August 29, 2023 4 min read
Oatmeal is a classic “easy” meal for many, and for obvious reasons: it is rich in fiber, helps with sustaining energy, and is packed with vitamins. However, there is one measure of health that is often overlooked: is oatmeal alkaline? Balancing both alkaline and acidic foods in your diet can keep your body functioning properly and help you feel the best you can.
The term “alkaline” describes where a substance falls on the pH scale. Alkaline foods have a pH of between 7 and 14, with 14 being the highest number on the scale. The opposite of alkaline is acidic, and acidic foods fall between 0 and 7, with 0 being the most acidic a substance can be. A perfectly neutral food or beverage has a pH of 7, a number typically assigned to water.
pH is important to note when it comes to better understanding the health of your organs. In order to maintain a balanced internal environment, a process called homeostasis, your organs need to be at their optimal pH level (1). Ensuring a balanced diet will allow pH levels within the body to be maintained, so stay away from eating solely alkaline or acidic foods.
Diets where mostly acidic foods are consumed is known as an acidic diet. An acidic diet comes with its own health effects, most of which are negative. First, Katherine Marengo, a registered dietician, finds that “too much acidity can also cause bone deterioration” (2). Bones contain calcium, which helps restore the body’s pH level, so too much acid in your diet can actually eat away at the calcium. Additionally, there have been associations between acid foods and chronic diseases. However, most of these health effects do not immediately present themselves, but they show up after years of following an overly acidic diet.
Alkaline diets, on the other hand, involve eating mostly alkaline foods. These diets typically promote better bone health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Oatmeal is considered a slightly acidic food, with its pH typically ranging from 6.2 to 6.6. Although its pH implies that oatmeal is near-neutral and therefore can be eaten in excess quantities without affecting the body’s pH, this is not the case. According to Dr. Dima Bader, “oatmeals are among those foods that can form acid in your stomach even with a mild acidic level” (3). The body’s reaction to oatmeal is that its pH will lower due to the new acids in the stomach, so oatmeal cannot be thought of simply as “slightly” acidic.
A few various factors affect the acidic pH of oatmeal. First, oats, like many other grains and plants, are naturally acidic because they naturally contain phenolic compounds. Additionally, raw oats are more acidic than processed oats because processing removes the outer, acidic layer to the oats. Lastly, larger serving sizes of oatmeals will of course introduce more acidity to your diet than smaller serving sizes.
Despite its acidic pH, oatmeal is packing with nutritional value. First, oatmeal is rich in dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates (4). It also contains many micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals your body needs to function well.
The nutrient composition of oatmeal gives it the potential for many health benefits. It is reported to help with heart health and cholesterol management, regulate blood sugar, and promote good digestive health.
Like most foods, moderation is key when it comes to consuming foods high in acidity. Yes, oatmeal is acidic, but it has many health benefits that cannot be ignored. Therefore, eating a balanced diet can allow you to continue eating the foods you love without experiencing the negative effects of acidity in your diet.
Each body reacts differently to acid-rich foods, so it is important to listen to your body and do what works for you. Some people need to cut out all acidic foods and completely embrace the alkaline diet, while others can simply add more vegetables into their diet to offset the acidity (5).
For those who are looking for ways to offset their oatmeal’s acidity, here are a few simple tips to try:
First, making oatmeal with alkaline water can help balance its acidity. Introducing alkaline water to your meals can help supplement acid-rich foods, which will ultimately keep your body’s pH at equilibrium. For a quick and easy way to make alkaline water at home, try a Seychelle alkalizing water pitcher.
Second, changing the cooking method of oatmeal can enhance nutrient absorption. Some people soak their oatmeal in water quickly before cooking it. This cuts down on the oats’ acidity. Others prefer adding a pinch of baking soda while cooking. Baking soda is alkaline, and cooking with it can neutralize the oatmeal’s pH.
Last, you can pair oatmeal with alkaline-promoting foods that will balance out the acidity. Bananas, mangoes, almonds, carrots, and raisins all add new vitamins to the oatmeal, which in turn can help raise your bodies pH.
Oatmeal has a pH of 6.2 to 6.6, which is fairly acidic. Acidity lead to a slew of health problems, including bone deterioration. However, oatmeal has a plethora of vitamins and minerals that help the body, as well. Oatmeal should be eaten in moderation. By eating a healthy balance of foods in your diet and following a more holistic approach to nutrition, you can keep your body running the best it can.
Can I eat oatmeal on an alkaline diet?
Technically, oatmeal itself is not alkaline and will not help raise your body’s pH. However, its acidity can be offset and made more alkaline by adding in fruits, vegetables, and nuts into your oatmeal.
Are oats acid or alkaline forming?
Oats are acid forming, and they can produce more acid in the stomach.
What is the pH range of oats?
Oatmeal has a pH of between 6.2 and 6.6.