When I began my research into health and wellness, I wasn’t aware of the acid-alkaline balance within the body.
When I got educated and changed my lifestyle and diet, my health began to improve. So, let’s look into what the pH means to our body.
So what the heck is pH?
We were taught this in our science class in school. The body maintains a acid-alkaline balance that has a lot of importance to the body. Everything from ocean life, cancer cells, healthy cells, and soil is affected by pH. The term pH means “potential hydrogen” which measures the amount of hydrogen ions in body tissues and fluids.
The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is and ranges from 0 to 14. Seven is neutral. Below 7 becomes increasingly acidic, above 7 increasingly alkaline.
As with most health-related barometers, balance is everything. Proper pH varies throughout your body for many reasons. For example, your bowels, skin and vagina should be slightly acidic–this helps keep unfriendly bacteria away. Saliva is more alkaline. While your urine is normally more acidic, especially in the morning.
In addition, your body regularly deals with naturally occurring acids that are the by-products of respiration, metabolism, cellular breakdown, and exercise. So clearly the goal is not to think of acid as “bad” and alkaline “good”. Again, it’s a delicate balance.
By far the most important measurement is your blood.
For optimal cellular health, your blood pH must be slightly alkaline with a pH between 7.365 and 7.4. A basic understanding of how our bodies maintain an alkaline blood range is important for good health. Your body doesn’t just “find” the balance it works extremely hard to create it. When we make poor lifestyle choices or are burdened by a toxic, chemical rich environment, our bodies have to work harder to create homeostasis.
When there’s even the slightest chance that you could become overly acidic (due to food and lifestyle choices, environment, chemicals etc.) your body steals calcium, magnesium, and potassium from your bones, teeth, and organs to neutralize acids. This is okay once in a while, but over the long term it can lead to osteoporosis and other illnesses.
The Relationship Between pH & Your Health
Most people consume a diet packed of sugar, processed foods, factory farmed animal products, etc. The digestive system, liver, and kidneys take a big hit from the effects of a poor diet. Allergies, skin problems, constipation, inflammation, arthritis, bowel problems, stress (physical & mental) and chronic disease thrive in this. A high level of acidity can attract bad bacteria (like fungus and yeast) and viruses that have a damaging impact on our health.
Tilting the pH scale in the alkaline direction is easy with a diet filled with mineral-rich plant foods. Eating (leafy greens, wheatgrass, veggies, sprouts, avocados, green juices and smoothies) compared to an acidic diet (high in animal products, processed carbs, refined sugar, energy drinks, etc), we fill our bodies with vitamins, chlorophyll, minerals, and oxygen.
On the pH scale, Soda = 2. Coffee = 4. Carrot = 7. Get the picture? Burger, fries, diet cola, muffin, candy bar? Acidity.
Green drinks, salads, fruits, sprouts? Alkaline heaven!
Your goal is to make more energy deposits than withdrawals. Again, your goal is to consume more than you eliminate.
Testing Your pH
You may be tempted to start testing your pH constantly, however it’s really not needed at all. You can test your urine in the comfort of your home with litmus paper strips. Also, remember that urine pH can change from a variety of factors like what you eat and when. You should test your urine when you go for your second time, as this will give you a clearer picture of whats going on.
When you test your urine, you are able to look at the efficiency of your body ability to eliminate acids and minerals. For the best results, your urine should be around 6.8 to 7.5 pH.
Top 3 Ways to Support pH Balance
1. Start your day with a tall glass of lemon water and stay hydrated.
Lemons are naturally an acidic fruit, but when combined with water it forms more alkaline in the body. Your body cells need alkaline, so when you get up each morning have 2 cups of lukewarm water with some squeezed lemon.
You can purchase water ionizers that can alkalize your drinking water, yet they are expensive. Consuming this will eliminate acids, clean your digestive tract and improve metabolism. Its important that you stay hydrated as it helps in the process of detoxing your system, avoiding acid waste accumulation, and maintaining immune function.
2. Eat more raw foods and drink green juices and smoothies.
Consume more vegetables, leafy greens, some fruits, seaweed, wheatgrass, nuts, sprouts, some grains, green juice, and green smoothies. These all will give your body plenty of minerals, phytonutrients, chlorophyll, vitamins, and oxygen to help keep the body in an alkaline state.
Cancer cells, bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms cannot stand or live in oxygen. They thrive inside an acidic environment from an acidic diet in refined and processed food, synthetic chemicals and animal products.
3. Exercise, manage stress, sleep better, and avoid nasty chemicals and cigs.
Our diet isn’t the only thing that can affect our pH levels. Lacking an active lifestyle, drug abuse, cigarettes, anger and stress can trigger acidity in the body leading to inflammation. This “play hard, work hard” and “deal with it later” method in your daily life is negatively affecting your health. Its found that emotional stress lets out cortisol and adrenaline (acid forming hormones) that fill the system up and taint soil.
You can improve cellular health by taking more naps, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, nature walks, stress management counseling and eliminating what weighs you down in your life.
Alkaline vs. Acidic Foods
If you want to know if the food your about to eat is acidic or alkaline, and how much? You can incinerate a part of the food to test the mineral content in the ash. Some experts and and lab results disagree, which makes the websites and books that give out acidic and alkaline food chats follow suit.
Most disagreements are minor in nature, while there are a few bigger disagreements. If the ash has a high alkaline content, the food will have alkaline effects on the body. Whether a food is mildly alkalizing or mildly acidifying, it doesn’t really matter.
There will be different shades of gray, but what is far more imperative is being aware of whats more acidic and inflammatory, to make better eating decisions.