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I’ve just found a relevant report:
Liu, Rui Hai. “Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 78, no. 3 (2003): 517S-520S.
We also studied the total antioxidant activity and synergy relationships between different fruit combinations, with results showing that plums had the highest antioxidant activity and that combinations of fruit resulted in greater antioxidant activity that was additive and synergistic. We proposed that the additive and synergistic effects of phytochemicals in fruit and vegetables are responsible for their potent antioxidant and anticancer activities, and that the benefit of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is attributed to the complex mixture of phytochemicals present in whole foods (31–33). This partially explains why no single antioxidant can replace the combination of natural phytochemicals in fruit and vegetables in achieving the health benefits. There are ≈8000 phytochemicals present in whole foods. These compounds differ in molecular size, polarity, and solubility, and these differences may affect the bioavailability and distribution of each phytochemical in different macromolecules, subcellular organelles, cells, organs, and tissues. Pills or tablets simply cannot mimic this balanced natural combination of phytochemicals present in fruit and vegetables.
Our work suggests that to improve their nutrition and health, consumers should be getting antioxidants from a diverse diet and not from expensive nutritional supplements, which do not contain the balanced combination of phytochemicals found in fruit and vegetables and other whole foods. More important, obtaining antioxidants from dietary intake by consuming a wide variety of foods is unlikely to result in consumption of toxic quantities because foods originating from plants contain many diverse types of phytochemicals in varying quantities. Furthermore, the health benefits of the consumption of fruit and vegetables extend beyond lowering the risk of developing cancers and cardiovascular diseases; this consumption also has preventive effects on other chronic diseases such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, central neurodegenerative diseases, and diabetes.
Increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and soy is a practical strategy for consumers to optimize their health and to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Use of dietary supplements, functional foods, and nutraceuticals is increasing as industry is responding to consumers’ demands. However, there is a need for more information about the health benefits and possible risks to ensure the efficacy and safety of dietary supplements. It is recommended that consumers follow the US Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines to meet their nutrient requirements for health improvement and disease prevention. We believe that the evidence suggests that antioxidants are best acquired through whole-food consumption, not as a pill or an extract.
So rather than spend time looking for specific combinations. Perhaps the best strategy is to eat the widest possible range of whole foods.in reply to: Do you have healthy food combination charts?
Paprika is definitely in the chart. But the description comes straight from the USDA database. So sometimes the names are confusing. Because it’s listed as Spices, Paprika.
The good news is that Paprika is listed under the Very Alkaline column. Because it has a PRAL value in that chart of -36.33. But that is for 100 grams. So, in practice, it will not add a big alkaline PRAL score to your daily diet.
This is why I keep asking Foodary members to let me know how they use my tables. Because you can either use them to swap one food for another with a lower PRAL score (i.e. more negative). Or, you can use them to give a score to everything you eat (or buy) then compare that from day-to-day or week-to-week.
To date, I haven’t given much thought to target PRAL scores. So I’d appreciate some feedback if readers would find targets useful or not.in reply to: Alkaline vs. Acidity: spices
When reviewing this topic, I realized a few important practical facts about alkaline oils.
Firstly, the latest Alkaline Oils PRAL chart only shows Italian Salad Dressing as an alkaline oil. However, the earlier version of Acid-Alkaline Fats and Oils shows several other oils that are slightly alkaline. Unfortunately, that earlier chart is suffering from my formatting problem. But as you know from other topics, I’m working on that. Anyway, it is easy to find the alkaline oils by looking only for negative values.
Importantly, you will notice that the highest alkaline oils are produced by adding vegetables to oil. So that principle is most obvious in the Italian dressing that is popular enough to make the Alkaline Oils PRAL Chart. Because oils alone cannot provide the key nutrients that give a negative value for the PRAL calculation. So we need to add vegetables that are rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
It’s easy to see that adding parsley, lemon juice, and other alkalizing vegetables it’s possible to create tasty alkaline oils. So commercial Italian Salad Dressings are a good example of that process. But this is just commercialization of a tradition that is embedded in the culture from which the modern Mediterranean Diet has evolved.
Therefore, for best results, you should consider making your own alkaline oils. Just take your favorite herbs and vegetables from the Alkaline Vegetables List. Then create tasty alkaline oils for your healthy eating pleasure. But be sure to share your recipes here.
I think this is a great example of how switching to Meditteranean Diet is a good first step towards adopting a PRAL-based Alkaline Diet. Because good Mediterranean diets are naturally alkalizing.
I love your question, Norma. Because it highlights the biggest problem with PRAL alkaline diets. Also, it’s raised my awareness of urine pH testing and setting targets.
So first, let me explain “the biggest problem with PRAL alkaline diets”. Because it’s the single biggest issue that causes most questions about my alkaline food tables.
