blood.

Green leaf stevia can be found at your local health food store and comes in powdered or liquid form. Just be sure that you’re buying pure stevia, as many brands have manufactured their own version of stevia that can include additives and artificial sweeteners such as sucralose. You can use green leaf stevia in place of sugar with any beverage or recipe you choose.

3. White Flour Pasta for Spiralized Zucchini

One of the easiest ways to sneak alkaline diet foods into your meals is to eat more pasta— that is, when your pasta is made from spiralized zucchini.

Zucchini noodles are virtually flavorless, which means they pair well with all of your favorite pasta sauces. Even if your favorite pasta dish includes animal protein, such as beef, swapping zucchini noodles for white flour pasta will help lower the overall acidity of your meal.

Zucchini spiralizers are easy to find. Most home accessory stores carry them for under $20, and they can be ordered online.

4. Vegetable Oil for Coconut Oil

Vegetable oils such as canola oil, corn oil and soybean oil are highly processed with toxic chemicals that can destroy your cells and acidify your blood. You can easily swap out vegetable oils for a more alkaline option, such as coconut oil.

Coconut oil is also a stable cooking oil that can withstand high temperatures, unlike other alkaline oils such as flaxseed oil or olive oil.

5. Peanuts for Pumpkin Seeds

Since peanuts are acidifying, all foods peanut related should be swapped out for an alkaline nut or seed, such as pumpkin seeds.  Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, make a great snack and can be lightly salted with a sprinkle of Himalayan rock salt, or added to a salad for a boost of plant protein and healthy fats.

6. Cheese for Nutritional Yeast

I hear you- nothing can completely replace cheese. But nutritional yeast is a close second, and it’s an alkaline diet food that will make your cells rejoice. Nutritional yeast is typically grown from molasses, which is why it contains several vitamins and minerals. It has a flaky texture and tastes remarkably similar to cheddar cheese.

Nutritional yeast can enhance the flavor of any salad dressing, pasta sauce or soup recipe that calls for cheese. And best of all, it doesn’t go moldy.

7. Coffee for Green Tea

The initial thought of giving up coffee can seem like a drag. Tweet - But when you begin to experience natural energy from alkaline diet foods, you’ll hardly remember to order a coffee

A healthy alkaline diet swap for coffee is green tea, or matcha green tea. While green tea still contains a small amount of caffeine, it doesn’t go through the roasting process that coffee does, which is how coffee becomes acidic.

Green tea with lemon and a touch of green leaf stevia is the perfect alkaline beverage for a morning kick start or mid-afternoon boost.

As you can see, an alkaline diet isn’t complicated, strict or boring. In fact, an alkaline diet isn’t a diet at all. Eating alkaline diet foods simply means you’re choosing to eat more of the whole, vitamin and mineral-rich foods found in nature that support your overall health and well-being.

What Are Your Favorite Alkalizing Foods? Share Your Thoughts In The Comments Below!