There’s a reason nutritional experts will tell almost anyone in search of a healthier way to eat—be it veganism, Paleo, or responsible intermittent fasting—that consuming more fruits and vegetables is mandatory: A low-acid diet, or a plan that focuses on plant-based foods with high alkaline content, is loaded with good nutrients, says Manhattan-based nutritionist Amy Shapiro, M.S., R.D., the founder of Real Nutrition.
Some famously great bodies swear by the logic too, from Gwyneth Paltrow to Kate Hudson and Elle Macpherson. While the jury is still out on whether the food we consume can alter our body’s pH levels, or how that may quantifiably effect our health, a low acid diet has been shown to help chronic kidney disease, since it can make urine slightly more alkaline, as well as treat acid reflux and improve bone health. What’s more, because of its focus on plant-based foods, and its inherent push away from sugar and processed meals and towards drinking water, an alkaline diet is believed to raise energy levels, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Here are seven simple (and delicious) ways to introduce the low-acid concept into your diet.
Make Your Supplements Go Farther
When supermodel Elle Macpherson began eating alkaline a decade ago, she was astounded by the changes in her body, which included increased energy, digestion, sleep, and a stable, healthy weight. To create a daily supplement that would aim to harness those benefits, she worked with nutritionist Simoné Laubscher to formulate Welleco’s The Super Elixir Greens, which features minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Two teaspoons of the alkalizing powder, mixed with filtered water or almond milk, is a simple morning boost.
Supercharge a Classic Snack
A handful of raw almonds is packed with good fats, protein, and vitamins. Amanda Chantal Bacon of the adaptogen-friendly Moon Juice “activates” her nuts by soaking them in alkaline water and then dehydrating them, a process that purportedly increases digestibility as well as the amount of enzymes and nutrients that come with each bite. Alkaline or not, low-acid foods—like almonds—are proven to help treat diseases like acid reflux and high blood pressure, and make a filling snack on the go.
Go for Deep Green Juice
Dark leafy greens, fruits, and grains are amongst the most naturally alkaline foods. A favorite of supermodels Kate Upton, Angela Lindvall and Cindy Crawford, the plant-based meal delivery company Urban Remedy offers a cold-pressed organic alkaline juice called Slender Greens. Because of its ingredients—cucumber, spinach, parsley, celery and lemon—it is perhaps the most enhanced drink on this list. Bonus points for the shot of lemon, says Shapiro, “which is a great source of vitamin C—an antioxidant that is proven to support overall health and hydration.”
Try a Brewed Tea That’s High in pH
Brewed herbal teas are less acidic than fruit teas. Most even have a high pH value, according to this study, with chamomile, green tea and yerba mate earning the highest marks. Beyond the plant itself, steep time supposedly plays a role in these levels, too. That’s why the Alkaline Herb Shop, which delivers medicinal blends of wildcrafted and organic herbs, such as this elderberry tea, a favorite in Germany for immune support, takes the time to explain brewing instructions. Boil water only once (any more than that and taste will become affected) and allow the tea bag to steep in water for two minutes, careful not to poke or prod. Remove the bag and let cool for an additional two to three minutes before drinking—flavors start to develop only after temperatures reduce. If you can’t drink without sweetening, stick with with agave or date sugar. Bonus points for boiling water that has been filtered and ionized, meaning it's more alkaline from the start.
Commit to Cacao Nibs
When something sweet is non-negotiable, alkaline diet-approved cacao nibs—which are chopped raw cacao beans, and have not been processed with high heat like cocoa or dark chocolate —make an antioxidant-rich treat. Sakara Life’s Beauty Chocolates are bite-size and sweetened with low glycemic coconut sugar. The only challenge? Trying to eat just one.
Consider a Plant-Based Milk Alternative
The list of daily latte alternative expands by the day—and here’s one reason that cashew milk is worth moving to the top. The healthy nuts, which boost energy production, immunity, and bone health on a nutritional level, are also alkaline forming. Companies like Malk Organics sprout their nuts overnight, and blend them with water and salt, which activates their nutrients and enzymes. If you have a lactose intolerance, or are looking for help with digestion, inflammation or cholesterol maintenance, the cold-pressed, unsweetened dairy alternative is an easy win.
Drink More Water—and Make It Alkaline
With a slightly elevated pH and more minerals than most of its counterparts, alkaline waters have earned a following with celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow as one more way to raise the game on your daily hydration boost. Whether or not the benefits are quantifiable, one thing is certain: most feature eco-friendly packaging and environmental innovation. Flow, for example, distills its alkaline water into sleek cardboard boxes with biodegradable PLA-plastic caps, meaning they’re 100% recyclable. The B-Corp certified company also employs a team of professional hydrologists to monitor their water usage so as to ensure a sustainable yield for the future and donates to charities that are dedicated to reducing plastic waste and keeping our waters clean. Bonus: Organic flavored options include blackberry & hibiscus and collagen-infused cucumber & mint.
Watch Kate Hudson talk fitness, food, and her new InBloom beauty supplement powders on Makeup & Friends here! Plus, Gucci's guide to getting rid of "Morning Face"—think bloating, puffiness, and tired eyes—with a little makeup magic.