You may have read about pH balance in health articles, but do you really know what it’s all about? What do the experts say?
pH stands for “potential of hydrogen.” So, for example, the lower the pH level of a solution, the more free hydrogen ions contained within it, and vice versa. This measurement is an assessment of the alkaline and acid in a substance, and is based on a scale ranging from 0 (acidic) to 14 (alkaline), with 7 being neutral.
The goal for the human body is to be slightly alkaline, so 7.35 to 7.5, in order to function properly. Since pH levels can fluctuate throughout the day due to environmental factors and the foods we eat, care should be taken to keep the reading fairly stable within that range.
While there are differing views out there, I am a firm believer that pH balance is critical to health. An acid/alkaline imbalance creates an environment where cells and tissues are damaged, “opportunistic” microbial organisms flourish and the immune system is weakened. An acidic situation like this helps diseases thrive and can take a toll on our bones.
As an article from PubMed states, “There may be some value in considering an alkaline diet in reducing morbidity and mortality from chronic diseases and further studies are warranted in the area of medicine.” It goes on to say, “With aging, there is a gradual loss of renal acid-base regulatory function and a resultant increase in diet-induced metabolic acidosis while on the modern diet (SAD) … It would be prudent to consider an alkaline diet to reduce morbidity of chronic disease that are plaguing our aging population.”
The Acid-Alkaline Hypothesis
- Diet affects the pH of our blood.
- Our urine pH is an accurate indicator of our health.
- Acid-forming diets contribute to modern disease.
You will want to come to your own conclusions, but here are some similar and differing thoughts on the importance of pH balance from well-known natural health practitioners.
Dr. Mercola: “The typical American diet is loaded with sugar and processed foods, which throws off your body’s ability to optimize your pH. Although your body has mechanisms to buffer your pH, many of you are likely living in a state of low-grade acidosis from eating too many low-quality processed, devitalized foods. Our ancestors had no problems with pH because they ate a pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer diet, rich in plant foods and high-quality meats, and devoid of grains. You can optimize your body’s pH by eating like your ancestors did – a diet rich in raw, organic, whole foods – and this will help your body achieve homeostasis.”
Dr. Axe: “Normally, the kidneys maintain our electrolyte levels, those of calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. When we are exposed to acidic substances, these electrolytes are used to combat acidity. High degrees of acidity force our bodies to rob minerals from the bones, cells, organs and tissues. Cells end up lacking enough minerals to properly dispose of waste or oxygenate completely. Vitamin absorption is compromised by mineral loss. Toxins and pathogens accumulate in the body and the immune system becomes suppressed.”
Chris Kresser: “If you take an acid-alkaline diet through to its logical conclusion, you’ll end up on a vegetarian or even vegan diet. If you try to maximize the alkaline-forming quality of the diet, then you’ll pretty much be eschewing all animal proteins. And if you do that, you’re going to put yourself at higher risk for things like B12 deficiency, calcium deficiency, zinc deficiency, vitamin D deficiency, EPA and DHA deficiency, and all of the health problems that are associated with that. So it’s not just a benign misunderstanding; it’s a pretty significant one that could negatively impact the health of a lot of people.” (RHR: Dispelling the Acid-Alkaline Myth)
Testing Your pH
You can test your own pH level very easily with the use of urine or saliva strips. These pH strips from Enzymedica are easy to use and give immediate results. A color chart is included for you to assess your result.
Read this post titled “5 Tests to Take for Good Health and Disease Prevention” to learn more about this test and others that may help you get to the bottom of health issues and possibly help avoid future illness.
How Foods Affect pH
Foods are either acid or alkaline-forming. They are analyzed for their potential renal acid loads, or PRALs, to determine their status. Higher alkaline is considered a negative acid load. Foods in this category include some fruits and vegetables, pumpkin and poppy seeds, mineral water and kombucha, baking soda and sea salt. Foods with higher acid loads include grains, sugar, animal proteins, dairy, certain oils and legumes. The SAD (Standard American Diet) consists of too many acid-producing foods.
Incorporating more alkaline-forming foods in your daily meals will go a long way toward helping to achieve and maintain pH balance. And, if you are a non-believer in the importance of pH balance, following the alkaline food chart will at least help you include more vegetables and fruits in your diet. Always a good thing! This chart is one of the most complete I’ve found, and gives you good direction in choosing the healthy foods you need for optimal health. If you are somewhat acidic, combining several of the alkaline producing foods by juicing is an easy way to support your pH balance.
pH Balance Support Products
Aside from diet, there are supplements available to help you alkalinize the body. These are some of the best sellers we offer at Natural Healthy Concepts with free domestic shipping:
All of these products are good options for helping to maintain pH balance in the body.
What is your opinion on the idea behind pH balance? Do you follow an alkaline diet in order to keep your pH levels in the optimal range? Share your views on the importance of pH balance in the comments section below!
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