by Jessica Sanders

Alkaline Foods: The Good, The Iffy and the Great

You may remember from high school chemistry that acids have a low pH number and an alkaline value is a high pH, while a neutral pH is 7.0. Have you given any thought to the value of potential hydrogen (pH) since then? Probably not!  But n terms of your everyday health, pH is very important.  The pH balance of our bodily fluids is considered a measurement of our general state of health!

According to experts at Touch of Health. “…pH influences every physiologic activity in your body, including metabolism, pain, and diseases. The speed of all biological and electrical reactions is under pH control.”

acid vs alkalinepH of blood and tissues should be approximately 7.3 (slightly alkaline) while that of saliva and urine should be 6.8 to 7.0 (neutral). .

If our blood pH drops much below a reading of 6.8, our body cells may cease to function, change in structure, not regenerate, or die. Our ability to absorb essential nutrients or detoxify eliminating negative substances is greatly diminished. Additionally, research has shown that the body can’t heal itself unless its pH level is slightly alkaline. Many, if not most, health problems indicate an overly acidic environment!

Eating alkaline foods is a great way to keep your pH balanced, and in turn help these integral bodily functions to work properly. But they don’t just keep your pH in check and your biological reactions on a schedule; alkaline foods have a variety of health benefits that you just might want to cash in on.

The Good: Alkaline and Your Health

Alkaline diets have become popular in recent years because of one basic idea: eating alkaline foods will help to maintain proper pH balance, and therefore affect how healthy you are and how long you will live. But it’s not just a general idea, alkaline foods have a number of huge health benefits that you don’t want to miss out on:

Lower the risk for kidney stones

A diet high in animal protein, which an alkaline diet is not, can lower your urine pH and increase your risk for kidney stones. However, an alkaline diet does just the opposite (raise your urine pH and lower your risk for kidney stones).

Decrease bone loss

If your body has too much acidity, calcium is drawn from your bones to buffer the excess amounts. The fact is consuming too many acidic foods can lead to osteoporosis. When you maintain a balanced pH the calcium stays where it should—in your bones.

Prevent cancer

Too much acidity in your body lowers oxygen levels, which in turn stops your cellular metabolism. If this cycle continues, then it can lead to the growth of cancer cells, whereas an alkaline state encourages proper cell turnover—ultimately what prevents cancer. It’s important to note that many health professionals disagree on this.

alkaline diet benefitsFewer colds

An acidic body allows for the growth of bad bacteria, fungi and yeast and this puts you at risk for getting sick.

Better digestion

Most digestion issues, from bloating to gastric reflux, are a result of too much acid in the body. This in turn leaves the pancreas with too few alkaline minerals, which exhausts the organ. When it’s exhausted it can’t decode your food and tell your body what to do with it and digestion becomes a problem.

Even mild acidosis has been connected with many conditions. An acid body terrain can show signs of adrenal insufficiency, muscle soreness, fatigue, slow recovery from colds and flus, as well as premature aging. Even people who are depressed have shown to have a constant acidic body terrain.

The Iffy: Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad

The missing piece in this is probably one of alkaline deficiency, more than one of too much acid. If compensation is comprised of too many alkaline foods, then this can lead to alkalosis, which causes:

  • Allergies
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypothyroidism

But don’t let that scare you away. Study after study has shown that most Americans — 68 to 91%– don’t eat enough daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Eat a balanced diet of 80% alkaline and 20% non-alkaline—acid forming—foods.

Test you pH so you can tailor this balance to your specific needs.

The Great: Test Your pH and Eat Up

Especially for those who eat a very western diet—artificial sweeteners, alcohol, flour and cheese, of which are acid for—testing your pH and eating alkaline foods is critical. The western diet consists almost completely of acid-forming foods, which tips your pH scales, causing them to become unbalanced.

Whether you eat a lot of these foods or not, it’s important to test your pH; this is often done by testing the pH of your urine with a kit from the drug store. The process is simple:

  • Release a flow of urine from your bladder for a few seconds (to allow the most acidic urine to be released from being stored in the body). Then, place the provided strip under your urine stream.
  • Once the strip is sufficiently moist, immediately compare it to the color strip that comes with the kit. The number that corresponds with that color is your pH level.

Once you know your pH levels you can determine how much alkalinizing foods you should eat. Regardless of how much you need, be sure to choose from this list of highly alkaline foods:

  • alkaline food listCruciferous vegetables
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Lemons
  • Leafy greens
  • Garlic
  • Avocado
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Seaweed
  • Cucumbers
  • Radishes
  • Bell peppers
  • Barley grass
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Beet greens
  • Cauliflower

Since most people are too acidic, returning to a slightly alkaline state is a piece of the healing puzzle. The only people who don’t emphasize the alkaline/acidity balance as central to health are quacks that peddle a pharmaceutical pill for every ill, a drug for every bug.

A balanced pH is critical to a healthy body, and alkaline foods are an important part of keeping it balanced.   They will give you energy, oxygen and nutrients. Then you, as well as each one of your trillions of cells, will start to feel better as you become cleansed, nourished and protected.

Not to mention, alkalinizing foods help to reduce bone loss, lower your risk for kidney stones and improve digestion. Before adding these foods to your diet, however, test your pH so you can determine how much you need to keep your body happy and healthy.

P.S. Simple Tip: Drinking plenty of fresh non-chlorinated water helps your kidneys flush excess acids, and help to balance your body pH.