Many people have turned to an Alkaline Diet to manage health issues and become healthier overall. Backed by scientific evidence and clear reasoning, an Alkaline Diet is one of the healthiest decisions you can make. However, there are many foods and drinks that you are going to have to pass up to properly stick with an Alkaline Dite.
Are blueberries one of these foods?
Some people have gone as far as calling blueberries the “World’s Healthiest Food,” notably because of the incredible antioxidant properties of blueberries. However, blueberries do not perfectly fit an Alkaline Diet
There are many impressive benefits of eating blueberries, and they generally are one of the most nutritional options you have.
Blueberries are slightly acidic, which is why some people refrain from them when they are on an Alkaline Diet.
Want to know more about whether blueberries are acidic or not, and if they fit an Alkaline Diet?
Keep reading below!
What is an Alkaline Diet?
In simple terms, an Alkaline Diet improves the pH balance within your body. PH stands for “potential of hydrogen,” and acts as a chart for acidity and alkalinity for our bodies and food.
Water has a neutral pH of 7.0 and is the “base” for charting pH balance. Anything with under a pH of 7.0 is acidic, and anything with a pH of over 7.0 is alkaline. According to various studies, the ideal pH range for our human bodies is between 6.0 and 6.8
Due to the normal Western Diet and constant overfarming (which reduces the amounts of minerals in our food), many people throughout the world suffer from a disproportionate pH balance.
Higher levels of acidity in the human body leads to multiple health problems, and is potentially the cause of numerous health issues.
According to a study conducted by the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, health benefits of an Alkaline Diet include:
- The Alkaline Diet forces you to eat more fruits and vegetables, which should improve the potassium to sodium ration within your body. An improved potassium to sodium ratio can improve bone health, reduce muscle wasting, reduce the chance of hypertension and stroke.
- The Alkaline Diet will increase growth hormone production, improving cardiovascular health, memory, cognitive function, and much more.
- An Alkaline Diet will increase intracellular magnesium, which is required for the function of many systems within the body. Magnesium is responsible for activating Vitamin D, so increased magnesium should assuredly promote more benefits of Vitamin D as well.
There are certainly other benefits of an Alkaline Diet; these are only a few notable benefits.
What Makes a Food Acidic?
Contrary to popular belief, an acidic food is not (necessarily) sour, and the taste of a food does not have a direct effect on whether it is alkaline or not.
Instead, a general strategy for determining whether food is alkaline or acidic is to compare the mineral content to sugar content. Foods which are high in natural minerals normally are alkaline, while foods which are high in sugar and low in minerals normally are acidic.
Instead of considering whether a food or drink is sour or not, imagine the reaction of the food in your stomach.
Animal foods are highly acid-forming, especially since they contain loads of amino acids.
Acid animal foods include:
Along with these animal foods, refined carbohydrates are another food group which is highly acidic. Examples of acidic carbohydrates include:
- Jam or Jelly
Along with these, there are other foods which are highly acidic that you would not have expected. Other acidic foods include:
Are Blueberries Acidic?
Blueberries are rich in nutrients, yet low in calories. If you are looking for help with improving your overall health, blueberries are generally an excellent option. They are the most nutrient-dense berry and are readily available throughout many parts of the world.
Blueberries contain 85% water, and a cup of blueberries contains only 84 calories.
Other nutrients that you can find in one cup of blueberries include:
- Vitamin K: 36% of the Recommended Daily Allowance
- Vitamin C: 24% of the Recommended Daily Allowance
- Manganese: 25% of the Recommended Daily Allowance
- 4 grams of Fiber
Unfortunately, one of the other main nutrients in blueberries is sugar. Even though it is a natural source of sugar, blueberries contain about 15 grams of carbohydrates per cup.
Although there are numerous health benefits of blueberries, sadly, blueberries are an acidic food. Blueberries and other berries are generally high in sugar. Regardless of their other health benefits, blueberries are not great for an Alkaline Diet.
However, that does not mean you need to stop eating blueberries immediately. Although they are acidic, blueberries are only slightly acidic.
Blueberries contain many minerals and antioxidants, which cancel out many of the acid-forming effects.
For those people who are using an Alkaline Diet and considering to eat blueberries or not, they are not the worst option for you. However, there are many other tasty fruits which have more alkaline properties.
