If not, then your body is likely to be too acidic, which is predominantly caused by a typical Western lifestyle of high stress levels, low levels of exercise and for most, an unhealthy and acidic diet.
An overly acidic diet and lifestyle is one of the core causes for diseases and illnesses common in our Western world such as high blood pressure, high number of strokes, diabetes, cancer, high obesity levels, low energy levels, fatigue, poor digestion and inflammations just to name a few.
In order to prevent us from such diseases and live a long and healthy life we want to aim for our body to be balanced with more alkalinity, which we can achieve by focusing on foods that alkalize our body and avoid those that acidify it. The alkaline balance of our body is determined by the levels of alkaline minerals, which we can take in through a high consumption of mineral rich foods and secondly through the intake of mineral supplements.
In fact, according to research undertaken at the University Hospital of Freiburg and reported in the Journal of Nutrition, alkaline mineral supplementation definitely does have a positive effect on the pH balance of the body.
In the following article we are going to look at what the primary alkaline minerals are, what their functions are, why they are so important for a pH balanced body and therefore good health, and give a detailed overview of foods with the highest concentration of these important alkaline minerals!
What are the Primary Alkaline Minerals?
The primary minerals which are responsible for creating an alkaline state in our body are
Why are they Alkaline Forming and therefore so important for our Health and Wellbeing?
In order for us to become, and then to stay healthy and fit our body needs to stay in balance. If our body gets out of balance, it cannot work at its most efficient level and the common result is that we increasingly suffer from diseases and illnesses like fatigue, diabetes, heart disease, excess weight, etc. as briefly mentioned above.
We therefore need to create the correct pH balance within our body in order for its metabolic processes to function properly. There are a myriad of factors that influence our pH balance like our emotional and mental state, our levels of physical exercise and to a very significant degree, our diet and the foods we consume on a daily basis.
In this article the emphasis is on the dietary side of things and we will therefore list all the alkaline-mineral rich foods later on.
One of the core questions which arise at this point is, what factors actually determine whether or not certain foods have an alkalising effect on our body?
The simple answer is the primary alkaline minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese and iron.
Why is that?
As we have said before, the main goal is to keep our body in balance and in order to do that we need to rid our bodies off acidic waste like microforms and mycotoxins. In order for us to do this, we need to include as many alkaline-forming foods as possible to our diet. Certain foods have an alkalising effect on the body, as they metabolise and burn down to an ash residue mixed with water once digested.
According to Dr Robert Young, one of the pioneers and key researchers in this field, this ash residue can be neutral, acidic, or alkaline, depending mostly on the mineral content of the foods we eat. Hence the residual effect of food on the pH balance in the body is determined by the mineral content of the food.
Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese and Iron are the primary alkaline minerals as they form basic ash and are alkaline in their elements.
In order to keep our body in an alkaline state, we specifically need to include those foods in our diet that are extremely rich in these primary alkaline minerals.
Laboratory chemical studies of foods have shown that the mineral- and vitamin content of foods has unfortunately declined in the past decades, which has largely been caused by mass farming and the increased use of fertilisers and pesticides. These factors can have an impact on the alkalising effect of foods, which is why organically grown foods and market fresh foods are nutritionally more valuable.
What are the Primary Alkaline Minerals and what are their Core Bodily Functions?
All the primary alkaline minerals are extremely important for the pH balance of our body and for achieving good health. All of them have different health benefits and contribute in their own unique way for staying healthy and our bodily functions to work properly.
We will therefore have a quick overview of their individual health benefits:
What is it?
Magnesium is a mineral found in a wide variety of foods. Inside of our bodies we mostly find magnesium in our bones (60-65%), in our muscles (25%) and in other cell types and body fluids. Magnesium cannot be made in our body like all minerals, which is why we need to take it in through magnesium-rich foods.
What are its Functions?
Magnesium is a mineral that is essential to numerous biological processes in the body. It helps in the absorption of calcium and plays a central role in the formation and strength of bones and teeth. It helps in making sure that the parathyroid glands work normally. The parathyroid glands produce hormones important for bone health.
Magnesium is also vital in maintaining a healthy heart, as it helps to stabilise the rhythm of the heart and aids prevent abnormal blood clotting in the heart.
Apart from that is also helps in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, lowers the chances of heart attacks and strokes, and helps to maintain proper muscle function.
It also helps to turn the food we eat into energy. The metabolic function of magnesium in particular is so complex and diverse, as our cardiovascular system, digestive system, nervous system, muscles, kidneys, liver, hormone-secreting glands, and brain all rely on magnesium for their metabolic function.
What is it?
Calcium is the most abundant minerals found in the body and in some foods. It accounts for about 1.5% of the total body weight. About 99% of calcium is stored in our bones and teeth, where it supports their functions, whereas the remaining 1% supports other functions of our body.
What are its Functions?
Calcium has a plethora of important functions like helping to build strong and dense bones and teeth; it regulates muscle contraction and also makes sure blood clots normally. It also plays a central role in the nerve conduction, muscle contraction, regulation of enzyme activity, and cell membrane function.
According to the Food Standards Agency it is also believed that calcium may help to lower high blood pressure and may help to protect against colon and breast cancer, although more evidence is needed.
What is it?
Potassium is the third most abundant mineral in the body and belongs together with sodium and chloride to the electrolyte family of minerals. They are called electrolytes because they conduct electricity when dissolved in water. About 95% of potassium in the body is stored within the cells.
What are its Functions?
