When we think of a “healthy” person we probably think of someone who is in great shape, someone who eats a natural diet and exercises regularly; they look vibrant, young and generally “feel good”. Most Americans live a life of inactivity and poor eating habits. With a fascination for soft drinks, fast food and unhealthy snacks, not only is obesity a factor, but general ill health is a huge concern. There are more than 270 billion dollars a year spent in healthcare to support this unhealthy lifestyle. This is a serious issue that is likely only to get worse if we don’t start making changes right away!
So let’s START!
Before we can get into the nuts and bolts of trying to balance the pH in your body, let’s first take a look at our exposure to pH as we usually think about it: pH kits are available to test our swimming pool water, our hot tubs, our fish tanks and even our soil. But we never really think that we, as human beings, also have a measurable pH in our bodies just as every other life form on the planet does. We should be equally (if not more) concerned with our own pH as we are with the water that we swim in or the water that our household fish swims in.
Probably thinking back to high school Chemistry 101 is the last time we really had to take a look at a chemical element. Recall the periodic table of elements where we were first exposed to H2O and O2 learning what the common chemical compound names were for water and oxygen? The term “pH” is used within chemical formulas to indicate the presence of hydrogen. The “H” means hydrogen in this formula, just as the “H” in “H2O” indicates the presence of hydrogen in water. The term “pH” is used to mean the power of hydrogen within the solution. There is some debate within the scientific community of where the “p” comes from, but it now is indicative of the word “power.” It indicates the concentration of hydrogen ions within a solution. In chemistry, pH is a numeric scale used to specify the acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous (water based) solution. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. Neutral is 7. Figures below 7 indicate acidity, increasing towards zero; figures rising above 7 indicate increasing alkalinity. The pH of body fluids, in health, is accurately maintained between about 6.8 to 7.2. Below this range the condition of acidosis exists; above it, alkalosis. Both are dangerous.
Let’s talk about how we can immediately begin to make changes in your overall health and on your way to feeling good. The inactive and unhealthy lifestyle that most Americans are living is creating an environment in our bodies that is causing an imbalance in our body’s pH. This is a condition called Chronic Acidosis. What that means is that our bodies are more acidic than they are alkaline. The average American diet contains nearly 70% acid-producing foods like soft drinks, fast food, chips, fries and also sweets like candy, ice cream and commercially produced desserts. Your body is an amazing thing and strives to be healthy despite what you are putting into it. It fights the good fight every day to try and create balance in this crazy acidic environment and steals from alkaline resources to create that balance. If these
systems did not work, your body would be in a lethal state of acidosis. But think, we are now taking our alkaline reserves to fight the acidity overload. Nothing about that even sounds good. This leads to a low-grade CONSTANT state of acidosis, which although is not lethal, is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting. And you may not even know it!
So what does this mean in relationship to what goes on inside your body?
The body has 3 very distinct methods of eliminating and neutralizing acids:
~ PROTEIN IN THE BLOOD acts as a watch dog to guard against changes in acidity in the body.
~ BREATHING gives off carbon and protects us from a build up of carbonic acid.
~ THE KIDNEYS work both sides of the equation striving to balance acidity and alkalinity by excreting or retaining acids depending on where the imbalance is. The kidneys also manufacture bicarbonate ions to reduce acid. Here’s an interesting fact about bicarbonate:
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, one of the most useful household staples available. Some people believe that when taken internally, baking soda can help maintain the pH balance in your bloodstream. This is likely the basic premise behind its recommended uses against both colds and influenza symptoms. In their booklet “Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Medical Uses,” published in 1924, Dr. Volney S. Cheney recounts his clinical successes with sodium bicarbonate in treating cold and flu: “In 1918 and 1919 while fighting the ‘flu’ with the U. S. Public Health Service it was brought to my attention that rarely anyone who had been thoroughly alkalinized with bicarbonate of soda contracted the disease, and those who did contract it, if alkalinized early, would invariably have mild attacks.” Imagine? This was touting the benefits of pH alkalinity in 1918!
There are many, many varied diseases and conditions that are related to an imbalance of pH in our bodies that the list is incredible. Some of these include listlessness or fatigue, headaches, lack of motivation, depression, acne, brittle hair and nails, dry skin, sensitive gums, loose teeth, mouth ulcers, cavities, leg cramps and spasms, mood swings, digestive problems, cardiovascular damage, weight gain, obesity, and in extreme cases even diabetes and cancer. That is not even a full comprehensive list, but very likely most people experience either one or more of these negative symptoms or conditions as a regular part of their life. Why wait until cancer or diabetes develops before addressing the other symptoms early on?
Certainly there is a way out of this and it starts with testing your own body’s pH. It can be tested through saliva or urine and is a good indicator of where your starting point is and allow you to assess how drastic or gradual your changes need to be. A change in diet, exercise routine, water intake, stress management and trying to stabilize gnawing emotional issues are all changes ready to be adopted into your new lifestyle platform that will ease your body back into balance by adjusting your own pH. Every one of those changes that you need to make is an integral part of your overall health and well being and address the WHOLE essence of what we are made of and how we feel.
So although the symptoms you are experiencing may seem hopeless, it is certainly worth a shot to at least be aware of your own pH, recognize that it may (and likely is), causing one or more negative conditions in your life and CAN be changed. Just understand that the root cause of much of what you feel mentally, physically and emotionally is directly tied to what you ingest. The old saying “you are what you eat” could never have been more true than now with the array of bad food choices we are faced with and subject to on a daily basis. Just start thinking of the connection between those poor food choices and why your pH balance is vital to good health, energy, mental clarity and confidence. Make these choices knowing full well that your body will respond by being in tune, adjusted and balanced. Helping your body fight the good fight every day against the acid laden temptations out there in the world is a cause worth investing in. Most of the work is already happening naturally and biologically; it is up to you to just add the extra support in this fight and we can win this battle!
Here are some alkaline boosting foods that you can start with right away which also have MANY other benefits:
~ Bell Peppers
Here are some acid-reducing lifestyle changes that you need to incorporate IMMEDIATELY!
~ Red Meat