So many of you who have seen my super comprehensive Acid / Alkaline Food Chart ask me – “…which are the most alkaline foods?” so I wanted to create a full, in-depth analysis blog post to show you what they are, how to cook with them and what their benefits are (with real, proper scientific research)!
What Are the Most Alkaline Foods?
The most alkaline foods, as determined by their quantity of the nutrients that make them alkaline-forming are:
- Capsicum/Bell Pepper
For each of these seven most alkaline foods I’ve given an intro, nutritional content per 1 cup, a number of free alkaline recipes that I’ve created (that are either on this site or in the Alkaline Diet Recipe System) and also a handful of research papers that have been published to validate the benefits stated.
Of course, this list could go on and on into the hundreds of foods – but I am all about getting the maximum benefit for the minimum effort – so if you just focus on these seven foods you’ll be bursting with energy and vitality.
The Seven Most Alkaline Foods
ALL leafy greens should be eaten in abundance but spinach is my absolute favourite because it’s easy to buy, easy to use in recipes and salads and is delicious. Baby spinach or fully grown spinach are nutritional powerhouses and are incredibly alkaline.
As with all green foods, spinach is rich in chlorophyll (see more about the health benefits of chlorophyll here), a potent alkaliser and blood builder.
It is also super high in vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin c, vitamin b2, calcium, potassium, vitamin e, dietary fibre…need I go on?
I doubt there is a more all round healthy food on earth and I highly encourage you to eat spinach throughout the day, every day.
Nutrients per 1 Cup
Vitamin K – 1110% RDA
Vitamin A – 337.3% RDA
Manganese – 84% RDA
Folate – 65.7% RDA
Magnesium – 38% RDA
Iron – 35% RDA
Vitamin C – 31% RDA
Vitamin B2 – 27% RDA
Calcium – 25% RDA
Potassium – 23% RDA
Vitamin E – 21% RDA
Fiber – 19% RDA
Live Energized Alkaline Recipes Containing Spinach
Research on Spinach
- Spinach as a powerful antioxidant: Manach C, Scalbert A, Morand C, Rémésy C, Jiménez L. Polyphenols: food sources and bioavailability. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 May;79(5):727-47. 2004. PMID:15113710.
- Spinach intake and ovarian cancer reduction: Gates MA, Tworoger SS, Hecht JL, De Vivo I, Rosner B, Hankinson SE. A prospective study of dietary flavonoid intake and incidence of epithelial ovarian cancer. Int J Cancer. 2007 Apr 30; [Epub ahead of print] 2007. PMID:17471564.
- Spinach intake and breast cancer: M P Longnecker, P A Newcomb, R Mittendorf, E R Greenberg and W C Willett. Intake of carrots, spinach, and supplements containing vitamin A in relation to risk of breast cancer. 1997. American Association for Cancer Research.
- Spinach and reversing motor and neuronal aging: James A. Joseph, Barbara Shukitt-Hale, Natalia A. Denisova,Donna Bielinski, Antonio Martin, John J. McEwen, and Paula C. Bickford. Reversals of Age-Related Declines in Neuronal Signal Transduction, Cognitive, and Motor Behavioral Deficits with Blueberry, Spinach, or Strawberry Dietary Supplementation. 1999. The Journal of Neuroscience.
Long known in the alkaline circles as one of the most alkaline foods, kale is another leafy green beauty that is widely known for its cancer-fighting, cholesterol-lowering, antioxidant-rich, detoxifying goodness.
Less popular than spinach, but only because it has a history of being cooked poorly (like cabbage) – when done right it is absolutely delicious (see recipes below, you’ll thank me).
If you eat kale 2-3 times per week you’ll know it. Like spinach it is massively high in vitamin k, vitamin a and vitamin c and being leafy green it also has a huge chlorophyll content.
The reason it is so powerful against the cancer fight is that kale contains at least four glucosinolates. I don’t want to lose you here by using words like glucosinolates – all you need to know is that as soon as you eat and digest kale, these glucosinolates are really easily converted by the body into cancer fighting compounds.
Also quite amazing for lowering cholesterol, it should be noted that steamed kale is more effective for cholesterol lowering than raw.
Nutrients Per 1 Cup:
Vitamin K: 1327% RDA
Vitamin A: 354% RDA
Vitamin C: 88.8% RDA
Manganese: 27% RDA
Fiber: 12% RDA
Calcium: 11% RDA
Magnesium: 11% RDA
Iron: 9% RDA
Omgega 3: 7% RDA
Live Energized Alkaline Recipes Containing Kale:
Chickpea & Kale Rolls with Tomato Salsa
Kale & Chickpea Mash
Research on Kale:
- Ambrosone CB, Tang L. Cruciferous vegetable intake and cancer prevention: role of nutrigenetics. Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2009 Apr;2(4):298-300. 2009.
