Today I would like to discuss with you the importance of the alkaline-acidic principle and why it is important for your health and well-being. I was intrigued when I first learned about this principle. I think it offers some good explanation about the importance of different foods in our body and what effects they leave inside of us. But the thing I liked most about this principle is that it urges us to find our inner BALANCE. I do believe that finding the right balance for your body and lifestyle is the most important factor to health, wellbeing and happiness!
So let’s see what the alkaline-acidic principle means and why you should care about it.
The acid-alkaline balance indicates the balance between acids and non-acids (alkalis) in your bodily fluids (blood, urine, saliva). A pH scale of 0 to 14 is used to measure the acid-alkaline ratio in your body. pH stands for “power of hydrogen” and measures the concentration of the hydrogen ions in a given solution. A pH of 7 is considered neutral. A ph level below 7 indicates an acidic condition, whereas anything higher than 7 indicates an alkaline environment. Our body consists mostly of water, and most of our bodily fluids and blood should be slightly more alkaline – between 7,35 and 7,45.
Our body is continuously working to balance our pH, and our pH level is an indicator of healthiness. When an imbalance occurs, we can experience health problems and even disease.
How can you measure your pH level?
The easiest way to test your pH level is by using pH strips. You can find these in health food stores or in some pharmacies. You can test your urine or saliva to find out your current pH level. Your urinary pH should be between 6.0 to 6.5 in the morning and 6.4 and 7.0 in the evening, and your saliva should fluctuate between 6.5 and 7.5 throughout the day. These levels indicate your body is functioning in a healthy way.
If your pH is imbalanced, this means that your pH level has become too acidic or too alkaline. Such an imbalance can remain unknown for a long period of time, but in the long term can lead to a development of different diseases, such as cardiovascular damage, diabetes, cancer, kidney stones, osteoporosis, joint pain, weight gain, low energy or chronic fatigue. In the vast majority of cases the main problem is over-acidity or acidosis. Over-alkalinity or alkalosis is also a cause for health problems, but it is very rare, as the majority of diets today create over-acidity.
What happens in your body when there is a pH imbalance?
When our pH is acidic our body needs to borrow alkaline minerals – such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium – from our vital organs and bones to neutralize the acid and remove it from the body.
The cells in our body produce acid, as a byproduct. This acidic waste is combined with alkaline minerals and is excreted from our body. We need those alkaline minerals in order to get rid of the acid waste. If our environment is too acidic, and our body does not have enough alkaline minerals in reserve, it will start supplying them from our liver, muscles, joints and bones. The long term usage of alkaline minerals from our organs will lead to acidosis, and we will start to feel easily tired, our immune system will weaken, and we might experience pain in our joints, muscles, weight gain, lack of energy and premature ageing.
Because of the way we eat, most of us suffer from over-acidity. The foods we primarily consume in our daily life are mostly acid building and leave an acidic residue in our body. Stress also contributes to an acidic environment.
What does weight gain have to do with a pH imbalance?
Our body protects itself from acids by accumulating fat, where it stores that acidity. So the job of fat is to protect us and our vital organs. Micro-organisms (bacteria, yeast etc.) can grow faster in an acidic environment, as such an environment is rich in protons which reduces the oxygen in our blood.
These micro-organisms compete with our body for the nutrients that are so important for us. This leaves our body hungry as it is unable to obtain sufficient nutrients, which causes us to want to eat more to try and source them. Does any of that sound familiar to you?
If you’re wondering why you don’t see results when you exercise, this could be down to your level of acidity. An acidic body does not have enough oxygen and thus is put under stress, which produces even more acids that need to be blocked in fat.
In order to be healthy and energetic, we need to create more of an alkaline, oxygen-rich environment in our body. When our alkaline-acidic balance is normalized we will be able to easily get rid of the stored fat, as your body will no longer need to buffer the acids. If you are underweight, you will be able to gain the Kg’s to achieve your optimal weight.
How can you optimize your alkaline-acidic balance?
Start off with testing your pH level using some pH stripes. Or just have a look at your diet and see what balance of foods you are mostly consuming (mainly acidic or alkaline?).
If you have a low pH here are some tips on how you can immediately start balancing it out:
Eat in a balanced way!
1. Eat alkaline-forming foods. Make sure at least 70 % of your daily menu is composed by alkaline forming foods. See the table below which they are. Leafy greens are very alkaline-forming and have loads of nutrients! If you have an immune system disorder or need to monitor your blood sugar levels, avoid fruits high in sugar.
2. Avoid acid forming foods. Meat, refined flour and sugar, sodas etc.
3. Find your balance! If you are eating acid forming foods, try to add alkaline forming foods. For example, if you feel you absolutely must have meat, pair it with a big green salad – not potatoes.
4. Eat slowly.
5. Chew your food well. The digestion process of carbohydrates starts in the mouth, so give time for the saliva to start breaking down the food.
6. Eat varied and colorful food. Include more fruits and veggies in your diet.
7. Do not over eat. Eat just enough until you feel satisfied.
8. Do not consume foods that make you feel bloated and irritate your stomach.
9. Eat fresh and organic produce.
10. Eat food rich in fiber and avoid processed food.
11. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
12. Cleanse your body once a week with only alkaline forming foods. Salads, green juices and smoothies are a great way to do that.
13. Drink water with lemon in the morning. Even though lemons have an acidic taste, they are alkaline forming in the body.
Exercise, exercise, exercise!
Find an activity that you enjoy and that makes you sweat! It could be dancing, yoga, running, hiking, weight lifting, whatever works for you and makes you feel more energized. Exercising will do wonders for your metabolism.
Reduce the stress
I know… this one is easier said than done. But if you find some way to reduce your stress your body will be very grateful to you. I find that focus on breathing, meditating or simply walking in the nature can be very relaxing and stress-reducing. Surround yourself with positive people, and nurture yourself with positive thought.
Our body is truly amazing! It has the ability to self-regulate and heal itself; we only need to provide it with a supportive environment. 🙂
Table as seen in Robert O. Young, Ph.D. “The pH Miracle”