If you, like many of us suffer from the agonizing symptoms of acid reflux, heartburn, or chronic cramps, then it’s time we talked about acidity. Acidic food is a common cause of digestive discomfort, and this time, it’s not just fatty foods and highly processed products. Highly acidic fruit like citrus fruit and other ‘natural’ acid forming foods can also be to blame.
If you are trying to cut down on acid in your diet, read on. Here we’ve brought together a list of non acidic fruits and vegetables, perfect for sensitive tummies. But first, what makes food acidic, and why should I be interested in the pH value in my food…?
What Is the pH Scale?
The pH scale is a very special scale designed to measure the acidity levels of food, compounds, or elements. Think of it as a thermometer, but instead of telling us how hot or cold something is, the pH scale tells us how acidic or alkaline (the opposite of acidic) something is. It does this using a scale from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkaline). The middle point, 7, is considered neutral.
All natural elements lie somewhere on this scale, and we can generalize them into the three main categories – Alkaline, acidic, and neutral.
- Alkaline/Basic >7- 14:
For a compound to be considered Alkaline, also known as basic, it has to have a pH score between seven and 14. Now the higher the number, the more basic the compound is. Human blood, for example, is slightly basic, and our blood pH level lies around 7.4. Household bleach is very basic and has a pH level of 12.3.
- Acidic 0- <7:
On the other end of the scale, we have our acidic compounds with a pH level between zero and less than 7. The lower the number, the more acidic a compound is. Lemon juice, for example, has a pH level of 2,.4, making it very acidic. Milk has a pH level of 6.6, making it only very slightly acidic.
- Neutral 7:
At the midpoint of our scale, we have the number 7, and this is what we would consider neutral. Pure water with a pH level of seven is regarded as the measuring stick as far as neutrality goes.
pH Levels and Your Diet
So what does any of this have to do with your diet? Over the years, many health experts have tried to draw comparisons between the pH levels of the foods in our diets and our health.
You may have even heard about something called the ‘alkaline diet.’ This diet essentially suggested that by consuming many alkaline foods, you can raise your body’s blood pH level to a state of ‘alkalosis.’ Supposedly, this alkaline state is optimal for disease prevention and can miraculously help people fight cancer, heart disease, and other chronic illness. While there is very little medical evidence to back up these claims, there are many different reasons why some people choose to eat low acidic fruits and vegetables.
Our bodies, especially our tummies, are highly susceptible to changes in pH levels and can be strongly affected by the foods we consume. Some people especially have a more challenging time processing acidic foods and can experience discomfort or pain, which may present itself in the form of:
- Acid Reflux
- Heart Burn
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Why Low Acidic Fruits and Vegetables?
The discomfort that these conditions can bring can be debilitating and get in the way of enjoying your day-to-day life. While we always suggest consulting with a medical professional if you experience extreme or prolonged discomfort, there are some simple changes you can make to your diet which may help manage symptoms.
If you have already cut out typical processed foods like coca-cola and other soft drinks, it may be time to consider the acidity levels in your fruits and vegetables.
Processed fruit juice, especially apple juice, cranberry juice, and orange juice, are full of ascorbic acid and citric acid and should be the first to go if you are suffering from reflux symptoms.
Fresh fruits and vegetables can also be surprisingly acidic. Even small quantities can irritate the lining of your throat and stomach, raising the pH value of your stomach acid leading to discomfort. That is why you might feel pain after eating a grapefruit (pH 2.9) or a bowl of blueberries (pH 4.3).
However, cutting out all the fresh fruits and vegetables from your diet isn’t the best option. While it’s pretty easy to figure out what product doesn’t work for you, sometimes it’s more challenging to understand what you can consume. We’ve created this list of non acidic fruits and our list of non acidic vegetables, full of better options for delicate tummies.
List of Non Acidic fruits and Vegetables
List of Non Acidic Fruits
While it is hard for any fruit to have 0% acidity, this list of low acidic fruits is a cornucopia of fruits with low acidic values. Whether you are looking for non acidic fruits for gastritis, heartburn, or any other reason, these fruits should be at the top of your shopping list.
