UPDATE: While the body of knowledge around body acidity is still accumulating, but there is emerging evidence from around the world that supports the benefits of pursuing a more alkaline diet. While an alkaline diet cannot influence blood pH levels, it appears the benefits of the diet stem from the large intake of nutrient dense plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables. For example, a study undertaken by a team at Norwich Medical School in the U.K. found that an alkaline diet may help women maintain more muscle mass independent of age, physical activity and protein intake (Welch AA et al., 2013). A review article by a researcher at the University of Alberta concluded, “There may be some value in considering an alkaline diet in reducing morbidity and mortality from chronic diseases and further studies are warranted in this area of medicine” (Schwalfenberg, 2012). We will continue to follow the story and share the results from further studies as they become available.
Acidic bodies are unhealthy bodies. When the body is acidic, it creates an unwanted environment where illness, bacteria, and yeast thrive. When the body is overly acidic, the body takes minerals from vital organs and bones to neutralize the acid and remove it from the body. Because of this, the body’s mineral reserves such as calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium can run dangerously low and cause damage that can go undetected for years, until it reaches unhealthy levels, causing acidosis.
Most of us are already consuming enough acid-forming foods, such as dairy, grains, meats and sugar. Since the body is always generating acidic waste products from the metabolism, those waste products need to be neutralized or excreted in some way. To neutralize the constant acid generation, we need to supply the body with more alkaline foods.
Consider the health problems caused by mild acidosis (poor pH balance):
Inflamed sensitive gums, cavities
Sciatica, lumbago, stiff neck
Respiratory problems, shortness of breath, coughing
Yeast fungal overgrowth
Low energy and chronic fatigue
Cardiovascular damage, including the constriction of blood vessels and reduction in oxygen
Heart problems, arrhythmias, increased heart rate
Weight gain, obesity, and diabetes
Bladder and kidney infections
Accelerated free radical damage
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Osteoporosis, weak, brittle bones, hip fractures, bone spurs
Headaches, confusion, sleepiness
Joint pain, aching muscles, and lactic acid buildup
Doesn’t the body adjust pH on its own?
Also known as homeostasis, yes it can. The normal pH of most tissues and fluids in the body, except the stomach is alkaline. Except for blood, all of the body systems have a wide pH range, in part so they can shift to maintain the blood pH, which must stay in the very narrow margin of 7.35 to 7.45.
Start by knowing your pH
pH testing is important because it allows an individual to get a numeric representation of the current level of acidification in their body. A good average pH reading will range anywhere from 6.75 to 7.25. The optimal pH reading is 7.36. To learn more about ph testing check references at the end of this article.
You can’t tell if food is acidic or alkaline by taste alone
For example, many people think of lemons as acidic. While an acidic fruit, it is an alkaline forming food. During the process of digestion, the acids oxidize into carbon dioxide and water. Therefore they do not create an acid condition in the system.
Calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and sodium are the primary alkalizing minerals. Foods that are high in this minerals are considered alkaline-forming food. 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.
How does your body respond to specific foods?
It’s important to realize that the way your body reacts to various foods depends on its individual nutritional needs. Finding the right balance of alkaline and acidic foods is key – keeping in mind that no matter what, increasing your intake of nutrient dense alkaline veggies is beneficial to everyone!
How to improve your alkalinity
2. Drink plenty of water (alkaline water when possible)
3. Remove acidic foods
4. Replace a traditional lunch with a large green salad.
5. Use lettuce leaves and collard greens as wraps.
6. Try not to consume processed foods
7. Eliminate soda, sugars, and coffee. Replace them with herbal tea, herbal coffee, and green drinks
8. Replace dairy milk with coconut or almond milk
9. Add green juices or smoothies to your diet
What you eat matters
Though attempting to change the overall pH levels of your body is not something that can be directly changed, supporting your body through nutritious whole foods that lean towards a more alkaline state can help you feel more energetic and vibrant.
There is no question about it, what you eat has a direct impact on your overall health. It was Ann Wigmore, founder of the renowned Hippocrates Health Institute who said, “The food you eat can be either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3195546/ The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health?
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11842945 Diet, evolution and aging–the pathophysiologic effects of the post-agricultural inversion of the potassium-to-sodium and base-to-chloride ratios in the human diet.
http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/1995/pdf/1995-v10n0304-p177.pdf Minerals and Disease; Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 10, No. 3 & 4, 1995; Joseph D. Campbell