- Angeloni C, Leoncini E, Malaguti M, et al. Modulation of phase II enzymes by sulforaphane: implications for its cardioprotective potential. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jun 24;57(12):5615-22. 2009.
- Bhattacharya A, Tang L, Li Y, et al. Inhibition of bladder cancer development by allyl isothiocyanate. Carcinogenesis. 2010 Feb;31(2):281-6. 2010
- Higdon JV, Delage B, Williams DE, et al. Cruciferous Vegetables and Human Cancer Risk: Epidemiologic Evidence and Mechanistic Basis. Pharmacol Res. 2007 March; 55(3): 224-236. 2007.
- Zhang Y. Allyl isothiocyanate as a cancer chemopreventive phytochemical. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010 Jan;54(1):127-35. 2010.
The beauty of cucumber is it’s water content – 95%. That is phenomenal and you won’t find that anywhere else. It’s the daddy of water-content. This of course makes it an incredibly hydrating food to consume, that ALSO contains superb amounts of antioxidants, including the super-important lignans. These highly beneficial polyphenols have more commonly been associated with the cruciferous vegetables, but their content in other veggies such as cucumbers is gaining more and more attention.
Cucumbers contain a right load of lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol (don’t try to pronounce), three lignans that have a huge and very strong history of research in connection with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease as well as several cancer types, including breast, uterine, ovarian, and prostate cancers.
The best thing about cucumber is that they provide the base for practically every alkaline soup, smoothie and juice – giving you a very alkaline, very nutritious base that also tastes great.
In terms of the actual nutrient RDA per serve, cucumbers contain fair amounts of vitamins K and C, and slightly less of vitamin A and the B vitamins. Cucumbers also contain the following alkaline minerals: calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, selenium, copper, manganese, iron and zinc.
Nutrients per 1 Cup (RDA)
Vitamin K: 23%
Vitamin C: 6%
Live Energized Alkaline Recipes Containing Cucumber:
Alkaline Cucumber & Watercress Soup
Research on Cucumber:
- Kumar D, Kumar S, Singh J, et al. Free Radical Scavenging and Analgesic Activities of Cucumis sativus L. Fruit Extract. J Young Pharm. 2010 Oct;2(4):365-8. 2010.
- Milder IEJ, Arts ICW, van de Putte B et al. Lignan contents of Dutch plant foods: a database including lariciresinol, pinoresinol, secoisolariciresinol and matairesinol. Br J Nutr 2005, 93:393-402. 2005.
- Rios JL, Recio MC, Escandell JM, et al. Inhibition of transcription factors by plant-derived compounds and their implications in inflammation and cancer. Curr Pharm Des. 2009;15(11):1212-37. Review. 2009.
- Tang J, Meng X, Liu H et al. Antimicrobial activity of sphingolipids isolated from the stems of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.). Molecules. 2010 Dec 15;15(12):9288-97. 2010.
Broccoli is just a must. If you are serious about living with health, energy and vitality you simply have to eat broccoli, if not on a daily basis, then at least 4 times per week.
Broccoli has been proven over and over and over again to be incredibly powerful in inhibiting cancers, supporting the digestive system, the cardiovascular system, the detoxification processes in the body and also supporting the skin, metabolism, immune system, being an anti-inflammatory and providing ample antioxidants.
Eaten steamed or raw its a hugely alkaline, hugely nutritious food. Please, please, please eat lots and lots of it. Put it in salads, juices, smoothies, soups…steam it with other veggies – you can even roast it if you’re having sunday lunch.
Don’t let a meal go past without thinking to yourself “how could I get some broccoli in here?”
