07 Oct The Importance Of Your Body Being Acid/Alkaline Balanced
By Kylie Armstrong, Naturopath, Alkaline Spa & Clinic www.alkaline.com.au
Having an acid/alkaline balance is essential for overall physical health. Modern day diets and lifestyle, changing environmental factors along with the food technology revolution makes it difficult for our bodies to adapt and often leaving us out of acid/alkaline balance, which means we are not optimizing our physical health. We strive to have balance in our daily lives and the same applies for our body in relation to acid/alkaline balance. We can however achieve this balance by eating certain foods that are alkalizing, therefore reducing our body’s acidity levels. Food plays one of the most vital roles in determining our PH levels. Almost all foods we eat (after being digested, absorbed, and metabolised) release either an acid or an Alkaline base into the blood. Fresh fruit, vegetables, roots, tubers, nuts and legumes release an alkaline base. Grains, fish, meat, poultry, shellfish, cheese, milk and salt produce an acid base.
What happens to your body if it is too acidic?
By eating a diet high in acid-producing foods, we can disrupt the acid/alkaline balance leading the chronic disease. Too much acidity in the body can affect all the body’s major systems. Modern diets, high in acidic foods like meat, white flour, sugar, soft drinks and coffee and lacking in fruits and vegetables has changed the pH balance in most of our bodies. For optimum health our bodies need to maintain a slightly alkaline state. Common signs of acidity are:
- Lack of energy
- Ageing skin
- Excess mucus production
- Frequent colds and flu
- Weight gain and obesity
- Chronic fatigue
- Joint pain
- Bladder and kidney conditions
There is a simple test one can do to determine their acid/alkaline levels. To figure out if you are balanced, you must test your PH. This is easy to do, both with saliva and urine (I recommend both tests)–the tests are available at most pharmacies and health food stores.
We should be slightly alkaline to survive and maintain optimum health….
Our pH is the measure of exactly how acidic or alkaline we are. A pH of 0 is completely acidic, and a pH of 14 completely alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral. Our bodies need to maintain a slightly alkaline state to achieve optimum health (7.5).
The advantages of keeping your body slightly alkaline…
Eating an alkaline diet is important because our blood pH level needs to stay between the 7.35 and 7.45 mark, at slightly alkaline. It takes work for our bodies to stay balanced within this small window, and the more acidic our diet, the more we work against our body’s efforts. Eating foods that are alkalizing will help achieve this and the body will experience:
- Improved Energy Levels – the body’s pH level can affect the cell functioning and if it is too acidic it cannot work effectively in transferring oxygen to the body. A lack of oxygen can result in overall fatigue and a lack of energy.
- Healthier Teeth and Gums – when the pH level of the body is too acidic, this will have an impact on the mouth becoming acidic, which can cause bacteria and other gum diseases and bad breathe. By switching to a diet high in alkalizing foods can counteract acidity forming in the mouth.
- Improved Immune Function – the healthier your cells, the more effective they are at absorbing the nutrients they require and are also efficient in eliminating waste products. When the body is too acidic, the cells cannot function at their optimum level and you are more likely to become ill or develop disease.
- Reduced Pain and Inflammation – magnesium is one of the minerals that the body uses to help control excess acidity. By eating a diet that has an alkaline effect will give you body more magnesium to have available to help reduce tissue and joint pain and inflammation.
- Slower Aging – our cells need to function optimally to help stave off the ageing process and if our cells don’t have enough oxygen, they are not able to rid the toxins and start to age. Better functioning cells means looker younger for longer.
- Maintaining a healthy weight is an added benefit from eating a diet high in alkaline foods.
When it comes to eating an alkaline diet, choosing the correct fruits and vegetables, eggs, dairy and beverages will make a huge difference in your pH levels. Foods that are high in protein, including milk, meat, and even whole grains, are acid-forming. Most fruits are alkaline-forming but some, like prunes, plums, and cranberries, are acid-forming because our bodies can’t break down the types of acids they contain. A good rule of thumb is that 60-80% of our diet should be from more alkaline foods, and 20-40% more acidic foods. The first step to an alkaline diet is to eliminate acidic beverages such as soft drink, alcohol, coffee, processed fruit drinks and energy drinks. Secondly eat foods that are alkaline forming including a heavy consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Alkalising foods to include into your diet:
- Lemons, watermelon, limes, grapefruit, mangoes, papayas
- Asparagus, onions, vegetable juices, parsley, raw spinach, broccoli, garlic
- Olive oil
- Maple syrup, rice syrup
- Dates, figs, melons, grapes, papaya, kiwi fruit, blueberries apples, pears,
- Okra, squash, green beans, beets, celery, lettuce, zucchini, sweet potatoes, carob
- Herb teas, lemon water, Green tea
Kylie Armstrong is a Naturopath at Alkaline Spa & Clinic, an integrated day spa and wellness clinic offering the most innovative treatments specialising in detox and wellbeing.