Last week I posted a photo on instagram talking about alkaline vs. acidic foods that garnered a positive response from many of you. I wanted to discuss the imporance in more detail and answer some questions. Its a fun topic in my opinion and SO IMPORTANT! Lets just get to it, ok?
What does pH mean?
The term pH refers to the relative proportions of acidity and alkalinity and stands for potantial hydrogen. Every living system on earth has a pH: your hair, ocean water, the air. Even Draino and lighter fluid has a pH.
Maintaining a proper pH inside our bodies is one of the necessities for good health. When we have a balanced pH we lose weight easily (assming you have weight to lose), we have clearer skin and are less likely to get sick or suffer from chronic illness.
Essentially a balanced pH = healthy af.
Health and an Imbalanaced pH
Addressing an over acidic system is fundamental to bringing the body back to health. So what can happen if you are overly acidic which many Americans are?
Acidic enviorments are breeding grounds for pathogens that get us sick.
The ratio of celluar pH determines whether bad bacteria and pathogens incuabte or reamin dormant -basically if disease spreads or not. When tissues and organs are loaded down with acidity then the body can't properly distribute oxygen to cells- this leads to mucus building up in lungs causing infections and viruses. The main forms of arthritis relate to a pH imbalance and accumalation of acid in the joints.
Acidity weakens the nervous system making it harder to manage stress and day to day life.
If you are constantly out of breath you might be suffering from acidosis which means the body is having trouble delivering oxygen to the cells because the blood is too acidc.
Acidic conditions in the body are also associated with cataracts, gout, migraines, constipation, cancer, acne, skin rashes, stroke, allergies, diabetes and more. Its a laundry list people.
Why is it A Matter of Life and Death?
The pH of the enviorment determines if a living organism will thrive or die.
For example crops and plants can grow in soil that has the right pH. They will be able to absorb nutrients, bare fruit and ripen. If the soil's pH is out of the range in which it was designed to live (either too acidic or too alkaline) it will not grow and existing plants will die.
If you put a salt water fish in a fresh water tank it wont be able to survive. Swimming pools and spas have to maintain a certian pH so it doesn't turn green and gross shit grows all over. You get the point- pH is important.
Your internal pH works the same. If it is out of balance then your health pays the price. In order to assimulate nutrients and minerals from food your pH has to be properly balanced.
pH is measured on a scale from 0-14. 0 being acidic and 14 being alkaline. The measurement of 7 is considered neutral and there is really only one solution with a pH of 7 and that is pure distilled water.
pH is the most important factor in your health
To help illustrate the importance of the pH inside our bodies lets look at fish. Freshwater fish need a water pH between 6 and 7 to survive and thrive. This is described as slightly acidic.
If things dip below 6 then the fishes food supply will start to dwindle and their eggs cannot survive so the fish supply will start to decrease. If the pH of the water goes below 5 then almost all freshwater aquatic plants and animals die. Our oceans are begining to acidicfy from pollution which is bad news for the climate and for all living organisms in the ocean.
The pH of fluid inside our bodies works the same as the fluid outside of the fish. Our blood and the fluid in and outside of our cells has been designed by nature to function optimally when the pH is 7.30-7.45 or slightly alkaline.
When our pH is out of balance every metobolic fuction in the body suffers - if our blood becomes too acidic or too alkaline we die- just like the fish.
Mother nature is the OG genius
Our bodies were designed by nature to maintain an alkaline pH. The way it does this is through the process of neutralization. Its like momma earth knew we'd over due it on the acidic stuff (soda, fries, donuts). If the body is becoming too acid due to the food and drinks we consume then it will draw upon the bodies alkaline reserve consisting of minerals that are stored in our teeth, bones and tissues to balance the pH.
Your body naturally procudes lactic acid when you work out. Even breathing, cell building and calorie burning are normal functions that create acid that our bodies neutralize from our reserves. However the reserves are not infinte and we have to replenish the alkalizing minerals throuh proper diet rich in alkalizing foods.
Unfortunately most Americans eat a SAD diet that is full of too much acidic foods and not enough alkalizing foods.
Fruits and vegetables are alkalizing and meat, dairy, most fats, grains, and junk food are all acidic forming. The most acidic foods are refined carbohydrates (white flour, sugar), soda (especially diet) artificail sweeteners, alcohol, coffee and prescription drugs.
pH and Cancer
Back in 1931 Dr. Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize in medicine for his discovery around cancer cells. He proved that cancer cells thrive in an acidic enviornemt but die when the bodily fluids are alkaline. The opposite is true for health cells in the body- they thrive in alkaline enviornments and die when the body becomes to acid. This is why many homopathic and naturapathic doctors put their patients on alkaline diets when they are diagnosed with cancer.
Whats the good news?
You have to eat health acid forming foods too. Your body does not have a way to balance an over alkaline body like it does acidic. Over alkalinity could be worse then over acidic- Just an FYI. So feel free to enjoy the coffee and the wine and the dark chocolate, ok? Just keep the quantity in check.
This being said it is extremely hard to eat too much alkalizing foods simply because our enviornment is so toxic already. The indoor and outdoor air pollutants, herbicides and pesticides on food, contaminated water supply, cosemetics and shampoo. All these things can throw off our pH so don't worry its highly unlikely that you will over do it on the spinach.
SO HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A PROPER pH BALANCE?
Eating a diet of 75-80% alkaline foods and 20-25% acidic foods creates a balanced pH in the body.