Digestive disorders are on the increase and they are not alone: degenerative and chronic disorders are also on the up. Disorders like coeliac disease, colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome are increasing rapidly, even though many of them were unknown when we were children. One theory gaining ground equally rapidly as to the cause of this increase is acid alkaline imbalance in our bodies caused by poor diet.
What is body acid alkaline balance?
The key measurement in the theory is something called pH. It is a measurement used to describe how acidic or alkaline our blood is on a scale of 0-14, with 0 as extremely acidic, 14 as extremely alkaline and 7 as neutral. Our blood naturally has a pH of 7.365, in other words slightly alkaline. But while our body is alkaline by design it is generally acid generating by function. There are several buffer systems to help keep the pH levels of our bodies at the correct level. Modern living, particularly stress, lack of exercise and, in particular, diet has unfortunately meant that these buffer systems struggle to cope with the acidic load leading to imbalances with potentially very detrimental effects on our health. This is reflected in ever increasing levels obesity, heart disease, cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis and other degenerative conditions.
What causes acid alkaline imbalance?
There are thought to be several main factors that affect the acid alkaline balance of our body tissues and, in particular, lead to acidifying effects. We live in an age where the toxic load in our environment is significantly greater than ever before experienced. Changes in eating habits, high levels of stress, electro- magnetic stress and other environmental pollution pose a continuous daily burden on our bodies which we mayt take action to counterbalance if we want to enjoy good health. In particular, the following are considered the principal things that contribute to the acid burden on our bodies.
Diet . Ideally 70% of our diet should come from foods that leave an alkaline residue in our bodies with only 30% from acid residue foods. Alkaline residue foods are primarily vegetables and fruits- acid residue are animal products and most grains. The ideal proportion will vary from person to person depending on our metabolic type. Unfortunately typical Western diets comprise mostly acid residue foods.
Stress and Negative Emotions . High levels of stress and negative emotions produce biochemical reactions in our bodies which acidify our blood and tissues.
Harmful Pathogens. When our body pH tends towards acidity it creates an internal environment which is conducive to the colonisation of harmful pathogens such as candida. These parasites metabolise your nutrients and dump their metabolic wastes in your body. These wastes are acidic and toxic adding to the acid load on your body.
Environmental Pollution – Toxic fumes from traffic, electromagnetic smog, toxins from household chemicals and some personal care products all can add to the toxic, acidic load on our bodies, adversely affecting our body acid alkaline balance. The increased acidic load on our blood will result in lowered oxygen transfer throughout the body which is critically important to optimal cell functioning
How can I measure my body pH and determine my acid alkaline balance?
There are a number of different recommended ways to test your acid alkaline balance, but the simplest is to check your saliva levels and urine levels first thing in the morning after you have fasted for at least 8 hours. You can use special pH test papers, available from most pharmacists and health shops, to give you a trend as to your pH. You will probably see a greater variation with saliva testing. You shouldn’t regard the value of a single reading as being absolute but look for a trend over several days. You can also check the readings after meals.
If your system is well balanced you will consistently see your morning urine pH readings in the order of 6.5 to 7.5. If the pH is consistently below 6.5 then your body may have insufficient alkaline reserves to buffer the acids in the body and you may be setting yourself up for chronic degenerative disease. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns.
What can be I do to restore optimum body pH through proper acid alkaline balance?
Good nutrition and good body hydration can have a hugely beneficial effect on your health. Modern living often makes it difficult for many people to get the proper nutrition to supply their body’s needs and function optimally. However a few simple changes to your daily regime can pay handsomely. In particular the focus should be on the following:
Eliminating from your diet excessive consumption of acid forming foods. Never Mind recommends that you be sensible and that you don’t need to go as ‘extreme’ as some of the literature on the subject mandates. Sensible steps to take are to reduce consumption of sugars and simple carbohydrates, soft drinks, alcohol, fast foods, processed meats and dairy products and increase consumption of vegetables and fruits, particularly green vegetables which are alkalising and contain beneficial phytochemicals. There are many good books on the subject. Never Mind recommends starting with The Acid Alkaline Food Guide or The Acid Alkaline Balance Diet
Drink plenty of water . Yes, we know you’ve heard it all before, but it works and it’s simple! Most people suffering from excess acidity are dehydrated, although not conscious of it. Drinking tea, coffee, alcohol and soft drinks is not a substitute for drinking water and these everyday drinks can have a negative effect on body hydration levels. Drinking water helps to neutralise acids and flush toxins from the body. Aim for at least 8-10 cups per day, and add a little lemon juice to make it more alkaline.
Check your pH regularly
Take a green superfood supplement . It isn’t always easy and doen’t appeal to the palate of many of us to eat lots of green vegetables and fruits. If this is you, try taking a green superfood powder which is highly concentrated green nutrition which is very nutrient dense. The high chlorophyll content of green drink powders help to transfer oxygen throughout the body in addition to supplying alkaline nutrients. Click here for more information on superfood supplements
Try food combining. The theory of food combining advocates specific combinations of foods as central to good health, such as not mixing carbohydrate-rich foods andprotein-rich foods in the same meal. The Hay Diet is one type of food combining diet. Click here for more information on food combining.
Look positively on life. Some say that positive emotions positively affect your acid alkaline balance. Difficult to prove, buy hey, they can’t hurt, can they?