So what’s all this stuff about the acid/alkaline balance in the body and the contribution to our overall health and wellbeing?
I’ve found, when most people read about overall wellness and nutrition, they tell me they are even more confused. Does the acid/alkaline balance of the body really matter? what does the word acidifying and alkalinizing mean? How do you know if you’re to much on one side or the other? What foods are acid forming and which ones are alkaline forming?
I’m going to attempt to put in basic terms for you today. The easiest explanation or way I like to put it is this, it’s really a yin and yang balance. We need both alkaline and acid foods to create the perfect balance and be fully healthy. If the body is in serious crisis (meaning seriously ill) with conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer, myalgia’s and arthritis to name a few, the body is then very acidic and alkaline foods are needed to heal the body and bring it towards a more alkaline state so the ailment’s can’t live in the body any longer therefore; an alkaline diet is necessary to bring the body back into balance, as most major diseases faced in the western culture today are caused by chronic low-grade acidosis (chronically acidic body). It’s also possible to be in a severe alkaline state called Alkalosis although less common. Extreme imbalances in either direction are not common, however even low levels of either condition can cause health problems. In the western cultures, we most often see chronic low-grade metabolic acidosis( an acidic body). It’s more the rule of thumb than an alkaline state in the USA and is reason for concern as we see an increase in disease occurring.
An Alkaline imbalance is rare in this part of the world, although I will give you some things to look for on that end as well.
An acidic body tends to occur with age as the kidneys weaken but can be created at any age by our dietary patterns hence the younger generations becoming ill earlier than their parents and grandparents. These dietary patterns involve the over-consumption of acid-forming( also known as acidifying) foods such as grains, proteins, sugar, refined foods, simple carbohydrates like bread, pasta and crackers, partially hydrogenated oils, processed foods, coffee, and alcohol and the under-consumption of alkaline-forming (also known as alkalinizing) foods such as fruits, vegetables, greens, nuts and seeds. When this happens the body works under a slight yet chronic tilt towards the acidic side and creates a breeding ground for a variety of health problems.
Here are 20 possible results of an acid-forming (acidifying) diet on the body
- Loss of calcium in the urine, dissolution of the bone and development of osteoporosis
- Hypertension ( high blood pressure) and painful inflammation in the body due to the loss of potassium and magnesium.
- The breakdown of protein, resulting in the worsening of age-related loss of muscle mass.
- Inability to fully repair cells, tissues and organs.
- Silent Inflammation (this causes cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, liver disease, degenerative diseases and more)
- Accelerated aging
- Diminished immunity
- Increased risk of degenerative/autoimmune disorders- due to impaired activity of anti-oxidants
- Weakened connective tissues ( like the cartilage between your bones)
- Increased risk of kidney stones
- Organ breakdown
- Digestive problems
- Candida (over growth of yeast in the body)
- Breeding grounds for a variety of viruses
- Brain dysfunction and memory loss
- Gum disease
- Weight gain with the inability to lose weight
- Low thyroid function
- Muscle weakness
Alkalosis or an over alkaline state is less common but can also can also cause health problems. Diet rarely causes alkalosis, but the overuse of certain drugs has been known to contribute to over-alkalinity. Certain health conditions and even environments can also create an chronic alkaline state. The drug most often responsible for chronic alkalinity in the body is the antacids used to treat and prevent heartburn. Over active adrenal glands, anorexia and self -inducing vomiting can also cause alkalinity. The most common serious issue caused by an overly alkaline body is hyper-excitability of the body’s nervous system, the end result being is a condition known as Tetany, which is characterized by cramps of the voluntary muscles, especially of the fingers, toes, and face. When testing your pH balance here is a good rule of thumb to follow, if your body’s pH is 6.5 to7.5 you probably have and ideal acid/alkaline balance. If your body is under 6.5 pH you most likely have and acid condition and if your body is consistently 7.6 or higher although this reading can be an indication of alkalosis, it is more likely that the reading represents a “false alkalinity” and that you have an acid condition. The list of foods that are acid or alkaline forming are way to may to list, however their are many tables you can find online as to what foods contribute to acidity and which ones contribute to alkalinity. Generally speaking, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds along with fresh fruit and vegetable juices are more alkaline forming and meats, dairy, refined grains, sugar, processed and packaged foods are more acid-forming. The book The Acid Alkaline Food Guide by Dr. Susan E. Brown and Larry Trivieri, Jr. is a great book to breakdown what side of the pH scale each food is.
With balance and harmony of the body,
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