How & Why to Alkalize Your Body
Are you Acid or Alkaline?
If your diet consists of a significant amount of acid-forming foods—things like bread, sugar, and processed foods—you may be too acidic. Combine a low body pH with a sedentary lifestyle, and you have a recipe for health disaster.
Even if you eat a lot of alkaline forming foods, the body creates acids through its natural processes, like breathing and digestion, and these acids need to be neutralized. Making some changes to your dietary habits and daily health regimen can result in significant changes to your health and the way you feel in your body.
The Problem with being too Acidic
Most people in our society eat harmful diets high in conventionally produced animal products, processed foods, grains, refined oils, sugar, and carbs. Diets such as these can produce about 100mEq of acid per day which is nearly twice what the body can handle. Without additional alkalizing support, the body needs to pull vital minerals from tissues and bones in order to neutralize the acid. This is very damaging and impairs the body’s ability to detoxify and repair itself, making a person more susceptible to illness and disease.
Having an acidic environment in the body can cause unpleasant symptoms like headaches, acne, joint pain, impaired immune support, indigestion, weak hair and nails, weight issues, and allergies. Even worse, an acidic environment is a natural breeding ground for yeast, bacteria, and parasites to thrive. All the organs are affected when the body is not optimally alkalinized.
Why is it important to Alkalize?
Maintaining an alkaline diet is important for optimizing vitality because alkaline diets reduce inflammation and keep tissues healthy and supple. Inflammation is involved in many health problems like fibromyalgia, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and even cancer. Alkalizing your body protects against these issues and it also builds and strengthens the bones, reducing the incidence of osteoporosis. Fortunately, it is not difficult to change your body’s level of alkalinity,
How to Test if you are Acidic
On an ongoing basis, the body works to release excess acids that can irritate tissues and deplete minerals. One of the main ways it does this is through the renal (kidney) system. There are different methods that can be used to test acid/alkaline balance (saliva, blood) but testing the urine is one of the most common and trusted methods.
A normal rate of excretion yields a pH between 6.5 and 7.25 with 7 being completely neutral. By testing the acidity of the urine, you can determine whether the kidneys are processing a normal or excessive amount of acids. If, over repeated tests, the results yield consistently low pH results (under 6.5), this means that the body is experiencing an overflow of acids that the body has to get rid of. There is a close correlation between urinary pH and body pH. When the urine is too acidic, it is a good indication that the body is similarly overly acidic.
In order to measure urinary pH, you can purchase simple test strips from your local drug store. These strips change color when they come in contact with various substances, and the resulting shades of color can be compared to a chart showing the specific level of acidity in the substance. The pH strip needs to come in contact with the substance being measured.
The preferred way for most people to measure urinary pH is simply to hold a strip in the flow of urine for a second or two, until the strip is moistened. It is recommended not to do this first thing in the morning because acids collected overnight can influence the results out of proportion. Likewise, it is not accurate to measure after a meal because the results can be skewed by certain beverages or food items.
To get a good representation of your urinary pH, measure your levels several times throughout the day, over a period of several days, recording the results and comparing them over time. The best times for measuring are the second urination in the morning and before meals throughout the day.
What is the Ideal pH Level?
In order for our bodies to maintain the best living environment, the optimal level is close to 7.4. This is at a slightly alkalized state. Most disease conditions can't exist when the body's pH is alkaline. Viruses, bacteria and fungi can't reproduce in an alkaline environment, so diseases like cancer don’t occur or spread easily. Deviations either too far under this number or too far over can be problematic. Most people are overly acidic and so being too alkaline is not usually a concern.
A pH below 6.5 reveals acidic urine, indicating an acidic environment in the body. A reading between 6.25-6.5 is just slightly acidic but sometimes people can get readings as low as 4.5 which shows a more serious problem. If this happens to you it is advised to consult a health professional to make some changes in your diet and lifestyle right away.
Eleven Ways to Make Your Body More Alkaline
1. Start your day with a large glass of room temperature or warm water with some freshly squeezed lemon juice added. While lemons are acidic in themselves, they have an alkalizing effect in the body when they are metabolized. Drink at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day to flush the body of waste.
2. Eat your leafy greens! Enjoy a large salad once a day with lemon juice and olive oil for dressing. Greens are a great source of minerals which are alkalizing. Cucumbers and celery quickly neutralize acids and aid in digestion. They are some of the most alkalizing foods you can eat.
3. Enjoy raw, sprouted almonds as a snack food. Almonds are full of natural alkaline minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which balance blood sugar and help to balance out acidity. Eats lots of sprouts. These are full of enzymes and alkalizing nutrients. Use them on top of salads, in smoothies or as a garnish on any dish.
4. Enjoy garlic and fresh herbs. These have their own immunological benefits (antibacterial and anti-fungal) in addition to alkalizing benefits. Cruciferous vegetables are also helpful including cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage. Avocados contain high amounts of essential vitamins, fatty acids, and amino acids and are among the top foods for alkalizing the body.
5. Include antioxidant-rich foods like berries in your diet. Add them to smoothies, along with extra green powders like spirulina, chlorella, etc
6. Choose organic. Avoid pesticides as much as possible and GMO foods at all costs.
7. Along with eating the healthy foods, avoid eating unhealthy foods—which means no sugar. Sodas are a big culprit. It takes over 30 full glasses of water to neutralize the acidity of just one can of soda! If you do eat acid forming foods, eat them in combination with alkaline forming foods to create more overall balance.
8. Limit intake of animal products which generally have an acid-forming effect in the body. Fresh produce should be the largest proportion of your entire food intake. Protein intake generally doesn’t need to be more than 40-50 grams a day.
9. Get regular exercise. Moving your body circulates nutrients and oxygen to the cells of all your tissues and helps the body eliminate acidic waste products. Take a deep breath! Go for a hike, be out in nature, and get fresh oxygen-rich air as much as possible.
10. Add a tablespoon of superfood cider vinegar or apple cider vinegar to a glass of water with ¼-1/2 teaspoon of baking soda once a day and drink it down. If you have sodium retention issues, add 1-2 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice as well. When the foaming action subsides, add 8 oz. of water and drink it right away. You can also opt to use just the baking soda by itself in water. Use just ¼ tsp in 4 oz. of water twice a day in the morning and before bed.
11. Sunshine and vitamin D, multi-strain probiotics, raw honey, medicinal mushrooms, reducing stress, sleeping more, and avoiding environmental toxins all help the body achieve a better pH balance.