The Importance of Balancing Acidic and Alkaline Foods in Your Diet
A surprising number and variety of physical problems and diseases can be caused by the problem of foods that are acid-producing after digestion. Today most people in industrialized nations suffer from problems caused by the stress of acidosis. Both the modern lifestyle and diet promote acidification of the body's internal environment.The current typical Western diet is largely composed of acid-forming foods (proteins, cereals, sugars). Alkaline-producing foods such as vegetables are eaten in much smaller quantities. Stimulants like tobacco, coffee, tea, and alcohol are also extremely acidifying. Stress, and physical activity (both insufficient or excessive amounts) also cause acidification.
Many foods are alkaline-producing by nature, but through manufacturing processed foods many become acid-producing. It is important to consume at least 60% alkaline-producing foods in our diet, in order to maintain health. We need plenty of fresh fruits and particularly vegetables (alkaline-producing) to balance our necessary protein intake (acid-producing). We also need to avoid processed, sugary or simple-carbohydrate foods because they are acid-producing and because they raise blood sugar level too quickly (high glycemic index therefore fattening). They also tend to be nutrient-lacking and may be toxic to our cells.
What is the body's pH?
Water is the most abundant compound in the human body, comprising 70% of the body. The body therefore contains a wide range of solutions, which may be more or less acid. pH (potential of Hydrogen) is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity. The pH of any solution is the measure of its hydrogen-ion concentration. The higher the pH reading, the more alkaline and oxygen rich the food is. The lower the pH reading, the more acidic and oxygen deprived the food is. The pH range is from 0 to 14, with 7.0 being neutral. Anything above 7.0 is alkaline, anything below 7.0 is considered acidicHuman blood pH should be slightly alkaline (7.35 - 7.45). Below or above this range means symptoms and disease. If blood pH moves below 6.8 or above 7.8, cells stop functioning and the body dies. The body therefore continually strives to balance pH. When this balance is compromised many problems can occur. An imbalanced diet high in acidic-producing foods such as animal protein, sugar, caffeine, and processed foods puts pressure on the body's regulating systems to maintain pH neutrality. The extra buffering required can deplete the body of alkaline minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, making the person prone to chronic and degenerative disease. Minerals are borrowed from vital organs and bones to buffer (neutralize) the acid and safely remove it from the body. Because of this strain, the body can suffer severe and prolonged damage--a condition that may go undetected for years.
Health problems caused by acidosis
Research shows that unless the body's pH level is slightly alkaline, the body cannot heal itself. So no matter what means you choose to take care of your health, it won't be effective until the pH level is balanced. If your body's pH is not balanced, for example, you cannot effectively assimilate vitamins, minerals and food supplements. Your body pH affects everything.
Acidosis will decrease the body's ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients, decrease the energy production in the cells, decrease it's ability to repair damaged cells, decrease it's ability to detoxify heavy metals, make tumor cells thrive, and make it more susceptible to fatigue and illness.
An acidic pH can occur from an acid-forming diet, emotional stress, toxic overload, and/or immune reactions or any process that deprives the cells of oxygen and other nutrients. The body will try to compensate for acidic pH by using alkaline minerals. If the diet does not contain enough minerals to compensate, a build up of acids in the cells will occur. Acidosis can cause such problems as:
Weight gain, obesity and diabetes
Acceleration of free radical damage
Osteoporosis and joint pain
Aching muscles and lactic acid buildup
Low energy and chronic fatigue
Slow digestion and elimination
Lack of energy and fatigue
Lower body temperature
Tendency to get infections
Loss of drive, joy, and enthusiasm
Inflammation of the corneas and eyelids
Loose and painful teeth
Inflamed, sensitive gums
Mouth and stomach ulcers
Cracks at the corners of the lips
Excess stomach acid
Nails are thin and split easily
Hair looks dull, has split ends, and falls out
Skin easily irritated
Leg cramps and spasms
Test your body's acidity or alkalinity with pH strips
It is recommended that you test your pH levels to determine if your body's pH needs immediate attention. By using pH test strips (Litmus Paper), you can determine your pH factor quickly and easily in the privacy of your own home. The best time to test your pH is about one hour before a meal and two hours after a meal.
Saliva pH test: Simply wet a piece of Litmus Paper with your saliva. While generally more acidic than blood, salivary pH mirrors the blood and tells us what the body retains. It is a fair indicator of the health of the extracellular fluids and their alkaline mineral reserves. The optimal pH for saliva is 6.4 to 6.8. A reading lower than 6.4 is indicative of insufficient alkaline reserves. After eating, the saliva pH should rise to 7.5 or more. To deviate from an ideal salivary pH for an extended time invites illness. If your saliva stays between 6.5 and 7.5 all day, your body is functioning within a healthy range.
