The All-Important pH Factor

It wasn’t until I was dealing with a variety of health issues a number of years ago that I became familiar with what the pH factor even was, let alone start to understand its importance to overall health. It’s something I think everyone should be aware of and I wish more individuals in the mainstream medical/health community understood its importance so they could/would make sure their patients were better informed.

 

 (Reference chart from Body Mind Green)

The pH Factor

PH (potential of Hydrogen) is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution. On the pH scale, 7.0 is considered neutral, while higher readings indicate increased alkalinity, and lowers ones represent increasing acidity. Your current state of health or dis-ease is directly tied to your body’s ability to maintain a proper acid/alkaline balance. One of the main things that makes it easier for parasites to gain a foothold and set up residence in your body is having a pH reading that’s out of balance on a regular basis. As Louis Pasteur said “It’s not the germs we need to worry about. It is our inner terrain.” And if anyone knew germs, he did! In fact, acidification (a low pH reading) of body fluids and tissues is linked to every known disease.  Dr. Theodore Baroody, author of Alkalize or Die, has said “The countless names of illnesses do not really matter. What does matter is that they all come from the same basis cause…too much acid tissue waste in the body.”

Normally the lungs and kidneys help keep the pH range of your body’s fluids in balance, but a diet that is unbalanced can stress body chemistry by causing extreme acidity (acidosis) or alkalinity (alkalosis). Each extreme has symptoms and predisposes a person to certain illnesses. Some symptoms of acidosis are frequent sighing, increased heartbeat, restlessness/nervousness, cold sweats, dry skin and/or mouth, hard stools, diminished urination/perspiration, fatigue, bad breath and a sour taste in the mouth. Alkalosis can manifest as muscle soreness/cramps, stiff joints, bursitis, bone spurs, edema, allergies, restlessness, discomfort after eating, and lowered resistance to bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc.

But chronic alkalosis is rare, especially in our society. A diet like that of many Americans—i.e. one that includes too much protein, fast food and processed foods, carbonated beverages, and sugar—naturally creates an overly acidic body and a virtual breeding ground for candida, parasites, infection, and other dis-eases. And the more acidic a body is, the more it holds on to heavy metals. Heavy metals, in turn, create a high oxidative stress that further acidifies the inner terrain (talk about a catch-22!). Our bodies are already naturally acidic and most of the comfort foods we learned to love as kids are acid-forming, so unless you consciously eat an alkalizing diet, it’s likely your pH level is often less than ideal.

Americans typically eat a diet that is 80% acid and 20% alkaline, when the exact opposite should be the case.  When the body becomes overly acidic, it retains water to dilute the excess acid and stores fat as protection from the portion that gets into the blood. So, an unbalanced pH inclines the body toward fat storage and weight gain, among other things. And taking medicines or supplements while your body is highly acidic is a bit like washing dishes in a sink of dirty water—even when you put in plenty of soap, you can’t get the dishes clean. But that’s not all. Medical scientists speculate that cellulite is caused by water retention, excess estrogen, and poor circulation. The acid toxins the body works to store in fat tissue could also be a factor. The body has a tendency to stick excess acids on the butt, chest, thighs and belly, so, if you’re concerned about the unflattering dimpling effect cellulite causes, you may want to pay more attention to your body’s pH level.

For those reasons and more, balancing your body’s pH should be one of your goals. It will help normalize weight, reduce food cravings, increase immune response, improve skin conditions, cholesterol levels, headaches and allergies, relieve congestion and chronic pain, such as arthritis, and add to your energy level. One of the biggest benefits comes in the form of stronger bones—that’s because a balanced pH stops excess acid from leaching calcium from the skeleton and lowering bone density. Elson M. Haas, M. D., author of The New Detox Diet, says”…I believe that pH balancing is one of the keys to the future of medicine.”

As far as foods go, generally figs have the greatest alkalizing effect and egg yolks are tops for acidifying. The only fruits that are acid-forming are cranberries, plums, and prunes; unsweetened pineapple juice (¼ – ½ cup) helps to balance pH from either direction; green teas (Bancha), umeboshi plums, and noni juice are highly alkaline. HOWEVER, I’ve noticed that in researching which foods are acid or alkaline forming, there is some variation of opinion, depending on the source you use, so you may find the foods I just mentioned ranked differently elsewhere. I have included several links toward the end of this post so you can see how foods are being ranked by different resources/individuals.

The best diet to help maintain a normal pH, and therefore healthy body, is one that avoids processed, refined foods, and puts the least amount of stress on digestion and metabolism—a diet that is centered around high quality, natural foods. A good way to give your body a quick, alkalizing boost is to make a juice with celery, carrots, beets and chard, kale or spinach. Drinking water infused with fresh lemon juice, or adding 1-2 TBS of liquid chlorophyll to a quart of water, is another easy way to alkalize the system. Also, there is a recipe that contains aloe vera and chlorophyll in the Colon Cleanse section of *A Healthier You From the Inside Out that is especially good for maintaining a healthy pH reading. However, you need to keep in mind that one of the most important things you can do doesn’t have to do with anything you put in your mouth—it has to do with how you handle stress. Can you believe that stress is probably the greatest acidifying factor there is? It has the power to neutralize the benefits of an alkaline diet with just one surge of adrenaline!

