Alkaline vs Acidic

Acid vs Alkaline – does it really matter?

Our bodies maintain a delicate acid-alkaline balance, measured by using the pH (“potential hydrogen”) scale which ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral, below 7 becomes increasingly acidic, and above 7 increasingly alkaline. Dissolved acid produces hydrogen ions, so the more hydrogen ions in a solution, the more acidic the solution is, and the lower the number on the pH scale. Whilst different areas of our bodies are lower in pH such as the stomach and the vagina, the blood and intracellular space is where we need to maintain a pH of between 7.35 and 7.45 in order to ensure healthy functioning of enzymes and easy absorption of minerals. There are a few ways the body does this and many would argue that as this is such an important part of homeostasis, specific food acidity does not cause the blood acidity to rise. However it is what is lacking in the diet that reduces the bodies ability to maintain the pH and eating the right foods can help offset the damage done. For example the body uses Ca+ from the bones to buffer as well as breaks down muscle to maintain the pH.

Foods that help maintain our bodies pH

This chart adapted from The Ultimate pH Solution gives specific examples of some alkaline-forming foods:

spinach lettuce
broccoli celery
artichoke peas
Brussel sprouts sweet potato
cabbage eggplant
cauliflower green beans
carrot beets
cucumber blueberries
lemon pear
lime grapes
seaweed kiwi
asparagus melon
kale tangerine
radish figs
collard greens dates
onion mango
avocado papaya
green tea

Additional Tips for Choosing Alkalizing Foods

  • When eating grains, choose organic oats, wild rice, and quinoa.
  • Drink fresh green vegetable juice on a regular basis.
  • For every 10 foods you eat, make six of them vegetables, with a special emphasis on leafy greens, according to Dr. Russell Jaffe.

Breathe Deeply

Another way to support your body’s pH-balancing process is through deep breathing, this helps eliminate excess Co2 from the body. Taking a few minutes to control your breathing either through specific exercises like pranayama or just diaphragmatic breathing, not only does this help reduce acidity but helps reduce stress.

Drink Lemon Water

An easy way to increase alkalinity of your water is to add a splash of lemon or lime juice, drunk first thing in the morning has an alkalising effect on your system.

Foods that increaes acidity

However what is more important is to reduce or eliminate those foods that are highly acid forming and therefore tax our buffering systems such as

coffee coke
artificial sweetners carbonated water
energy drinks alcohol
black tea pastries
white bread chocolate

So to recap, eating a diet higher in alkaline foods than acidic foods will be better for your health in the long run as it will provide the body with nutrients that it needs to maintain pH, so make sure you have at least 5 servings fruits and veggies, more would be better 🙂