Acidic Foods & Depression: What’s on Your Plate?


There is increasing evidence that a link exists between depression and inflammation, or inflammatory disease.

Although it is not known whether inflammation causes depression, it is a possibility that researchers continue to study.

Inflammation occurs when our pH balance is skewed. Too much acid in our system can inflame the body’s tissues. Our blood needs to be a bit more alkaline (7.365) than acidic if we are to enjoy good health. Diet, stress, environmental toxins, and medications all influence our pH balance.

We have the most influence over our blood’s pH levels through our choice of food.

Acid Forming Foods

  • - Artificial sweeteners
  • - Refined (processed) grains
  • - Processed sugars
  • - Conventionally produced dairy and meat products
  • - Foods with genetically modified organisms

All foods that go through our digestive system and metabolize are transformed into a substance that is either acidic or alkaline. What makes food primarily acidic or alkaline is its makeup of inorganic material such as potassium, sulfur, calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium.

If our body does not receive enough alkaline nutrition, it takes what it needs from tissues and bones. This interferes with the body’s ability to repair itself and dispose of toxic heavy metals. The result is a higher risk for fatigue and a variety of illnesses, which may include depression.

If you are concerned that your diet might be too acidic, the easiest solution is to eat more alkaline foods.

Five Alkaline Forming Foods

  1. Leafy greens are not only alkaline but also provide necessary fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and are good for vision health. Excellent leafy green choices are Swiss chard, kale, spinach, and turnip greens.
  2. Root veggies are highly alkaline and also brimming with minerals. They include beets, carrots, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, and horseradish.
  3. Cruciferous veggies, also full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.
  4. Cayenne pepper, or capsicum, has many health benefits. Besides being very alkalizing, it is full of vitamin A, enhances our endocrine system, and has antibacterial properties.
  5. Garlic, another excellent alkaline forming food, also lowers blood pressure, detoxes the liver, supports heart health, and a strong immune system.

The common-sense thing to do, especially if you eat a typical American diet high in processed foods, is to add alkaline foods to your daily intake. If you have depression, this may or may not help relieve it, but you will be healthier for doing it anyway.

If you are worried about your pH balance, have your doctor check your pH by measuring the level of C-reactive proteins in your body, which increase as the body becomes more acidic.

Sources: JAMA Psychiatry and Scientific American


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