Remember, some fruits, like bananas, change their acidity levels as they ripen, and you should take this into consideration. Try removing their skins before eating if you still have trouble digesting certain low or non acidic fruits, especially those with higher levels like kiwi or peaches.
- Avocados (pH 6.27-6.58)
- Persimmon, Fuyu (pH 6.25)
- Cantaloupe (pH 6.13-6.58)
- Olives, black (pH 6.00-7.00)
- Honeydew melon (pH 6.00-6.67)
- Mangoes, ripe (pH 5.80-6.00)
- Dates (pH 5.49)
- Honeydew (pH 5.42)
- Papaya (pH 5.20-6.00)
- Watermelon (pH 5.18-5.60)
- Pear, Bosc (pH 5.15)
- Figs, Calamyrna (pH 5.05-5.98)
- Pumpkin (pH 4.99-5.50)
- Bananas (pH 4.50-5.20)
- Kiwi (pH 4.84)
- Peach (pH 3.3-4.05)
Non Acidic Vegetables List
Luckily for us, there is a wide range of non acidic vegetables ready to fill up your plate. As a general rule, the best veggies to look out for are the infamous dark, green leafy sort, like kale and spinach, synonymous with healthy living. Let’s check some other options out:
- Broccoli (pH 6.30-6.85)
- Asparagus (pH 6.00-6.70)
- Mushrooms (pH 6.00-6.70)
- Soybeans (pH 6.00-6.60)
- Brussels sprouts (pH 6.00-6.30)
- Corn (pH 5.90-7.50)
- Carrots (pH 5.88-6.40)
- Radishes (pH 5.85-6.05)
- Celery (pH 5.70-6.00)
- Hearts of palm (pH 5.70)
- String beans (pH 5.60)
- Cauliflower (pH 5.60)
- Spinach (pH 5.50-6.80)
- Eggplant (pH 5.50-6.0)
- Okra, cooked (pH 5.50-6.60)
- Potatoes (pH 5.40-5.90)
- Parsnip (pH 5.30-5.70)
- Cabbage (pH 5.20-6.80)
- Acorn squash (pH 5.18-6.49)
- Cucumbers (pH 5.12-5.78)
Is a Low Acid Diet Right for You?
Are you thinking about making the change to a low acidic diet? A low acidic diet, like the GERD diet or the acid reflux diet, can help those suffering from upsets such as acid reflux symptoms and heartburn.
These diets advocate cutting out the highly acidic foods like citrus fruit and red meat and filling up your plate with alkaline foods or other low acid food. In addition to low acid fruit and vegetable, low acid food includes certain foods like soy foods, whole grains, and pulses such as beans and lentils.
These so-called ‘alkaline food’ types reduce acid production and help ease digestional discomfort. Combining these foods with low acid fruits and vegetable is a go-to recipe for a calm stomach.
Additionally, alkaline foods are typically full of vitamins and minerals, further improving your overall health and sense of wellbeing. Give a low acid diet a go and see how your tummy feels.
What You Need to Care About While Choosing Non Acidic Fruits and Vegetables
Like always, we recommend consuming fresh, locally grown (wherever possible) fruit and vegetables which have been minimally processed. Some companies use citric acid as a preservative on so-called ‘fresh produce,’ like bagged carrots or cut fruits. Always check out the ingredients on the nutritional information to avoid any nasty surprises!
It’s also essential to wash your veggies before consuming, as the skin can be full of preservatives and other dangerous pesticides or contaminants.
If you are suffering from symptoms of digestive discomfort, then it may be time to consider the pH value of the foods you consume. Cut out the highly processed foods full of acid, and fill your diet with these non acidic vegetables and fruits. Try it, even just for a week, and see what a difference a low acid diet can make in your life.
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Rosily Ryan is an experienced health and fitness writer, editor, and health activist in Sydney, Australia. She’s written for several publications like Pure Green Magazine.