Acidosis, an extended time in the acid pH state, can result in rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, lupus, tuberculosis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, most cancers and many more disorders. If salivary pH stays too low, the diet should focus on fruit, vegetables and mineral water as well as remove strong acidifiers such as sodas, whole wheat and red meat.
Urine pH test: The pH of the urine indicates how the body is working to maintain the proper pH of the blood. The urine reveals the alkaline (building - anabolic) and acid (tearing down - catabolic) metabolic cycles. The pH of urine indicates the efforts of the body via the kidneys, adrenals, lungs and gonads to regulate pH through the buffer salts and hormones. Urine can provide a fairly accurate picture of body chemistry, because the kidneys filter out the buffer salts of pH regulation and provide values based on what the body is eliminating. Urine pH can vary from around 4.5 to 9.0 in extremes, but the ideal range is 6.0 to 7.0. If your urinary pH fluctuates between 6.0 to 6.5 first thing in the morning and between 6.5 and 7.0 in the evening before dinner, your body is functioning within a healthy range.
Urine testing may indicate how well your body is excreting acids and assimilating minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. These minerals function as "buffers." Buffers are substances that help maintain and balance the body against the introduction of too much acidity or too much alkalinity. Even with the proper amounts of buffers, acid or alkaline levels can become stressful to the body's regulatory systems. When the body produces too many of these acids or alkalis, it must excrete the excess. The urine is the method the body uses to remove any excess acids or alkaline substances that cannot be buffered. If the body's buffering system is overwhelmed, a state of "autointoxication" exists, and attention should be given to reducing this stress.
Foods: Are they acid or alkaline-forming?
Note that a food's acid or alkaline-forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the actual pH of the food itself. For example, lemons are very acidic, however the end-products they produce after digestion and assimilation are alkaline, so lemons are alkaline-forming in the body. Likewise, meat will test alkaline before digestion but it leaves acidic residue in the body so, like nearly all animal products, meat is classified as acid-forming. It is important that your daily dietary intake of food naturally acts to balance your body pH. To maintain health, the diet should consist of at least 60% alkaline forming foods and at most 40% acid forming foods. To restore health, the diet should consist of 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acid forming foods.
|FOOD CATEGORY||High Alkaline||Alkaline||Low Alkaline||Low Acid||Acid||High Acid|
|BEANS, VEGETABLES, LEGUMES||Vegetable Juices, Parsley, Raw Spinach, Broccoli, Celery, Garlic, Barley Grass||Carrots, Green Beans, Lima Beans, Beets, Lettuce, Zucchini, Carob||Squash, Asparagus, Rhubarb, Fresh Corn, Mushrooms, Onions, Cabbage, Peas, Cauliflower, Turnip, Beetroot, Potato, Olives, Soybeans, Tofu||Sweet Potato, Cooked Spinach, Kidney Beans||Pinto Beans, Navy Beans||Pickled Vegetables|
|FRUIT||Dried Figs, Raisins||Dates, Blackcurrant, Grapes, Papaya, Kiwi, Berries, Apples, Pears||Coconut, Sour Cherries, Tomatos, Oranges, Cherries, Pineapple, Peaches, Avocados, Grapefruit, Mangoes, Strawberries, Papayas, Lemons, Watermelon, Limes||Blueberries, Cranberries, Bananas, Plums, Processed Fruit Juices||Canned Fruit|
|GRAINS, CEREALS||Amaranth, Lentils, Sweetcorn, Wild Rice, Quinoa, Millet, Buckwheat||Rye Bread, Whole Grain Bread, Oats, Brown Rice||White Rice, White Bread, Pastries, Biscuits, Pasta|
|MEAT||Liver, Oysters, Organ Meat||Fish, Turkey, Chicken, Lamb||Beef, Pork, Veal, Shellfish, Canned Tuna & Sardines|
|EGGS & DAIRY||Breast Milk||Soy Cheese, Soy Milk, Goat Milk, Goat Cheese, Buttermilk, Whey||Whole Milk, Butter, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Cream, Ice Cream||Eggs, Camembert, Hard Cheese||Parmasan, Processed Cheese|
|NUTS & SEEDS||Hazelnuts, Almonds||Chestnuts, Brazils, Coconut||Pumpkin, Sesame, Sunflower Seeds||Pecans, Cashews, Pistachios||Peanuts, Walnuts|
|OILS||Flax Seed Oil, Olive Oil, Canola Oil||Corn Oil, Sunflower Oil, Margarine, Lard|
|BEVERAGES||Herb Teas, Lemon Water||Green Tea||Ginger Tea||Cocoa||Wine, Soda/Pop||Tea (black), Coffee, Beer, Liquor|
|SWEETENERS, CONDIMENTS||Stevia||Maple Syrup, Rice Syrup||Raw Honey, Raw Sugar||White Sugar, Processed Honey||Milk Chocolate, Brown Sugar, Molasses, Jam, Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Mustard, Vinegar||Artificial Sweeteners|