All of us strive for balance in our daily lives, our emotions, our habits-and yet balance can be difficult to achieve in the modern world. The same is true with the biochemical system in our bodies. Just like every other carbon based life form on the planet, the human bloodstream maintains a PH (potential hydrogen)balance. We like to be slightly alkaline, with a Ph of 7-7.5 optimally.
What does this have to do, you ask, with our diet? Well, what we eat intimately effects the acid-alkaline balance in our bodies. This has been known since at least the 1930’s. Unfortunately, our modern diet, high in very acidic foods like meat, white flour, sugar, soft drinks and coffee, not to mention extremely acidic substances like prescription medications and artificial sweeteners, has changed the PH balance of most of our bodies, the results of which, many naturopaths and nutritionists believe, can be seen in higher than average amounts of cancer, chronic yeast infections, diabetes, poor digestion,depression, impaired immunity, joint pain, osteoporosis, weight gain, and even heart disease.
Think about it— acid is not healthy for most living things, it tends to eat through things quickly. In our bodies acid leaches minerals from our bones and organs by reducing our inherent buffering system, it kills digestive enzymes in our small intestines, screwing up our metabolic processes, and it increases free radical growth leading to an increase in cancer cells.
First things first:
To figure out if you are balanced, you must test your PH. This is easy to do, both with saliva and urine (I recommend both tests)–the tests are available at most pharmacies and health food stores and also here. I your PH falls into a healthy range good for you–keep doing what you’re doing! If not, here are some quick and guaranteed ways to restore the PH balance of the body:
Take Magnesium: Most doctors agree that almost all Americans are chronically short on this important mineral. Magnesium is an especially important nutrient for women as it helps the body assimilate calcium, thus preventing osteoporosis.Magnesium is one of the main agents in the bodies buffering system and helps raise the PH of the body quickly and naturally. It also can provide instant energy. A liquid supplement, often sold with calcium added is a great addition to a diet high in magnesium heavy foods such as avocados, almonds, cashews, and spinach.
Cut the Sugar: Besides being one of the most acidic substances we eat, sugar is bad for weight maintenance and immunity. By replacing white sugar with more alkaline sweeteners–stevia, agave nectar, and maple syrup it is possible to see instant balancing in the body, not just with PH levels but also with blood sugar. I recommend stevia above all as it actually helps lower blood sugar levels.
Rev up the Enzymes: Being too acidic can wreak havoc on the digestive enzymes in the small intestine, weakening our bodies’ ability to break down food and utilize their nutrients. This can lead to improper metabolism, weight gain, and diabetes. By adding enzymes back into the diet–two good ones are Bromelein (from pinneaple) and Papain (from Papaya) you are creating a better environment for highly alkaline fruits and vegetables to work their nutritional magic.
Drink Water with Lemon: Lemon is the most alkaline fruit out there (although it is acidic, when it reacts with digestive enzymes it turns alkaline) and water is absolutely fundamental for cutting down the acidic side effects of coffee, soft drinks, and tea and flushing the kidneys. By starting your day with a glass of water with lemon juice and drinking water throughout the day you provide a much more alkaline environment in your body.
Replace Meat with Vegetables: While some meat is good for balancing the body–it contains zinc and pottasium, two substances that help keep minerals in the body–it is also acidic and many of us eat way too much of it. Keeping meat in its place–as an accompaniment to alkaline fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. While not all veggies are alkaline, most of them are–copying a great list of alkaline/acid foods and taping it to the refrigerator or using it when planning a grocery trip can really help.
By maintaining a healthy whole foods diet we can help to balance our bodies, prevent a host of diseases and live a longer, healthier and more energetic life.
Jen is a writer, herbalist, into nutrition, weight loss, success and well being. Learn more...please visit bodaweightloss.com.