Acid vs. Alkaline - The balance of acid versus alkaline in our bodies is crucial to good health. Our bodies need a pH that is neutral to very slightly acid. However, most of the foods we eat tend to make our bodies very acid. If our pH gets too acid, then our bodies have to work to restore balance.
Our body manages the acid load by excreting it through normal channels of elimination, and by buffering the acid with minerals borrowed from our bones. When the body accumulates so much acid that the normal methods no longer work, our body then stores the acid waste in our tissues, joints, muscles and arteries.
Some of the symptoms of an overly acid pH include joint pains, low energy, muscular pain, osteoporosis, hormone imbalance, sinusitis, flu, colds, allergies, kidney and bladder weakness, and digestive problems such as indigestion, acid reflux, constipation, and diarrhea.
Foods that are acid forming include meat, dairy, sugar, refined wheat, coffee, sodas, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners.
Foods that offset the acid - or alkaline foods are fruits (raw) and non-starchy vegetables. Oddly enough, lemon and lime juice are alkaline forming - meaning that even though they are mild acids, they metabolize as alkaline and help balance an acid pH. Most good quality nutritional supplements are alkaline too - this includes minerals, herbs, enzymes and probiotics.
To neutralize the effect of the acid forming foods, we need to eat with plenty of alkalizing foods – mainly fruits and non-starchy vegetables. You can also help balance your body by taking appropriate herbs and enzymes. One of my favorite alkalizing supplements is coral calcium. Alkaline water is another great tool for managing pH.
Every health condition I know is worsened by an over acid pH. And conversely, every health condition is helped by a balanced pH.
pH can be measured with pH tape or strips that are available at most health food stores. The best way to measure your acidity / alkalinity is to test your urine first thing in the morning. Ideal range for urine pH is 6.4 to 7.0.
There are many tricks and tips for managing pH - here are some basic ones:
Eat 2 servings of alkalizing foods for every 1 serving of acid forming foods. If you are following this article, doing the math in your head, thinking that you would have to eat 15-20 servings of fruits and vegetables for balance; you might want to consider cutting back on some of the acid forming foods in your diet in addition to adding some fruits and vegetables. If balancing your diet does not get you in the range consider adding some coral calcium. If that does not work, consider a whole-body cleanse. If you need more help, work with a nutritionally oriented practitioner to get your body in balance.
Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a herb, vitamin and health food store in Mason, Texas. www.naturalcowgirl.wordpress.com