[Updated June 16, 2019]
An alkaline fruit- and vegetable-based diet is the cornerstone of my approach to bone and total health. It’s such an easy and efficient (and delicious) way to provide your body with many key nutrients it needs for bone health and it reduces the acid load that burdens your bones and your kidneys — the two body systems most involved in neutralizing and excreting metabolic acids that contribute to bone calcium loss.
Comprehensive research has documented that regaining a healthy, slightly alkaline pH balance reduces both urinary calcium losses and unwanted bone breakdown, as well as making it easier for your kidneys to function efficiently.
What’s more, excessive calcium loss has been shown by a meta-analysis of 14 scientific studies to be related to a high acid load. Noted researcher Dr. Lynda Frassetto and colleagues reported a few years back that metabolic acids can be neutralized with either potassium citrate or potassium bicarbonate to conserve calcium and reduced unwanted bone breakdown. And clinical studies in patients with chronic kidney disease show that high fruit and vegetable intake can reduce metabolic acidosis (which harms both bones and kidneys).
Alkalize with delicious summer fruits and vegetables
Now that we know why we should choose wholesome in-season fruits and veggies for bone health, what’s out there, and how good is it for alkalizing your body? Here are my top alkaline diet choices:
Limes and lemons
Greens: kale, collards, mustard, endive, arugula, lettuce
These lists are far from comprehensive— in another blog post I came up with 99 ways you could get 9 daily servings of alkalizing fruits and vegetables!. However, it’s my experience that most of us can’t achieve the ideal pH with diet alone. So many acid-producing activities in our modern lifestyles mean that most of us need to complement our diets with high-quality alkalizing mineral compounds. Luckily, alkalizing is not as difficult as you might think. You can start rebalancing your pH with my Alkaline for Life pH Test Kit.
Lambert, H, Frassetto, L et al. the effect of supplementation with alkaline potassium salts on bone metabolism—a meta-analysis. Osteoporosis International, published online 9 January 2015. DOI 10.1007/s00198-014-3006-9
Giannini, S, et al. Hypercalciuria is a common an important finding in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. European Journal of Endocrinology, September 2003;149:209-213.
Goraya, N, Simoni, J, et al. Treatment of metabolic acidosis in patients with stage 3 chronic kidney disease with fruits and vegetables or oral bicarbonate reduces urine angiotensinogen and preserves glomerular filtration rate. Kidney Int 2014;1031-1038.
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and speaker. Get my free weekly newsletter here.