Potassium has got many important functions like controlling the balance of fluids in the body and may also help in lowering blood pressure. The most important function is that it acts as an electrolyte, which means that it takes on a positive or negative charge that helps to regulate blood pressure, helps with muscle contractions and nerve transmission and generally keeps our bodily functions working right.
According to many studies a high intake in potassium-rich foods can also protect you against heart disease and stroke and is vital in maintaining a good pH balance in the body.
What is it?
Iron is one of the most abundant metals on earth and an integral part of many proteins and enzymes that are vital to the health of the human body. Iron is also an essential component of hemoglobin, transporting oxygen to all parts of the body. Dietary iron comes in two forms: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is found only in animal foods, as it is derived from the hemoglobin and myoglobin in animal tissues. Non-heme iron is found in plant foods and dairy products.
What are its Functions?
The core functions of iron are the oxygen distribution and energy production.
Almost two-thirds of iron in the body is found in hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to tissues. Smaller amounts of iron are found in myoglobin, a protein that helps supply oxygen to muscle cells, especially to skeletal muscles and to the heart.
Iron plays a vital role in producing energy as a constituent of several enzymes, it aids in the production of carnitine, and our immune system is dependent on sufficient iron in order to function properly.
Iron deficiency is the most widespread mineral nutritional deficiency both in Britain and worldwide, which is why the intake of iron-rich foods is vital in maintaining good health.
What is it?
Manganese is a trace mineral that participates in many enzyme systems in the body.
What are its Functions?
Manganese supplies alkaline buffers that neutralize acids in the system. Manganese-rich foods can help to keep our bones strong and healthy, maintain normal blood sugar levels, maintain the health of our nerves and protect our cells from free radical damage just to name a few.
Which Foods are Richest in the Primary Alkaline Minerals?
So far we have stressed the importance of keeping our body in an solid pH balanced state, which is predominantly determined by the levels of these important minerals in our body.
As these are contained in many foods we will now look at a variety of mineral rich foods, which are extremely healthy and should therefore be included into our diet as much as possible.
Here is a list of foods which we have categorised by their prime alkaline mineral content:
What Foods are Richest in Magnesium?
Spinach and Swiss chard contain the highest levels of Magnesium and are therefore the best source of magnesium.
Other very good sources are broccoli, mustard greens, summer squash, turnip greens, cucumber, green beans, kale, celery, fennel, asparagus, tomato, Brussels sprouts, peppermint and a variety of seeds like pumpkin-, sunflower-, and sesame- and flax seeds.
What Foods are Richest in Calcium?
The best sources of calcium include similarly to magnesium spinach, turnip greens, collard – and mustard greens.
The next best sources are Swiss chard, kale, goat’s milk and herbs and spices such as basil, thyme, dill seed, cinnamon and peppermint leaves.
Good sources of calcium are broccoli, celery, fennel, Brussels sprouts, sesame seeds, cabbage, romaine lettuce, summer squash, green beans, garlic and asparagus. Herbs like parsley, oregano, rosemary and kelp are also good sources of calcium.
Dairy products are generally high in calcium; however we would not recommend them as sources of calcium due to their acidifying effects on our body. We would recommend goat’s milk as a healthier and ‘mildly alkaline’ alternative to cow’s milk products.
What Foods are Richest in Potassium?
Potassium is abundant in many different types of foods and can easily be found in vegetables.
Great sources of Potassium include spinach and chard.
Foods with high levels of Potassium include fennel, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, mustard greens, aubergine, winter squash and tomatoes.
Other good sources are bell pepper, ginger root, avocado, cucumber, parsley, cauliflower and cabbage.
What Foods are Richest in Iron?
The foods containing the highest amounts of iron include spinach, thyme, chard and turmeric.
Other very good sources include mustard greens, turnip greens, romaine lettuce and string beans.
Brussels sprouts, lentils, garbanzo beans, asparagus, broccoli, kelp and leeks are also high in iron.
What Foods are Richest in Manganese?
Foods such as kale, chard, mustard greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, collard greens, turnip greens, garlic, summer squash, green beans, brown rice, ground cloves, garbanzo beans, thyme, cinnamon, peppermint and turmeric contain the highest levels of manganese.
Other good food sources are broccoli, leeks, cucumber, carrots and black beans.
Are there any High-Quality Alkaline Mineral Supplements?
Generally we would advise not to substitute a healthy and balanced diet with health supplements and therefore emphasise the fact that the best sources of these alkaline minerals are the regular consumption of the foods listed above, as they will provide you with all the alkaline minerals you need.
If you do however dislike some of these foods listed or would like to use a high-quality alkaline mineral supplement in order to increase the levels of intake then we can recommend the following supplements:
- Young pHorever pHour salts
- Young pHorever pHlavor Mineral salts
- pHion Alkaline Minerals
- perfectlyhealthy pH Plus capsules
- Jarrow Mineral Balance capsules
From the food lists above it becomes very obvious that a lot of foods appear in every food list, which shows that particularly some foods are a fantastic source of alkaline minerals and therefore extremely beneficial for good health.
A range of green vegetables like spinach, chard, kale, Brussels sprouts, beans, broccoli, fennel, cucumber, asparagus and chard stand out, as they are all excellent, very good or good sources of the primary alkaline minerals.
All these foods have a highly alkalising effect on our body and should therefore play an integral part in a healthy and balanced diet.
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Note: This blog is only my opinion. It is not medical advice or diagnosis. Only opinions based upon our own personal experiences or information detailed in medical/academic journals or other publications is cited. WE DO NOT OFFER MEDICAL ADVICE or prescribe any treatments. Please consult with a medical professional before making any diet or nutrition changes. Refer to our full disclaimer for more information.