Discover the importance of maintaining a healthy pH balance and which foods to eat (and avoid) for optimal health.
The acid-alkaline debate has been around for years. Many scientists argue that it isn’t necessary to monitor alkaline intake, as our bodies are designed to keep it’s acid/alkaline balance regulated.
Although this may be true, our body has to work very hard to keep that delicate balance, and diet can certainly play a role.
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We all know that a diet high in processed foods can cause toxicity, inflammation, heart disease, imbalanced hormones and weight gain. These foods, including sugar, wheat, GMO-vegetable oils 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 can benefit our health as they provide us with essential vitamins and minerals. Research has shown that these alkaline foods can lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease and even slow the aging process.
Our Body’s Delicate pH Balance
Everything from our 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.
Seven is neutral on the pH scale below. Anything above seven is considered alkaline, and below is more acidic. Our blood is tightly regulated between 7.25-7.45. This pH level affects every cell in our body. (1)
Our pH levels vary throughout our bodies for many reasons. Our bowels and skin are slightly more acidic due to fighting off bacteria. Saliva is more alkaline, which helps to protect your enamel. Urine is 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, our bodies have to work harder to create and find the right pH balance.
If your blood pH were to drop too low, you could enter the dangerous state of acidosis. Acidosis affects cellular activities and long-term exposure can lead to disease.
When Your Body Becomes Too Acidic
When there’s even the slightest chance that you could become too acidic, your body will pull alkaline minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium from your bones, teeth, and organs to neutralize the acids.
That means 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, forcing your system into this state can lead to osteoporosis, cavities, dental problems and health issues in the long run.
Your diet plays a vital role in managing this delicate balance. French fries, diet soda, coffee and refined sugar all rank low on the pH scale. On the other hand, leafy greens, sprouts, fruit and avocados all rank high on the pH scale due to being mineral-rich.
Simply take a look at what’s on your plate and make a more conscious effort to choose high-quality, alkaline-rich fruits, vegetables and meats. This will ensure you provide your body with the essential nutrients for cellular repair and optimal health.
3 Ways to Support Your pH Balance
1. Drink Warm Water with Lemon
Although we might think of lemon and citrus fruits as being acidic, they 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.
Start every morning with a warm glass of lemon water. This daily habit can help to boost metabolism, support digestion, and flush acidic waste from your body.
2. Drink Fresh Juice or a Green Smoothie
One of the best and simplest ways to fill your body up with alkalizing greens is to blend them. Green juices provide your body with a ton of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that all assist in cellular repair and detoxification. Note, however, that juicing removes the fiber and peel from the fruit and vegetables,
Smoothies maintain the fiber and peel, which makes it more filling and nourishing. Be sure to include mineral-rich greens such as spinach, kale, collards, and cucumbers. You can even add in spirulina or chlorella to your smoothies for an extra alkalizing boost.
3. Manage Stress
Stress can affect our acid and alkaline balance, too. 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 getting a massage. These are all great ways to unwind and de-stress and can benefit your health greatly.
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