There is always a big debate on this subject and being alkaline is seen as a healthy thing but its also confusing as something like lemon water is acidic but helps promote an alkaline body. Here is some interesting points to bear in mind when approaching an alkaline diet.
Your body’s alkaline and acid balance, also known as pH, can affect your overall wellbeing and health. What affects the body’s pH? All foods have the ability to influence your body’s normal pH. Body fluids and tissues do not stay in these fluctuating states of “too acidic” or “too alkaline” because the body is always striving toward balance. However, imbalance and disease can set in when the body is daily dealing with too many acid-forming foods and too much stress.
What is pH?
pH is a scale in which acidity and alkalinity is measured. The scale is from 1 to 14, 1 to 7 is acidic and 7 to 14 is alkaline.
Blood should have a pH range of 7.35 to 7.45, slightly alkaline. Pure water has neutral pH of 7, although this varies from the area you live, brands and where it is sourced. The human body is designed to stay in the environment of slightly alkaline. Your body works very hard to maintain this pH within by neutralising acids. But it can only do that for so long before a condition known as acidosis occurs (Too much acid in body fluids).
Symptoms of a
poor pH balance (acidosis)
- Immune system deficiency
- Respiratory problems, shortness of breath, coughing
- Low energy
- Heart problems and increased heart rate
- Weight gain
- Bladder and kidney problems
- Accelerated free radical damage
- Premature ageing
- Joint pain and aching muscles
Food and pH
There has always been a been a big debate about whether eating foods that are alkaline (pH above 7) will create a alkaline environment within the body and will reduce the risk of acidic diseases such as cancer.
Calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and sodium are all known as alkaline forming nutrients. Most foods have both acid and alkaline minerals in them. If acidic minerals are greater in concentration than alkaline minerals, then that food is considered acidic and vice versa. Our blood cleansing kidneys maintain our electrolyte levels (calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium). When consuming highly acidic foods, these electrolytes are used to combat acidity and restore our body’s normal pH balance. Most vegetables and fruits known for being alkaline foods are high in these minerals and metals. The body always tries to heal itself and keep balance, this is the beauty of homeostasis (The constant control of the body’s internal environment). Providing the body with foods that are alkaline and are high in these important compounds such as fruits and vegetables will support the alkaline balance within and help the body. The alkaline to acidic ratio for food consumption is recognised to be 75% alkaline and 25% acidic. This would be ideal. But in modern day society a lot of people, even children, are very much off this number with the mass amount of fast food and also the cost of fresh vegetables and fruits causes a big issue. Our bodies are designed to consume a high amount of nutrient rich vegetables and fruits. It is so important for our health, not just improving alkalinity.
Most fruits and vegetables are alkaline in nature. Some fruits, such as citrus, have an acidic pH outside of the body, but when consumed, leave an alkaline residue in the body after being metabolized.
Highly Alkalising Foods:
- Collard greens
- Winter squash
- Sweet potatoes
- Ginger root
Stress and pH
Carbon dioxide is an acidic gas. When you are stressed your breathing can suffer. You will most likely breath more shallow. This shallow breathing limits the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled allowing it to build up in your system. The body now has to deal with this build up by breaking down the acidic c02. But, let’s say you had a big load of pizza, some fries on the side and a large cola. Your body and the important electrolytes are already very ‘stressed’ trying to cope with this acidic bombshell which you have ingested. Therefore, there is a possibility one of these problems with have to wait. Which is a big issue…. Causing acidic internal conditions. So, it’s not just food which causes acidic conditions. Your breathing can also affect your bodies perfect pH. I would recommend yoga and meditation to destress and to breathe deeply, exhaling c02 and inhaling, carbon dioxide ridding oxygen. It’s all about keeping the balance.
Am I acidic or alkaline?
By now you will probably be thinking am I alkaline or am I acidic?! Good!
It’s very important to be in touch with your body. And keeping an eye on your pH level is no exception.
To test your pH, you can easily do this at your local chemist, pharmacy or possibly supermarket. They should sell packs of pH test strips with instructions on how to use them. Try to test your pH at the same time every day. If you are using your saliva for the test. Do not eat anything two hours before you test. Post your results in the comments, I would be very interested to see what number you guys get.
Improving your pH balance
- Check your pH regularly
- Drink plenty of water (alkaline water when possible)
- Reduce intake of acidic foods
- Increase consumption of leafy greens
- Try not to consume processed foods
- Eliminate soda, sugars, and coffee. Replace them with herbal tea and green drinks
- Replace dairy milk with coconut or almond milk
- Drink green juices containing leafy greens such as kale.
Highly Acid foods:
- dairy products
- processed foods
- fresh meats and processed meats
- sodas and other sweetened beverages
- high-protein foods and supplements
There is no question that your body likes to be slightly alkaline. Eating high alkaline food is not only going to help your body keep balance but many of them are very high in important nutrients and minerals which are essential to us. I believe a big cause of modern day disease and health issue Is down to this very issue. The foods of modern day society are mostly grains, meats and starchy carbohydrates, all of which are very acidic. Going back to our ancestors we would consume meat when we could find it; which was not very often and grains such as bread and pasta were not around back then. Our primal diet mostly consisted of plants, nuts, berries and grass (that’s why you have an appendix but don’t use it today) all of which are highly alkaline. But now we have lost track of this and it is not good for not only us, but also our environment. The mass farming of livestock, especially cows, is causing massive amounts of pollution linking to global warming. The lack of nutrients which a vast majority of the population don’t get from plant sources causes so many diseases and problems. EAT YOUR ALKALISING VEGETABLES and strive for a balanced diet!