It’s vital to realize that PRAL is a food-scoring system. In itself, it has nothing at all to do with pH. Because PRAL scores are calculated from certain nutrients in food. So the first objective is a healthy balanced diet. By which I mean a diet that meets national standards for healthy eating. Then, we can calculate PRAL scores from food intake to calculate an overall PRAL score. But what’s the point?
The point is that PRAL scores give a good indication of how diet will affect urine pH. So we know that eating food with a negative PRAL score should make urine pH higher (more alkaline). Therefore the real goal is to make urine more alkaline using PRAL scores to guide our food choices to support that goal.
For practical purposes, PRAL scores provide an estimate of what will happen when we eat certain foods. Then urine pH tests tell us what actually happened. But note that there are other variables that affect urine pH. So it’s important to test regularly and look at trends rather than individual results.
All of which leads to my answer. Which is – any pH test strips designed for urine testing are acceptable to measure a PRAL alkaline diet. One study[*] specifically states that it used Phion Diagnostic Ph Test Strips which are available from Amazon and other sources. Personally, I’ve used Simplex Health pH Test Strips for Urine and Saliva. However, I find them difficult to interpret. So I’ve invested in a meter which I will report on soon.
Finally, your question prompted me to think about pH targets. Because I’ve said in my PRAL definition:
There is no target for PRAL. The target pH of urine in healthy individuals is 6.5 to 7 in the morning, rising to 7.5 through the day.
However, I’ve realized that target is based on my early research into pH. But the source is no longer available. So, I’ve looked for more recent references. Now I can see that each person needs to set their own target based on their urine pH history and the state of their health. Therefore, I intend to research this topic and prepare better guidance.
[*] Gunn, Caroline A., Janet L. Weber, Jane Coad, and Marlena C. Kruger. “Increasing fruits and vegetables in midlife women: a feasibility study.” Nutrition research 33, no. 7 (2013): 543-551.
The following is a “note to self” about the research I’ve done so far on urine pH targets. Because I intend to start a collaborative study topic for this. But I don’t want to lose all the references I’ve found so far:
1. Hara, Shigeko, Hiroshi Tsuji, Yuki Ohmoto, Kazuhisa Amakawa, Shiun Dong Hsieh, Yasuji Arase, and Hiromu Nakajima. “High serum uric acid level and low urine pH as predictors of metabolic syndrome: a retrospective cohort study in a Japanese urban population.” Metabolism 61, no. 2 (2012): 281-288.
Though that is more at home on my gout website, it has a very useful chart showing links between urine pH and Metabolic Syndrome. The data for men is:
Urine pH – Prevalence of metabolic syndrome
5.0 – 11.9%
5.5 – 9.2%
6.0 – 7.5%
6.9 – 6.4%
2. Cho, Young Hye, Sang Yeoup Lee, Dong Wook Jeong, Eun Jung Choi, Kyung Jee Nam, Yun Jin Kim, Jeong Gyu Lee et al. “The association between a low urine pH and the components of metabolic syndrome in the Korean population: Findings based on the 2010 Korea National health and nutrition examination survey.” Journal of research in medical sciences: the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences 19, no. 7 (2014): 599.
30% to 35% increased risk of Metabolic Syndrome when urine pH is below 5.5.
3. Welch, A. A. “Dipstick measurements of urinary pH have potential for monitoring individual and population dietary behaviors.” The Open Nutrition Journal 2, no. 5 (2008): 63-67.
Given that body size and age also relate to urine pH and NAE, it is likely that it is the within person change in urine pH with diet, rather than the absolute value that would be important when monitoring change.
4. Scialla, Julia J., and Cheryl AM Anderson. “Dietary acid load: a novel nutritional target in chronic kidney disease?.” Advances in chronic kidney disease 20, no. 2 (2013): 141-149.
Urine pH has also been proposed as a cost-effective, simple tool to monitor net endogenous acid production and may be appropriate for use in large population based studies (29). However, the relationship between net acid excretion and urine pH may not be reliable in populations with CKD, age-related renal function decline, or in those with renal tubular acidosis where distal acidification of the urine is compromised
5. Welch, Ailsa A., Angela Mulligan, Sheila A. Bingham, and Kay-tee Khaw. “Urine pH is an indicator of dietary acid–base load, fruit and vegetables and meat intakes: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Norfolk population study.” British Journal of Nutrition 99, no. 6 (2008): 1335-1343.
In conclusion, dietary acid–base load was significantly related to urine pH with more alkaline urine associated with a more alkaline dietary load. There was a difference of 4·2 mEq PRAL and two-thirds to just under one portion of fruit and vegetables, in men and women respectively, between the lowest and highest categories of pH. The scale of the associations found was similar to intervention studies. Casual urine pH provides a simple tangible measure of the effects of diet in this population and its use to monitor change in diet quality needs further investigation.
Finally, my original source explained why it is important to compare a morning measure to an increasing pH value through the day. So, I need to re-investigate the science that applies there with appropriate references.
