Food acids are the vital acids found in natural and synthetic food products that give them a distinct flavor or a tinge. Many fruits, vegetables and dairy products contain some type of acid. Human body tends to react differently to different types of food acids. Some of these acids provide nutrients or help alleviate some maladies whilst some have adverse effects on health when they are not consumed in appropriate amounts.
Citric Acid: This is a natural preservative found primarily in citrus fruits. Limes and Lemons are the best sources of citric acid, followed by other citrus fruits and strawberries, tomatoes and pineapples. A great quantity of all the citric acid produced is contained in soft drinks and other beverages, where it boosts flavors and adds a slightly sour taste. Citric acid also acts as a preservative and flavor enhancer in foods, including frozen foods, meat products, canned vegetables, jams, gelatins, candies.
Malic Acid: This is a component of many of the foods that we eat daily; mainly contained in candies, diet sodas and other artificially sweetened drinks due to its ability in masking artificial flavors and alternative sweeteners. The food that is most famous for its high malic acid content is the apple. Other fruits with a very high concentration of the acid are lychees, peaches nectarines, cherries, tomatoes, bananas, mangoes, and strawberries.
Tartric Acid: This compound is naturally found in many plants, particularly in grapes, tamarinds, pineapples, potatoes, carrots and bananas. It is also one of the especial acids found in wine. Tartaric acid can be added to food when a sour taste is desired. Tartaric acids have a dual role of an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory which can help boost the immune system and promote overall wellness.
Acetic Acid: Acetic acid, also known as ethanoic acid, is a sour-tasting compound best known for the sour taste and pungent smell in vinegar, pickles, and sourdough bread. Its produced by fermenting and oxidizing ethanol and the distillation of wood. Acetic acid has many functions, but it is mostly used as a chemical reagent, fungicide, herbicide, and solvent in a variety of industries such as food, agriculture, cosmetics and cleaning.
Oxalic Acid: Oxalates or Oxalic acids is a compound occurring in many plants and vegetables. It is also produced in the body by metabolism of glyoxylic acid or ascorbic acid and does not go through metabolism but excreted in the urine. The body is known to absorb oxalic acid from only a handful of foods, including peanuts, pecans, cocoa, guava, rhubarb wheat bran, spinach, beets and beet greens and chocolate.
Benzoic acid: A natural source of benzoic acid is gum benzoin, which comes from certain tree barks, but, it can also be made by synthetic means. Benzoic acid is very useful as Preservatives to make food products last longer, and also eradicate harmful yeast and bacteria. Benzoic acid is present in various products, including Cranberries, prunes and plums sauces, jams, jellies and candied fruits.
Butyric acid: Butyric acid also known as butanoic acid, is a saturated short-chain fatty acid with a 4-carbon backbone occurring in the form of esters in animal fats and plant oils. Butyrate is produced as end-product of a fermentation process such as, decomposition of butter solely performed by obligate anaerobic bacteria. It is found in milk, especially sheep and buffalo milk, goat, cheese and butter.
Lactic acid: This is an organic compound which is white and water-soluble in its solid state and colourless in its liquid state. It is produced both naturally and artificially but naturally present in many foodstuffs via natural fermentation in products such as cheese, yogurt, soy sauce, sourdough, meat products and pickled vegetables. Lactic acid in food products usually serves as either as a pH regulator or as a preservative. It is also used as a flavouring agent.
Tannic Acid: Tannic acid, or tannin, is a bitter-tasting compound that is derived from plants. It is the component of red wine or unripe fruit that makes your mouth want to ruck. Grapes contain a high concentration of tannins which is critical to the art of wine making. Other products that contain this acid are Green Tea, nettle, oakwood, berries, Chinese galls, persimmons.
Caffeo-tannic Acid: This is a Chlorogenic acid, from coffee, yielding caffeic acid by precipitation with baryta and salts of lead. It is known for relatively lower toxicity and used widely in many other fields like food, feed additives and cosmetics.