Nutrients Per 1 Cup (as an RDA):
Vitamin C: 135%
Vitamin K: 115%
Vitamin A: 14%
Dietary Fiber: 10%
VItamin B6: 8%
Vitamin B2: 7%
Vitamin B5: 5%
Vitamin E: 4%
Live Energized Alkaline Recipes Containing Broccoli:
Broccoli & Vegetable Coconut Curry
Research on Broccoli:
- Broccoli and Cancer Prevention: John W. Finley, Clement Ip, Donald J. Lisk, Cindy D. Davis, Korry J. Hintze, and Phil D. Whanger. Cancer-Protective Properties of High-Selenium Broccoli. 2001. American Chemical Society
- Broccoli and Cardiovascular Disease: Lingyun Wu, M. Hossein Noyan Ashraf, Marina Facci, Rui Wang,Phyllis G. Paterson, Alison Ferrie, and Bernhard H. J. Juurlink. 2004. Dietary approach to attenuate oxidative stress, hypertension, and inflammation in the cardiovascular system. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
- Broccoli and Cancer Prevention: Ambrosone CB, Tang L. Cruciferous vegetable intake and cancer prevention: role of nutrigenetics. Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2009 Apr;2(4):298-300. 2009.
- Broccoli and Cancer Prevention: Clarke JD, Dashwood RH, Ho E. Multi-targeted prevention of cancer by sulforaphane. Cancer Lett. 2008 Oct
- Chemo-protection and Broccoli: Konsue N, Ioannides C. Modulation of carcinogen-metabolising cytochromes P450 in human liver by the chemopreventive phytochemical phenethyl isothiocyanate, a constituent of cruciferous vegetables. Toxicology. 2010 Feb 9;268(3):184-90. 2010.
I eat a LOT of avocado. Not a salad, smoothie or soup goes by without me adding at least 1/2 an avocado per person. I probably eat at least five-seven per week, myself.
Now, I know a lot of people give avocado a bad rep because it is a high-fat food (85% of it’s calories come from fats) – but this is totally insane. These are good fats that will not make you gain weight. If anything, due to the high content of oleic acid (making it an omega 9 fat and very similar to olive oil), it can lower total cholesterol level and raise levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) while lowering low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), also known as the “bad” cholesterol. Oleic acid also slows the development of heart disease, and promotes the production of antioxidants.
These beneficial omega oils also help speed the metabolism, actually leading to weight loss rather than gain.
So now we’re over the fat issue, avocado also contains a wide range of other nutrients that have serious anti-inflammatory, heart health, cardiovascular health, anti-cancer, and blood sugar benefits.
Containing key antioxidants such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, selenium and more – it is a powerful, alkaline, nutrient-dense superfood.
Nutrients Per 1 Cup (as an RDA):
Dietary Fiber: 40%
Vitamin K: 38%
Vitamin C: 24%
Vitamin B5: 20%
Vitamin B6: 19%
Live Energized Alkaline Recipes Containing Avocado:
Alkaline Avocado Power Shake
Research on Avocado:
- Avocado & Adult Health: Fulgoni V, Dreher M, Davenport A. Avocado consumption associated with better nutrient intake and better health indices in U.S. adults (19+ years): NHANES 2001-2006. Abstract #8514. Experimental Biology, Anaheim, CA. April 28, 2010. 2010.
- Avocado & Cancer: Ding H, Han C, Guo D et al. Selective induction of apoptosis of human oral cancer cell lines by avocado extracts via a ROS-mediated mechanism. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(3):348-56. 2009.
- Avocado & Cancer: Ding H, Chin YW, Kinghorn AD et al. Chemopreventive characteristics of avocado fruit. Semin Cancer Biol. 2007 May 17; [Epub ahead of print] 2007. 2007.
- Avocado & Inflammation: Rosenblat G, Meretski S, Segal J et al. Polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols derived from avocado suppress inflammatory response and provide non-sunscreen protection against UV-induced damage in skin cells. Arch Dermatol Res. 2010 Oct 27. [Epub ahead of print]. 2010.
Celery, like cucumber is a favourite because it’s alkaline AND really high water content, so is used very frequently as a base in juices and soups (not so much smoothies as you have to juice it first…and then you have double the washing up).
One of celery’s big benefits is it’s vitamin C level, which has the well known benefits – but two of it’s lesser known nutrients are phthalides which have been shown to lower cholesterol and coumarins which have been shown to inhibit several cancers.
The beauty of vitamin C rich foods are that they help with the most common and most challenging health concerns – they support the immune system, inflammation (so helps with arthritis, osteoporosis, asthma etc), and vitamin C also helps significantly with cardiovascular health.
If you are on a weight loss journey, you’ll also be happy to hear that this alkaline staple contains plenty of potassium and sodium and so is a diuretic – meaning it helps rid the body of excess fluids.
