A sophisticated dance is happening inside the body when it comes to pH balance. A measure of how acidic or alkaline the blood is, pH stands for “potential of hydrogen.” The amount of acid in our blood can vary depending on different factors, such as food choices and the ability of organs to filter carbon dioxide out of the body. When pH balance is too far out of whack, the body experiences stress that can lead to health issues. It’s a complex process, but your diet is one of the ways you can influence your delicate pH balance.
pH and Disease
High levels of acid in the blood can cause your body to pull important minerals like calcium from your bones to neutralize the acid, which can lead to decreased bone density and osteoporosis. A pH imbalance caused by over-acidity can potentially cause inflammatory problems like arthritis or even bronchitis. Also, research shows that cancer and autoimmune disease thrive in acidic environments.
pH and Diet
Health experts agree the average American diet is quite rich in acid-forming foods and lacking when it comes to alkaline or acid-neutralizing foods. One of the ways you can work toward a healthy pH balance in your body is through diet. Take inventory of the foods you tend to eat and consider swapping out some acid-forming foods for acid-reducing foods and aiming for a diet with a balance of acidic and alkaline foods.
Acid-Forming Foods. Alcohol, meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and grains are all acid-forming. Surprised by foods like eggs, milk, cheese and grains? As it turns out, what’s important is not so much the pH of the food itself, but the pH that results once the food is broken down in the body. Grains and milk, for example, leave behind acidic phosphates and sulfates after we’ve digested them.
Acid-Reducing Foods. When it comes to foods that reduce acid, it’s simple. If a food comes out of the ground, grows on a bush or on a tree, it’s likely alkaline. This means fruits and vegetables are acid-reducing with these few exceptions: corn, squash, green peas, blueberries, cranberries and prunes. Other alkaline choices include mineral water, almonds, tofu and cultured dairy products.
The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14 with 7 considered neutral. A pH less than 7 is said to be acidic and a pH greater than 7 is alkaline. Our ideal pH balance is slightly alkaline - 7.30 to 7.45. To find your pH level, do a litmus paper test first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking. Purchase test strips online, at vitamin stores, health stores or pharmacies.
Health experts believe there are many effects of an unbalanced pH level, such as low energy, poor digestion, joint or muscle aches and problematic weight management. There are also other factors that contribute to a balanced pH level, such as exercise, detoxification and water usage. Help bring yours in line by making healthy diet changes that will leave you feeling great!