One of the many factors that allows our body to function is pH or potential for Hydrogen. It is measured on a scale of 0-14, with 7 being neutral. Ideally, we live at an overall pH of a little greater than 7 or just slightly alkaline. pH differs in various areas of the body. For example, the stomach is very acidic, around 2.3-3.5 in order to digest food. The alkalinity of blood is exceedingly stable, around 7.36-7.44. If blood moves out of that range, it is life-threatening.
Why an Alkaline Body is Important
Some signs of acidosis are fatigue, brittle nails, and hair, joint pain, headache, depression, digestive issues, decreased immune function and reduced ability to repair damaged cells or detoxify the body. The kidneys, liver and respiratory system all work together to maintain Acid-Base Homeostasis. This is another way of referring to the way the body maintains the pH of the blood and body systems. Every cell in our body is involved in this delicate balancing act. The kidneys produce bicarbonate ions to neutralize acid in the blood. When bicarbonate binds to hydrogen, carbon dioxide and water are produced. The carbon dioxide is released in our breath and the water is excreted in urine. When the kidneys are unable to process all of the acid, it gets deposited in our tissues, which can lead to a multitude of problems.
It is fairly simple to test our urine or saliva pH with a strip. These are available at your local health food store. You will want to test first thing in the morning before you have anything to eat or drink. A healthy pH reading should be in the 7.4 range.
14 Ways to be More Alkaline
An alkaline way of eating supports a healthier lifestyle.
Diets high in animal-based foods, refined carbohydrates, and highly processed foods tend to be more acid forming. Plant foods tend to be more alkalizing. One way of becoming more balanced is to eat more foods that produce less acid after digestion.
Reduce your sugar and carbohydrate intake.
Sugar and carbohydrate metabolism increases Hydrogen ions.
Drink plenty of water and add a squeeze of lemon.
This assists in flushing the kidneys. Adding a big squeeze of lemon or a small amount of baking soda to your water can increase the alkalinity. Although lemon juice is acidic outside the body, it reduces hydrogen ions inside the body, which makes it alkaline after digestion. All citrus fruits do this to some degree. Lemon juice is high in vitamin C which supports immune function and increases the absorption of key minerals like iron. In addition, citric acid is an antioxidant which helps to strengthen blood vessels, reduces inflammation and plaque formation in your arteries. It may also assist in reducing the formation of kidney stones.
Alkaline water (pH 8-9) is available in most areas
Most water shops have alkaline water and you may also find an alkalizing pitcher. Alkaline water has smaller molecules than tap water and permeates the cells faster and better. Most tap water has a pH of 6.5-7.
Choose organic foods and natural products.
Studies show that while nutrient content may be similar, organic foods contain fewer toxins. Use natural cleaning and personal care products.
Use cooking methods that keep foods close to their natural state.
High heat methods create chemical changes in foods that are toxic and create acid. Non-toxic cookware will also reduce exposure to acid-forming toxins.
Make salads a staple in your meals.
Leafy greens are especially non-acid forming.
Eat balanced meals
A balanced meal includes a variety of alkaline foods to offset the acidity of other foods in the meal. For example, have a sweet potato and a salad with meat, instead of a grain like rice, corn, or bread to balance the acidity of the meat.
Soak and sprout grains
Sprouted grains are more alkaline.
Smaller portions allow the body to process the acid.
Chew your food well.
This mixes the food with saliva and helps to neutralize acid.
Reduce your stress level.
Food and stress are two big factors in acid creation. Stress produces hormones such as Cortisol that are highly acidic. Become aware of your stress points and avoid them. Take a walk daily or decompress. Meditation is another way to de-stress.
Move your body.
Aerobic exercise has been shown to reduce acid in muscle. Sweat provides another way for the body to excrete excess acid. In addition, exercise helps you to reduce stress.
Take a multi-vitamin.
The American Medical Association agrees with many nutritionists that you should take a multivitamin daily. There are a number of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C, D, and calcium, and magnesium that help us to alkalize.
These are some of the ways that you can put less stress on your organs and support Acid-Base Homeostasis. Most of these steps are fairly simple to do and promote and support a healthier lifestyle.