Nutrients Per 1 Cup (as an RDA):
Vitamin K: 37%
Vitamin A: 9%
Dietary Fiber: 6%
Vitamin C: 5%
Vitamin B2: 3.5%
Vitamin B6: 4%
Vitamin B5: 3%
Live Energized Alkaline Recipes Containing Celery:
Vegetable Bean Soup
Research on Celery:
- Celery and Hypertension: Kurl S, Tuomainen TP, Laukkanen JA et al. Plasma vitamin C modifies the association between hypertension and risk of stroke. Stroke 2002 Jun;33(6):1568-73 2002.
- Celery & Cholesterol: Tsi D, Tan BK. The mechanism underlying the hypocholesterolaemic activity of aqueous celery extract, its butanol and aqueous fractions in genetically hypercholesterolaemic RICO rats. Life Sci 2000 Jan 14;66(8):755-67 2000.
7. Capsicum / Bell Pepper / Pepper
The antioxidant superpower, bell pepper is one of my all-time-favourites because it is sweet, crunchy and refreshingly delicious. You can use it in almost any meal raw, grilled, fried, roasted and it is always a winner.
Here are just SOME of the antioxidants bell pepper contains:
• Hydroxycinnamic Acids
– ferulic acid
– cinnamic acid
Of these, the cartenoids are the most interesting. Impressively beneficial to our health cartenoids are highly researched and get a lot of attention in the health field…and bell peppers contain over 30 different members of the carotenoid nutrient family. The only other food that is close to this is tomato…and all other foods are also-rans.
Bell peppers have shown up in research relating to decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, macular degeneration, cancer, inflammation and more.
Alongside these lesser known or more complex-named antioxidants, bell pepper is one of, if not the best food source of the more common antioxidants: vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E.
In fact, bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as oranges.
Nutrients Per 1 Cup (as an RDA):
Vitamin C: 195.8%
Vitamin A: 58%
Vitamin B6: 14%
Dietary Fiber: 7%
Vitamin E: 7%
Vitamin K: 6%
Vitamin B2: 5%
Vitamin B3: 5%
Vitamin B1: 3%
Vitamin B5: 3%
Live Energized Alkaline Recipes Containing Bell Pepper:
Sweet Chunky Alkaline Shake
Research on Bell Pepper:
- Pepper and Dementia: Devore EE, Grodstein F, van Rooij FJA et al. Dietary antioxidants and long-term risk of dementia. Arch Neurol. 2010 July; 67(7): 819-825. 2010.
- Peppers and Antioxidants: O’Sullivan L, Jiwan MA, Daly T, O’Brien NM et al. Bioaccessibility, uptake, and transport of carotenoids from peppers (Capsicum spp.) using the coupled in vitro digestion and human intestinal Caco-2 cell model. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 May 12;58(9):5374-9. 2010.
- Pepper and Cancer: Ambrosini GL, de Klerk NH, Fritschi L et al. Fruit, vegetable, vitamin A intakes, and prostate cancer risk. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2008;11(1):61-6. 2008.
THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT
I really want you to think about this: If you made a smoothie or juice containing just 1/2 a cup of each of these seven most alkaline foods it would give you:
Vitamin K – 1326% RDA
Molybdenum – 13.5% RDA
Vitamin C – 243% RDA
Potassium – 35% RDA
Manganese – 68% RDA
Magnesium – 32% RDA
Vitamin A – 386% RDA
Fiber – 47% RDA
Calcium – 22% RDA
Iron – 22% RDA
Folate – 66% RDA
Vitamin B2 – 21.5% RDA
Vitamin E – 16% RDA
Vitamin B6 – 22.5% RDA
Vitamin B5 – 15.5% RDA
ALL IN ONE DRINK?
Can you imagine this? Leaving the house every morning having already consumed 243% of your vitamin c intake, 47% of your daily fiber needs, 68% of you manganese and 32% of your magnesium, over 22% of you vitamin B2 – imagine all of the incredible antioxidants? Before you’ve left the house?!
This really is giving you not only huge antioxidants, huge alkalinity, huge chlorophyll, huge detoxification nutrients – but if you want to go really mainstream – its giving you the recommended 5 Veg a Day before 9am!
Please give it a try – have a fresh vegetable juice or smoothie every morning for a week and let me know the effect this has!
Detailed List of the Most Alkaline Foods
I have actually got a really detailed list of all alkaline and acid foods available for a free download here (it also has a beginners guide to the alkaline diet and ten delicious alkaline recipes in it).
Those are definitely my favourite alkaline foods and those that I’ve chosen to include in my diet on an almost daily basis, and often several times per day.
I promise you, if you include double the amount of these 7 foods than you currently are you will rapidly get towards your health goals.
Enjoy – let me know your thoughts, favourite foods or even recipes below in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!