We are often told that good health and emotional well-being depends on a balanced diet, exercise and maybe a little common sense. One aspect of good health that is often overlooked is balancing you body’s pH. Simply stated, pH is a measure of how acidic or basic (alkaline) a liquid is. Since the majority of your body is water (60%), helping your body maintain a slightly alkaline pH gives you a better shot at long-term health.
Our dietary habits are the major influencing factor for maintaining appropriate pH levels throughout the body. A typical American diet does a poor job of making it easy for our body to maintain a pH level within the normal or desired range. We eat too much meat, fowl, seafood, grains, eggs and dairy (acidic) and too few vegetables (alkaline). Additionally we drink acid producing coffee and soft drinks. Even bottled and tap water will boost or lower the body’s pH.
The pH scale is a power of ten scale ranging from 1 to 14. In other words, something with a pH of 9 is ten times as basic as something with a pH of 8. Pure water, which has pH of 7, is neutral. Substances with a pH less than 7 are considered acidic and substances with a pH of greater than 7 are considered basic (alkaline).
When we tilt toward greater acidity we have a greater risk of developing osteoporosis, weak muscles, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and a host of other health problems. When it comes to the health problems related to mild life-long acidosis no one yet knows all the consequences of a fundamental shift (compared to ancient times) in the body’s acid-alkaline balance, but researchers suspect it is far reaching.
The real problem is one of alkaline deficiency and the missing piece is an appropriate intake of fruits, vegetables and beverages, to produce an alkaline yield.
The pH of your blood is tightly regulated by a complex system of buffers that are continuously at work to maintain a pH range of 7.35 to 7.45, which is slightly more alkaline than pure water. When acid-yielding foods lower the body’s pH, the kidneys coordinate efforts to buffer that acidity. Bones release calcium and magnesium to reestablish alkalinity, and muscles are broken down to produce ammonia, which is strongly alkaline. A predominately acidic diet makes the digestive processes of the body overwork (while transforming the pH balance of all liquids in the digestive tract) some of the buffering systems1 to a point where you could create undesirable changes in your health.
According to scientists who have researched chronic low-grade metabolic acidosis, people need to be eating a diet that yields more alkaline and less acid. Just what kind of diet is that? One that’s high in fruits and vegetables. Generally speaking, most vegetables and fruits have an alkaline-forming effect on your body fluids. Very high alkaline-yielding foods include spinach, raisins and dates. Keep in mind that it takes an incredible amount of good water to counteract the effects of soft drinks and coffee. Most carbonated soft drinks have a pH of about 3, making them about ten thousand times more acidic than pure water with a pH of 7.
At the Center for Lymphatic Health we work to eliminate internal fluid blockages in the body’s system of lymph nodes and vessels. Working to restore balance is the cornerstone of our practice. As a complement to our work, our goal is to educate people so that they are in a position to make informed decisions about how they treat their bodies. Since it would be impractical to have a fruit and vegetable stand in our office, we added a Kangen alkaline water filtration system to insure that the water we provide is alkaline with a pH in the range of 8.5-9.5
You can test your own pH simply and inexpensively. All you need are some pH test strips. Tear off two three-inch strips. Measure the pH of your second urination of the morning. To do this, urinate on the strip or collect the urine in a plastic or glass (not paper) cup and dip the test strip. Compare the color to the pH color chart. Run the tests ten mornings in a row. Ignore the two highest and two lowest (they are the extremes). Average the remaining six to determine your pH. Repeat after you have changed your food and beverage intake.
Carbonic Acid-Bicarbonate Buffer System
Protein Buffer System
Phosphate Buffer System