So managing stress through yoga, meditation, walks in nature, or whatever nurtures your body, is probably just as important as diet as far as maintaining alkalinity.  You may also want to check out a supplement I found out about called Suntheanine L-theanine. Apparently it’s important to get the Suntheanine type of L-theanine, since it’s the one that has been studied in clinical trials and found to help ease stress without making you drowsy; it also can improve mood, and promote better sleep. I haven’t used it yet myself, but plan to order some since a friend who works with PTSD patients says she and her clients have used it with very good results. What’s nice is it’s all-natural—a unique amino acid, derived from green tea leaves, that enhances endocrine function, stimulating some brain waves and leaving others unaffected. In these changing times it seems like a good thing to have on hand! 🙂 FYI, Vitacost carries a number of brands that offer Suntheanine L-theanine.

A list of 10 tips to ridding your body of an over-acidic state:

1. Drink plenty of pure alkaline water—alkaline water adds oxygen to your water and helps neutralize acids. There are ways you can make water more alkaline (e. g. adding lemon juice) and a variety of water filtering devices that also produce alkaline water.  Just be aware that, like anything in life, overdoing it may not be a good thing. I am starting to read more and more where certain individuals who are prominent in the alternative health community are advising against drinking alkalized water long term. For me, the way to go these days is drinking structured water instead, which has the natural pH of water, and then eat foods that are alkalizing to rise the pH. Seems like a more natural way to go about things, and that almost always is best in my opinion!

2. Eat celery before, during, or after a meal—it’s one of the most alkaline foods you can eat and is excellent for digestion.

3. Eat a green salad (sans cheese and croutons) with your meal and use organic olive oil and lemon juice for dressing.

4. Switch from cow’s milk to coconut or almond milk.

5. Avoid artificial sweeteners, such as NutraSweet, Sucralose, Apartame, and Saccharin—try no-calorie, natural sweetener stevia instead.

6. Eat grapefruit in the morning, and then wait 15 minutes before eating any carbohydrates or proteins. BTW, lemons and grapefruit are acidic, but are highly alkalizing in/to the body, which can be a little confusing to people.

7. Eliminate red meat, pork, and lamb and substitute small quantities of free-range chicken, turkey or fresh fish that is known to be low in mercury/toxins instead.

8. Reduce stress by doing daily sessions of yoga, tai chi, qi gong, meditation, etc.

9. Include green superfoods in your diet; they are nutrient-dense and infuse your body with easily absorbed vitamins, minerals, amino acids, chlorophyll, enzymes, phytonutrients and alkaline salts that help neutralize acids in the blood and tissues.

10. Minimize or avoid processed and refined foods.

MORE RESOURCES TO CHECK OUT:

Energise For Life is a great website and resource for all things alkaline, including information, recipes, products, etc. Here’s a link to their list of the 9 most alkalizing foods, which includes cucumber, avocado and ginger, all of which I’ve featured in previous posts here.

http://www.energiseforlife.com/wordpress/2013/09/19/the-9-most-cleansing-alkaline-foods/

Where you can download a pdf of an acid/alkaline food chart from Wellness Pathways:

http://www.wellnesspathways.com/handouts/acidalkalinefoodchart.pdf

More resources to check out for identifying which foods are acid and which are alkaline:

http://rense.com/1.mpicons/acidalka.htm

http://www.phmiracleliving.com/t-food-chart.aspx

http://www.acidalkalinediet.net/acid-alkaline-food-chart.php

*For anyone who reads this post and wants to order the A Healthier You e-book for half price with the alkalizing recipe I mentioned, plus receive a complimentary copy of my Free Stuff Guide, go to:

http://www.allonetogether.com/Ebookoffer.html

And speaking of alkalizing recipes, here’s a good one from Energise For Life:

alkaline recipe: green goddess dip

Alkaline Green Goddess Dip

Ingredients:

3 Avocados
1 Lemon (Juiced)
1 Handful of Parsley
1 Handful of Coriander (Cilantro)
1 Handful of Mint
3 Big Handfuls of Spinach (or a Spinach & Rocket (arugula) Mix if you like it a little peppery!)
1/4 Cup of Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 Cup of Flax Seeds
Himalayan Salt & Black Pepper to taste
50-100ml of Water (or more to your own taste)

Optional: you could use coconut water if you like that flavour added! You can also add a little chili powder if you like it HOT like me!

Instructions:

This is simple. Just put it all in a blender and whizz until smooth! It’s full of chlorophyll, alkaline minerals, omega oils, fiber and SO MANY vitamins and antioxidants, PLUS it’s gluten free!

Serves 3 to 4 people as a dip, dressing or sauce!

Note: A simple way to monitor your pH level and track how you’re doing with your alkalizing efforts is with easy to use test strips that can be ordered through a number of sources. FYI, you can get alkalizing drops, pH test paper and many other related products at discount prices at Vitacost.com, one of my favorite on-line places. If you shop at Vitacost, sign up for a free account at eBates.com beforehand, if you don’t already have one. That way you can use the eBates portal to shop at Vitacost and earn cash back on your purchases. Plus, if you are new to Vitacost and spend a certain amount (I believe it’s $25), you will get a $10 coupon to use; eBates also gives a gift card or some other “prize” when you place your first order of $25 or more. How does it get any better than that?!

 iHerb.com is another good discount place to shop….use code CJG192 if you are a new customer and spend more than $40 and you will get $10 off (and an extra 5% off over $60), plus can choose something from their free samples and take advantage of their wonderful trial offer section. Shipping is free on orders of $20 or more.

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

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