I’m not sure which table(s) you are referring to.
Generally, PRAL values for alkaline foods must be negative by definition. However, I am aware of a formatting problem on some pages, where all the figures are appearing in one column. So if you are referring to that I can only apologize. I am working on fixing the formatting problem.in reply to: PRAL readings
Do you really mean pH, or do you want the PRAL score? Because those 2 values are completely different.
pH measures the physical acidity/alkalinity of foods and drinks by incinerating the item. But PRAL estimates the acidifying/alkalizing effect of food when you digest it. So pH helps balance the contents of tinned and bottled foods. But PRAL helps you eat a healthier diet (if you follow the basic rules of EFSEP).
Anyway, I guess you will have to contact the manufacturer to get the pH value. Or test it yourself the same way you test your own pH. But if you want the PRAL value, please can you post a link to the exact product you mean. Then I can calculate the PRAL from its nutrients.
I also realized the importance of understanding PRAL table layouts. So I started each chart in that series with:
Please see my explanation of the values for this acid-alkaline Nut and Seed Products food chart, and related charts, in my Basic Acid Alkaline Food Chart Introduction.
Hopefully, that answers all your questions. But I understand that adding links to the table headings makes finding the information easier. So I started doing that in the second series of PRAL tables.
Now, based on this type of feedback, I can see that I need to completely overhaul all the PRAL alkaline diet tables. So once I work out a better structure, I will do that.
Finally, to make sure you get updates on the main Foodary website, you should subscribe to the free update service. Note there is a separate update service for the main food facts website and this support site. So I’ll show both:
Main Food Facts updates
This Healthy Eating Forum updates
I need to know what you mean when you say “I have to avoid acids for health reasons”. Because I provide my PRAL values to help you and your doctor make better health decisions. So I need to know how the PRAL information will be used so I can make sure it is accurate.
Thank you for your interest in my PRAL food charts.
I hope you understand that I create these charts from published nutrition information. Because that is the only way I can calculate PRAL values. So I need more information about the specific types of fish you are asking about.
Specifically, you can tell me where you buy it from, or some other “official source”. Then, I can usually find the information I need.
Finally, I really need to know how you are using this information. Because in most cases, it is perfectly acceptable to use an average PRAL value for salmon, or even for fish in general. But obviously, that depends on your personal situation. So please share more information about the exact food, and how you intend to use the PRAL information. Then I can make sure you get the answers you need.
Generally speaking, the effects are negligible. But that might change with individual cases.
Unfortunately, I don’t have enough information to provide a proper answer. So perhaps you could write more about your diet.
At the very least, I would need to know how much sesame oil you consume. Then how much of that oil do you consume raw and how much cooked? But for a better answer, I need to see that information in the context of your whole diet. So perhaps you could list all the foods you consume.
The best way is to start a new topic with what you ate the day before. Then each day, post a reply to the topic with your previous day’s food intake. Alternatively, post a list of all the foods you buy.
I’m very sorry about the formatting issues on the pages you mention. As I’ve noted elsewhere, this is a transitional problem that I’m aware of. But unfortunately, I cannot find a quick fix. So, I’m going to rewrite the tables that you mention plus all the others in that series.
At the same time, I want to make my PRAL food charts easier to use if I can. So if you have any suggestions for the type of layout and information that is best for you, I would love to know.
In the meantime, please note that the PRAL values shown are correct. But, they are not aligned in columns. However, those columns never had any real meaning, and I dropped them in subsequent PRAL charts.
In any event, it would help me enormously to learn how individuals are using my PRAL food charts in practice. That way, I can get insight that might help me improve future layouts.
I’m sorry for the delay, Stacy. But for some reason, I only got a notification that you had posted today – over 3 months late! My faith in technology is fading 🙂
Anyway, let’s get back to “free from” alkaline diets. First, I should explain that I am definitely not a fan of “free from” diets for their own sake. Because I believe every human has a right to eat a healthy balanced diet that, almost by definition, should not avoid food groups because of fashion. So, if there are specific health reasons to avoid gluten and dairy, then I can be supportive. But I believe it is unhealthy to avoid essential nutrients unless you have sufficient information to balance the risks.
Now I’m wondering how you feel about Mediterranean style healthy eating? Because that is a great foundation for a healthy diet. Then it is easier to tweak that diet to achieve better health goals. For example, it can be improved to make it more alkaline than the average Mediterranean diet. And that should definitely assist skin cancer issues.
However, I need to focus my research on skin cancer. Especially with respect to gluten, dairy, vegan issues. All I can say about the vegan diet, for now, is there are some essential nutrients that are hard to manage. But, I’ve never yet met anyone who has considered veganism who is prepared to discuss this. So it might be better to start a new thread if you are serious about moving towards a vegan diet. That way I can keep this topic focused on “free from” alkaline diets.in reply to: Alkaline diet, Gluten free, Dairy free