An important point to understand is that, the effect of the pH of foods that we ingest is after digestion; the ash that a particular food leaves behind. Therefore, acidic tasting foods like lemons, when digested are actually alkaline to the body due to the alkalizing minerals left behind.
Most North American diets are way to acid, setting the stage for an acidic society. Foods such as fast food, processed foods, meats and grains leave behind an acidic ash. Now another important point to understand is that, it doesn’t mean that all acidic foods are bad and alkaline foods are good. It is all about a balance. Your body always wants to maintain homeostasis (just another word for balance) therefore a balance of both acid and alkaline forming foods should be consumed. Now does that mean that you can get your acidic foods from fast foods and other processed foods? The answer is NO. You would be missing out on the important health benefits of “healthy” acidic foods such as legumes, whole grains and some nuts as well as eating foods with too much salt, bad fat and devoid of vital nutrients.
Here’s are some common problems associated with being too acidic;
o Poor bone health – the pH of the blood has a very narrow range and is vital for you stay alive. If you blood goes even slightly too acidic or alkaline you die! Therefore it is put into priority to keep you alive (isn’t the human body amazing??). So when you are eating too many acidic foods, your body will put out alkaline minerals such as calcium from the bones to balance out the pH of the blood. If this happens occasionally, all is okay.....but over a lifetime, it leads to osteoporosis.
o Fatigue – Your cell function gets disrupted leading to fatigue.
o Free radical damage occurs with greater ease, while antioxidant activity is impaired
o Vitamins and minerals are poorly absorbed
o Decreased immune system (due to increased free radical damage, decreased cell function, etc) – more likely to get sick. Actually, if you get sick often you might want to take a look at your pH
o Connective tissue becomes weakened causing skin and hair to lose their tone and texture
o Headaches and migraines are more common
o Water retention – likely due to mineral imbalances
o Many health care professionals believe that a highly acidic body can lead to cancer
o Burning sensations on tongue or the mouth
o Bad breath
o .....to name a few
How to measure PH - A few points to consider;
o You can purchase pH paper at the health food store.
o Urine and saliva pH are equally effective to measure your pH. Actually, it is highly beneficial to test both many times throughout the day to get an accurate idea of where you are at.
o Tear a piece of pH paper. Spit into a spoon or cup or alternatively urinate into a plastic cup. Do not put the pH paper into your mouth. Dip the paper into the fluid. Read the pH level using the chart that comes with your paper.
o Ideal ranges
6.2 - 7.0 @ 7am
6.6 - 7.2 @ 3pm
7.0 - 7.4 @ 9pm
pH Food chart - if you are having trouble reading this.....please click here and print your own copy of this great resource from Genuine Health, makers of Greens+.
To restore healthy pH levels (as most North Americans are acidic) aim to get 75% of your food intake from alkaline sources and 25% from acidic foods.
Here are some practical tips to Alkalize your diet (even if you do not test your pH, most people need to work on becoming more alkaline)
o Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Most are alkalizing
o Add fresh lemon or lime juice to your water
o Eat at least 1 cup of dark leafy green vegetables per day. Click here for my simple yummy greens recipe
o Eat millet and quinoa as an option for the acid forming grains (wheat, brown rice)
o Enjoy miso soup (1 tsp of miso into 1 cup of hot water. Drink on its own or add some fresh veggies or sea vegetables)
o Enjoy a green smoothie for breakfast, lunch or dinner
o Enjoy homemade strawberry sorbet instead of ice cream
o Choose fish and lamb over beef and chicken for less acid forming protein
o Use olive oil instead of other vegetable oils, also more alkaline.
o Talk to your health care practitioner about supplementing with a greens powder or buffered vitamin C to alkalize to system
And lastly, it is important to note that it is not solely food that influences the state of your pH. You mental state, your thoughts and feelings can impact your pH. Thinking happy, peaceful thoughts can help make you more alkaline which negative and stressful thoughts can push you to be more acidic.
So choose your thoughts wisely!!
"Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food"
~Hippocrates, Father of Medicine, 400 B.C.~
~Hippocrates, Father of Medicine, 400 B.C.~
Share with me - What foods do you eat to improve your health and what is your favorite way to prepare them??