Are Alkaline Tomatoes an Acid Forming Food?

Nightshade vegetables are chemically alkaline, but are acid forming foods

Killer Tomato

I cook quinoa often and love it however the last three times I made it my stomach got very upset.

Do you think it is because I put tomato sauce on it? Never bothered me before and that’s the only way I eat it is with sauce – Gina M.

Savvy Vegetarian Advice:

Hi Gina, my stomach has never been upset by quinoa, which is considered an alkaline forming food, but it has been upset by eating tomatoes, which are considered an inflammatory or acid forming food by ayurveda and other alternative medical modes.

From what I’ve been reading, tomatoes and other nightshade vegetables are alkaline in chemical composition, but are an acid forming food.

From Chi Machine International:
“There are two types of acid and alkaline foods:
1) Acid or alkaline foods, meaning how much acid or alkaline the foods contain.
2) Acid or alkaline ‘forming’ foods, meaning the pH condition foods cause in the body after being digested.

The second type is what you need to be concerned about. Lists of alkaline and acidic foods that you find online are often misleading because they focus on the first type, going just by the chemical composition of foods, rather than their effect on the ph balance of the body. I’ve seen tomatoes on alkaline food lists.


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People prone to ulcers, acid reflux, IBS, arthritis, or other “inflammatory” disorders are often warned away from nightshades, which include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant.

If you don’t usually get negative effects from eating tomatoes, this could be a temporary thing. If tomato doesn’t agree with you right now, look at it as a chance to get a little more variety into your diet.

I know it’s quick and easy to just open a jar of tomato sauce and plop some on top of your quinoa. But there are other easy-to-make sauces you could eat with your quinoa: e.g. chickpea or cashew gravy, vegan cheesey sauce, mushroom leek sauce – all found in Savvy Vegetarian’s Sauces Dips and Spreads Recipe Index


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If you’re feeling slightly more ambitious, try these other tasty saucy recipes:
Veggies in Coconut Curry Sauce
Chili Beans in Vegetarian Gravy
Tofu Veggie Stir Fry

All those recipes are easy, and lend themselves to many variations. Including beans, tofu, or tempeh in the foods you eat with your quinoa ups the protein value of your meal.

We like many different kinds of stews on top of our quinoa – or rice – especially curries. Check Savvy Vegetarian bean or vegetable recipes for more possibilites.

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7 Responses to “Are Alkaline Tomatoes an Acid Forming Food?”

  1. Savvy Veg says:

    Hi Ed, that condition is worth going to the doctor about because it could have a number of causes ranging in seriousness. It could be a food allergy, or diabetes or pre-diabetes, or excess sugar, or nightshades, or prostate problems. As for tomatoes, adding sugar or salt makes them less acidic tasting, but I don’t know if that has any effect on their acid forming properties.

  2. ed says:

    Have had problems with intermittent frequent urination, and just the other day for first time wondered if it might be a food allergy. So am in process of eliminating tomatoes to see what happens. Question i have is what about cooked tomato foods, does cooking change them and effects?

  3. lorraine says:

    Whenever I eat raw tomatoes I puke my guts out and my belly suffers but if I put it in the blender with greens lemon garlic and schalots it is fine or if I make my own sauce adding spices to my taste it is fine.

  4. Savvy Veg says:

    That info comes straight from Ayurveda, much of which does contradict modern beliefs about foods. Nightshades, including tomatoes, are considered inflammatory. Vaidya Mishra (http://vaidyamishra.com/) sees them as pure poison, and he also tells people not to eat onions and garlic. Naturally that makes it a bit of a challenge to eat anything but home made food, since onions, garlic and nightshades are everywhere! I go with ayurveda because it’s the most ancient and comprehensive system of medicine on the planet, it’s always made sense and worked for me since I first started studying it 25 years ago.

  5. Eric Jowell says:

    I found this website also, which also contradicts tomatoes being acidic. http://www.pureliquidgold.com/.....-foods.htm

    Can u make sense of this?

  6. Eric Jowell says:

    Please help me understand why this website http://www.rense.com/1.mpicons/acidalka.htm
    says that tomatoes are NOT acid forming foods.

    I have been doing research on nightshade plants and acid/alkaline forming foods for days now. All I can find is a bunch of contradictions.

    I suffer from (LPR) a form of Acid Reflux and I cannot seem to find consensus on the fruits and vegetables that are proper for my diet. Some websites say stay away from Tomatoes and Acidic Fruits like lemons and limes and such, but then other sites say that that is exactly what I should be eating.

    Please help if u can. Where did you get your information?

  7. Nancy says:

    Store bought sauces have loads of sugar/high fructose corn syrup and salt that when combined with tomato products cause a great deal of stomach problems. Making your own or buying plain tomato sauce and adding your own seasonings are easier on your stomach.

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