The importance of acid, alkaline balance

Your body is a complex system that needs to strike a delicate balance between acidity and alkalinity in order to, not only survive, but to thrive. The proper acid/alkaline balance varies slightly from person to person, but it is generally agreed by experts that the magic pH number for optimal health should be around 7.4. If the pH level drops below that number you have entered a state of acidity and you open yourself up to a host of health problems, conditions, and diseases.

some aspects of your acidity or alkalinity is out of your control due to the finite amount of alkaline material with ,which you were born, personal choices that you make on a day to day basis can play an even larger role in your overall health. For instance, decisions about whether or not to consume alcohol or tobacco products impact the alkaline balance because these products are very acidic. The human body has stores of minerals upon which it draws for alkaline material on an as-needed basis if it cannot obtain them through diet. The amount varies from person to person and is determined based on heredity. They are sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium.

The cause of disease 

Have you ever wondered if many of the diseases raging through our society have a common cause? Many doctors, herbalists and nutritionists believe that the explanation may come down to three words: acid/alkaline imbalance.

Over-acidity is very common today. It’s a dangerous condition that weakens all body systems. It gives rise to an internal environment conducive to disease, as opposed to a pH-balanced environment, which allows normal body function necessary for the body to resist disease. A healthy body maintains adequate alkaline reserves to meet emergency demands. When excess acids must be neutralised, our alkaline reserves are depleted leaving the body in a weakened condition. An acid/alkaline balanced diet, according to many experts, is a vital key to health maintenance.

The concept of acid alkaline imbalance as the cause of disease is not new. In 1933 a New York doctor named William Howard Hay published a ground-breaking book, A New Health Era in which he maintains that all disease is caused by autointoxication (or self-poisoning) due to acid accumulation in the body. Most people who suffer from unbalanced pH are acidic. This condition forces the body to borrow minerals – including calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium – from vital organs and bones to buffer (neutralise) the acid and safely remove it from the body. Because of this strain, the body can suffer severe and prolonged damage due to high acidity – a condition that may go undetected for years.

A recent seven-year study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, on 9,000 women showed that those who have chronic acidosis are at greater risk for bone loss than those who have a normal pH levels. The scientists who carried out this experiment believe that many of the hip fractures prevalent among middle-aged women are connected to high acidity caused by a diet rich in animal foods and low in vegetables. This is because the body borrows calcium from the bones in order to balance pH. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).

We all want to live healthier, more vibrant lives. But, because our busy lives demand so much of us we tend to skip exercise and make poor dietary choices and our health suffers as a result. As our pH becomes more and more unbalanced, we tend to crave more acid-forming foods. It’s a vicious cycle that saps energy, depletes minerals and nutrients, and causes a multitude of potentially lifethreatening conditions and diseases.

When the body is overly acidic your metabolic rate can slow down, and it can even become difficult for your digestive system to break down fatty acids. Research has shown acidic pH levels to be chief causes of obesity, migraine headaches, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and many more.

It is important to introduce alkaline-forming foods into the diet. Many fresh and raw vegetables, salad greens, seeds and nuts can fill out your menu of alkaline-forming foods and are a tasty path to healthier living. If you can, choose organic fruits and vegetables.

Improving your diet, avoiding alcoholic beverages, not smoking, and getting enough rest are good ways to help bring your body into the proper balance of acid and alkalinity. None of these measures will result in a perfect pH balance overnight. However, taking action now in just a few of these areas will have a dramatically positive impact on your health and your overall sense of well-being. You’ll look better, you’ll feel better, and you’ll be better positioned to live a longer, healthier life regardless of the cards that Mother Nature dealt you.

How to start an alkaline diet

An alkaline diet means eating 80% alkalineproducing foods and only 20% acid-producing ones. This may seem like a daunting task, but the following lists of healthy and unhealthy foods can

What to consume

  • Vegetables including leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, kale, cabbage) and carrots, green beans, cucumber, broccoli, artichokes, asparagus, peas, turnips, and more – most vegetables are alkaline-producing.
  • Fruits like lemons and limes (they may seem counterintuitive, but they are alkalineproducing), rhubarb, avocado, grapefruit, and tomato
  • Beverages like almond milk, unsweetened soy milk, fresh vegetable juice, herbal tea, vegetable broth, distilled water, and lemon water (squeeze a slice of lemon into your distilled water)
  • Nuts and grains such as almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, spelt, lentils, and any sprouted seeds
  • Oils like olive, flax seed, borage, avocado, and coconut
  • Probiotics such as miso, which is natural; however, you can also buy probiotic supplements.

What to avoid 

  • Meats (if you’re having trouble with this one, stick to occasional seafood)
  • Dairy products
  • Caffeinated beverages, fruit juice, and alcohol
  • Fast food, canned food, microwave meals, “instant” and powdered foods, and candy
  • Yeast
  • Sugar (including sweet fruits)
  • Chemically processed or created foods

alkaline-fruits

Daniel Petre