Many people already know that it’s important to eat the right foods in order to live a healthy, disease-free life. However, what remains unknown are the underlying reasons why eating a poor diet causes aches, pains, weight gain, chronic disease and more. Not only do these nutrient-devoid foods provide a lack of vitamins and minerals the body desperately needs, it also can wreak havoc on the body’s pH levels.
pH is short for power of hydrogen. pH levels are essentially an assessment of hydrogen ions in the body. You may have heard the term ‘pH scale’. These are numbers assigned to interpret the hydrogen ions in the body.
The scale ranges from 0 to 14 with 0 being the most acidic and 14 the most alkaline. Ideally, pH levels should be around 7.4 for optimal health. Even the slightest variation can cause issues. The pH levels in the body are referred to as either acidic (lower numbers on the scale) or alkaline (higher numbers on the scale.) The body fights to stay in balance and keep the pH level around 7.4 Just as too much acidity is a problem so is too much alkalinity in the body.
When the body becomes too acidic, it takes mineral reserves from vital organs (like the liver and heart) as well as bones, tissues and cells. This leaves these essential body parts lacking in needed minerals and vitamins and opens the door to pathogens, compromises the immune system and allows these dangerous entities to flourish.
The symptoms of acidic pH levels can be seen in many common illnesses and ailments. Chronic joint pain, asthma, headaches, weight gain, fatigue, colds and inflammation are just some of the health issues associated with out of balance pH levels. When this imbalance continues indefinitely more serious conditions can arise; auto-immune disorders, heart disease, cancers, arthritis, high blood pressure and more are long term consequences of an acidic diet.
So how does the body get out of pH balance? One of the most common problems is with the foods we eat today. Modern society eats mostly acidic foods causing the body’s pH to become acidic. These highly processed foods often contain high levels of sodium which constrict blood vessels and contribute to acidity. Additionally, many of these foods are devoid of essential nutrients leaving the body with even less of what it needs to maintain the proper pH balance.
Foods are determined to be either acidic or alkaline based on the vitamins and minerals they contain. Acidic foods contain acid-forming minerals like phosphorus, copper and sulphur. Foods are considered alkaline when they contain minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium and iron.
Foods that are acidic are grains, dairy products, conventional meats, deli meats, corn oils, sweeteners, some nuts and seeds and legumes. Many of these should be avoided altogether but others like nuts and seeds should be limited in consumption.
Alkaline foods are those that are raw, uncooked or processed fruits and vegetables; green leafy veggies, almonds, avocados, grasses and more. Certain spices like garlic, cumin and basil also promote a healthy pH balance in the body.
Although diet is one of the most influential factors in body pH, there are other factors which add to the problem. Chronic stress, overuse of antibiotics, lack of exercise, alcohol and drugs, artificial sweeteners, and overconsumption of animal proteins perpetuate the problem.
So how do you know if your pH is in balance aside from symptoms? Luckily there are simple tests you can purchase to determine your body’s pH. Using saliva or urine these tests utilize paper pH strips and have results usually within minutes or even seconds. These kits are offered on sites like Amazon, drug stores and vitamin shops.
If your pH test does reveal that your pH is out of balance begin by making important lifestyle changes. Start with diet; eliminate acidic foods and add foods promoting alkalinity. Buying fresh, locally grown produce that is in season is a great place to start. Visit your local farmer’s market, country produce stand or even join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group. Visit http://www.localharvest.org/ to find your nearest farmers market.
The age old adage, you are what you eat, is certainly proving to be true more and more these days. Paying attention to diet and overall lifestyle can help you to live a long, disease and pain-free life in optimal health and well-being.Leave a reply →