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Issue 71: A pH Balancing Act

Your body’s internal environment may play a large role in your health and your diet can be a determining factor in your body’s internal environment, including its pH balance.

But what is pH?

pH stands for “power of hydrogen”—a measurement of the concentration of hydrogen ions—and is usually expressed as a number on what’s termed a pH scale which ranges from 1 to 14. One is the most acidic, 7 is neutral, and 14 is the most alkaline.

Blood, for example, has a pH level of 7.43—a value considered optimal—and is slightly more alkaline. Levels that are lower than 7 are indicative of a more acidic state, something called acidosis, while levels above 7.5 are indicative of an overly alkaline state termed alkalosis.

Okay. So what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that our modern diets are heavy on the acidic side--replete with processed grains, commercial meats, sugars and unhealthy fats--and can lead to a state of chronic acidosis. When this happens, there is reduced alkalinity of the body, including the blood and bodily tissues, which can directly affect the cells of the heart, blood, brain, nerves, muscles, bones, skin and hair. 

The truth is that the body’s 100 trillion cells which communicate with each other—via electrical, chemical and hormonal processes—prefer a slightly alkaline state. As a result, the body tries to get to its preferred pH balance by excreting the excess acids through the kidneys, lungs, and skin, as well as digestion and cellular metabolism.

If the body can’t keep up, though, that’s when an overly acidic environment can affect the bloodstream and cellular communication.

In extreme cases, the body may respond to the acidity by diverting the acid away from internal organs and into tissues, joints and bones. And while this may temporarily protect internal organs, it can’t do much good for the tissues, joints and bones!

In order to combat this, the body has to release alkalizing minerals to balance pH levels. One of the minerals the body releases is calcium. Magnesium and potassium are a couple of others. The problem with this is that these minerals are drawn into the bloodstream at the expense of the bones or organs these minerals were taken from and are often not replaced.

Unfortunately, the bones are usual sites from which reserves are taken, and calcium is the prime mineral constituting bones. This can make bones more prone to thinning and fractures.

One way to help achieve an acid/alkaline balance where there is acidosis is to implement dietary changes. Some alkalinizing foods include: green veggies, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, green peppers, zucchini, whole milk, apples, pineapple, watermelon, coconut and kiwi.

Adding more of these foods to your diet might help you pass the acid test when it comes to pH balance.

 

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.


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