Unless you are on a very strict Alkaline Diet, there are enough benefits of blueberries that you probably don’t want to remove them from your diet completely.
Check out these reasons to eat blueberries, listed below!
Blueberries Contain Potent Antioxidants
According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, data indicates that blueberries are a rich source of antioxidants.
The antioxidants in blueberries are extremely powerful, and they help protect your body from damage by unstable molecules and free radical cells which would damage your cellular structure otherwise. The damage of cellular structures could lead to diseases such as cancer, and speed-up the aging process overall.
Blueberries contain the highest antioxidant capacity among common fruits and vegetables, making them an incredibly valuable source of nutrition. Blueberries contain antioxidants that belong to the family of polyphenols known as flavonoids, which is responsible for the radiant blue color as well.
Anthocyanins (which is one of the groups of flavonoids), is believed to be responsible for many health benefits of blueberries.
If you are going to choose to eat blueberries, even on an Alkaline Diet, it is important to understand the difference between organically grown blueberries and conventional farming tactics.
As stated in a study conducted by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, fruit quality, antioxidant capacity, and flavonoid content are all significantly higher in organically grown blueberries. Choosing organic blueberries is an excellent way to intake high-quality antioxidants and protect your body from oxidative stress!
Blueberries Reduce DNA Damage
Along with the other benefits of the antioxidant-content in blueberries, one one of the most important benefits is that they protect our DNA from damage.
Part of our everyday life is the oxidative DNA damage, which is said to occur about tens of thousands of times daily in every cell of the body. The DNA damage is one of the factors that cause us to grow older, and it aids the development of diseases such as cancer.
The antioxidants in blueberries help neutralize many of the free radical cells which damage the DNA.
The results from several studies reveal that blueberries can indeed protect your body against DNA damage.
Eating Blueberries Lower Blood Pressure
Blueberries are believed to provide remarkable health benefits for people with high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for some of the leading killer diseases.
According to a study produced in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,
“Daily blueberry consumption may reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness, which may be due, in part, to increased nitric oxide production.”
Lowering blood pressure is one of the most important health benefits of blueberries since high blood pressure is a major cause of stroke, heart attack, and other deathly diseases.
Although there are many medications on the market for lowering blood pressure, numerous people are searching for a natural alternative.
Blueberries have repeatedly proven they are an effective aid for lowering blood pressure.
Blueberries Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels
For those of you who do not know, increased levels of LDL lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) can have many negative effects on your body. Not only is too much LDL cholesterol the cause of health issues, but it is also a signaling factor that your health is not good as well.
One of the crucial steps in the development of heart disease is the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
A study conducted in The Journal of Nutrition concluded that,
“Blueberries may improve selected features of metabolic syndrome and related cardiovascular risk factors at dietary achievable doses.”
In another study, research proved that
“a practically consumable quantity of blueberries (75 g) can provide statistically significant oxidative protection.”
Eating blueberries is a natural way to help those dealing with cholesterol issues.
Blueberries Help Maintain Brain Function
The brain aging process can be accelerated by oxidative stress, which has several negative impacts on the brain function. Based on a six-year study published in the Annals of Neurology of 16,010 elderly participants, researchers discovered that eating strawberries and blueberries is associated with delays in cognitive aging by about 2.5 years!
As stated in the research study,
“Greater intakes of blueberries and strawberries were associated with slower rates of cognitive decline.”
Concluding Thoughts on Blueberries and an Alkaline Diet
Although blueberries are an acidic food, you should not count them out of your diet yet. Unless you are adhering to a very strict Alkaline Diet, blueberries are an excellent health food to eat.
Along with the benefits listed above, other health benefits of blueberries include:
- Blueberries possess anti-diabetic effects that help improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels
- Blueberries may be useful in fighting urinary tract infections because they possess substances that potentially prevent certain bacteria from clinging to the wall of the urinary bladder
- Blueberries can lower the level of muscle damage after strenuous exercise
One of the most striking features of blueberries is their taste. Despite their health benefits; they are very sweet and colorful.
You can enjoy them fresh or frozen; and results from new studies reveal that freezing blueberries does not damage the delicate anthocyanin antioxidants!
Overall, blueberries are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Even though they are a naturally acidic food, eating blueberries is an excellent option for your overall health!