Do you know importance of maintaining a healthy pH balance? Here’s why you should stay away from high acidity foods and look to the Alkaline Diet.
The acid-alkaline debate has been around for years. Many scientists argue that the alkaline diet and theory doesn’t make much sense as our body is naturally designed to balance itself and keep it’s acid/alkaline balance tightly regulated.
Although this may be true, the fact is, our body has to work very hard to keep that delicate balance, and diet can most certainly play a role.
We all know that a diet high in processed foods can cause toxicity, inflammation, heart disease, imbalanced hormones and weight gain. The verdict is definitely out that foods such as sugar, wheat, GMO-vegetable oils and fats, and antibiotic- and hormone-induced animal products are higher on the acidic scale than fruits and vegetables.
There’s no doubt that eating more fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, can benefit our health as they provide us with essential vitamins and minerals. Research has shown time and time again the benefits they have on lowering blood pressure, preventing heart disease and even slowing the aging process.
So what is acid & alkaline all about, anyway?
Your body has a physiological response to food. Everything from healthy cells to cancer cells to soil quality and ocean life is affected by what’s known as pH (potential hydrogen), or acid-alkaline. In our case, pH refers to our body’s fluids and tissues.
Take a look at the pH scale below. 7 is neutral and anything above 7 is more alkaline, and below 7 is more acidic. Our blood is tightly regulated between 7.35-7.45. The pH level of our blood affects every cell in our body.
Our pH levels vary throughout our bodies for many reasons. Our bowels and skin are slightly more acidic due to fighting off bacteria, whereas saliva is more alkaline, which helps to protect your enamel. Urine, as I’m sure you notice, is normally more acidic, especially in the morning when you rid your body of metabolic wastes that have accumulated throughout the night.
Your body doesn’t just find the balance; it works extremely hard to create it. When we make poor nutritional choices by over-consuming processed foods and sugar, or are burdened by toxins and chemicals in our environment, our bodies have to work harder to create and find the right pH balance. If our blood pH were to drop too low, this is called acidosis and is extremely dangerous. It can affect cellular activities and functions and long-term exposure can lead to disease.
So what happens if you body becomes overly acidic?
When there’s even the slightest chance that you could become too acidic, your body will create alkaline minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium and pull these minerals from your bones, teeth, and organs to neutralize the acids.
So you guessed it! The minerals needed to support your bones and teeth are now being used to buffer the excess acidity. Although this process can seem like a savior of sorts, and is fine every now and then, forcing your system to pull minerals and consistently work hard to create an alkaline environment can lead to osteoporosis, cavities, dental problems and health issues.
Your diet plays a vital role in managing this delicate balance. Factory-farmed animals, burgers, fries, diet soda, coffee and refined sugar all rank low on the pH scale due to being overly acidic. On the other hand, leafy greens, sprouts, fruit and avocadoes all rank high on the pH scale due to being mineral-rich.
It’s not about completely overhauling your diet and ditching the meat. What’s really important to note here is quality. Pasture-raised, grass-fed meat is not nearly as acidic or detrimental to our health as factory-farmed animals.
Simply take a look at what’s on your plate and make a more conscious effort to choose high-quality foods and alkaline-rich fruits and vegetables. This will ensure you provide your body with the essential nutrients for cellular repair and optimal health and assist your body in maintaining its delicate acid/alkaline balance.
Here are 3 ways to support your pH balance:
1. Start your day with lemon and warm water.
Although we might think of lemon and citrus fruits as being acidic, they actually become alkaline-forming in the body. Lemon is amazing for supporting detoxification of the liver and can help to neutralize excess acid in your body. In fact, this daily morning habit can help to boost metabolism and support digestion. Getting enough water throughout your day is also essential as it helps to flush acidic waste from your body and out through your gut.
2. Consume fresh-pressed juices or green smoothies.
One of the best and simplest ways to fill your body up with alkalizing greens is to blend them. Although juicing removes the fiber and peel from the fruit and vegetables, green juices provide your body with a ton of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that all assist in cellular repair and detoxification. Smoothies, or blending your vegetables, maintains the fiber and peel, which makes it more satiating and filling. Be sure to include mineral-rich greens such as spinach, kale, collards, and cucumbers, or even add in spirulina or chlorella to your smoothies for an extra alkalizing boost.
3. Manage stress.
This is a biggie! Although we may not think that stress can affect our acid and alkaline balance, it most certainly can. Emotional, mental and physical stresses all create acid-forming hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. Not only can this throw off our delicate hormonal balance, but it can also lead to inflammation and disease if not managed effectively. Commit to slowing down, either by doing yoga, meditating, enjoying a hot bath or going for a massage. These are all great ways to unwind and de-stress and can benefit your health greatly.
Make a commitment to your health and body to choose better-quality foods, incorporate more alkaline-rich fruits and vegetables, and make it a point to de-stress daily. This will ensure you provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs, prevent disease, and see fewer wrinkles over the years.