Tuesday, 5 March 2019

The Alkaline Diet and pH explained

The Alkaline Diet and pH explained

The most important of all is your blood pH level. Human blood pH should be slightly alkaline at an ideal level of 7.35 - 7.45. Below or above this range can lead to health issues, symptoms and disease. If the pH level drops even by a small amount the body gets to work to try to neutralize the extra acid. To do this, the body needs alkaline minerals, like calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, and potassium. In an effort to neutralize extra acid, our bodies go to great lengths and can wreak havoc on other tissues and systems.

In the first instance, it will take these minerals through food or supplements we consume, however if it needs more alkaline, it will steal these from bones or the body’s tissues. As you can imagine, this does not bode well for longer-term health, where bones and tissues must remain healthy to support the body.

The reason why the pH factor is so important is this. Your body is only able to assimilate minerals and nutrients properly when it has pH balance. Therefore, it’s entirely possible for you to be eating proper nutrients but if your pH is out of kilter your body will not be able to take in the benefits the foods have to offer. So if you’re not seeing any results from your nutritional or herbal program, check to see if you have an acid alkaline imbalance (read below for how to do this). The alkaline diet aims to make our diet reflect the ideal pH level so that the body does not need to steal alkaline minerals from vital organs and tissues, as the cost can be huge.

pH literally stands for potential of hydrogen. It is simply a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions - the higher a liquid’s pH, the fewer free hydrogen ions it has; the lower its pH, the more free hydrogen ions it has. In other words, the release of hydrogen denotes an acid element, whilst one that removes hydrogen (from a solution) denotes an alkali food or other element (or process). The amount
of free hydrogen is measured on a scale ranging from 1 to 14, called pH, that denotes the exact level of acidity or alkalinity.

One pH unit reflects a tenfold change in ion concentration – in other words, there are ten times as many hydrogen ions available at a pH of 6 than at a pH of 7, for example. The pH scale goes from 0 to 14, a pH below 7 is acidic, a pH above 7 is alkaline (or basic/base). Different areas of our bodies have different ideal pH levels. Normally, the body’s internal chemical environment goes from a weak acid to a weak base (alkaline) within a 24-hour period, swinging back and forth. Your pH is usually more acid early morning and most base in the evening.

By far the most common pH imbalance is over acidity or acidosis. Alkalosis or being overly alkaline, on the other hand, is pretty rare. Symptoms of alkalosis include a lack of drive, a spaced out or disoriented feeling, laziness and excessive feelings of being cold. But as mentioned, acidosis is by far more common than alkalosis.

Are You on an Acid Trip?

The reason acidosis is more common, especially in the west, is mostly due to the typical western (and also now, the eastern diet in countries on the fast food trends), which is full of acid-producing foods such as meat, eggs, dairy, white flour, chocolate. Foods that are alkaline-forming are, needless to say, insufficient in our diets – such as fresh, green vegetables. But surprisingly, in spite of their citric acid content, most citrus fruits have an alkalinizing effect when eaten, so go right ahead and enjoy lemons, limes and grapefruit, and related citrus fruits without worrying about them contributing to acid levels (limit oranges somewhat however, due to their levels of sugar).

Tea and coffee are also acid-producing and we often drink copious amounts of these. Additionally, many people use too many prescribed drugs as well as artificial sweeteners that contain aspartame for example. This is a whole concoction of acidifying foods and drinks that simply puts pressure on our bodies to get rid of excess acids. The alkaline diet isn’t just about food however…

Other reasons for acidosis are emotional stress, toxic overload and any process that deprives the cells of oxygen and other nutrients. In such a situation the body will try to compensate by utilising alkaline minerals but if these are insufficient, a buildup of acids in the cells will occur.
As a general rule of thumb:
To maintain good health, the diet should consist of approximately 70% alkalising foods and 30% acidifying foods.

To restore health, the diet should consist of 80% alkalising foods and 20% acidifying foods
Generally, alkaline forming foods include most fruits, green vegetables, lentils, spices, peas, beans, herbs, seasonings, seeds and nuts.

Generally, acid forming foods include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, refined grains, processed and fast foods.

Later chapters in this book contain comprehensive lists of both alkalising and acidifying foods – possibly the most extensive list you will find easily available! Over acidity can lead to dangerous conditions within the body whereby body systems become weakened and the internal environment becomes conducive to disease.

On the other hand when the pH is balanced, the body is able to resist disease. Too acidic an internal environment is an underlying factor in many degenerative diseases -- diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, cancer and many more. A basic maxim of natural physicians is to balance the biological terrain. Do this first, then everything can come back to normal. “The germ is nothing, the terrain is everything.” - Antoine B├ęchamp An over-acidic body can suffer consequences and symptoms such as:
The body’s ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients becomes decreased
Energy production in the cells is decreased
Ability to repair damaged cells is decreased
Ability to detoxify heavy metals is decreased
Cancer cells thrive
The body is more susceptible to fatigue and illness
Multiple other symptoms

The list of conditions and illnesses that are said to be a result of over-acidity are wide-ranging and include weight gain, immune deficiency, low energy, osteoporosis, colds, allergies, pimples, skin lesions, rashes, joint pain, kidney stones, digestive problems, yeast / fungal growth, arthritis, high blood pressure and cancer. When our pH is balanced, an essential part of achieving optimal long-term health, we feel vigor, energy, improved well-being, overall reduction of chronic illness, and longevity.

The Issue is Balance

Needless to say, acid-forming foods are not necessarily “bad” and in fact, we do need some amounts of acid. For example unless our stomachs contain strong acids, food won’t be broken down properly. Furthermore, it is not good, for example, to be eating only alkaline foods for this will give way to alkalosis which has its own health impacts. But of course acidosis is by far the most common of the two, and we should be eating both alkaline and acidic foods in the right proportions – about 70/30 respectively.

The advice is to take it slowly and steadily. Don’t adopt a “guns blazing” approach or you may just fail to continue. Slow and steady is the key. We are looking to change our eating habits and habits can take some time. So be patient. Check out the snack and juicing tips in this book for example, and start to adopt one or two changes into your diet each week. It’s not about getting it ‘right’ today, but about
changing your eating habits for the longer-term. The alkaline diet isn’t that difficult if you are willing to change eating habits gradually – and you don’t have to give up any of the things people generally like to eat (like chocolate or processed foods) entirely either. It’s all about moderation. The alkaline diet is not restrictive at all and is really quite simple. But as with developing any discipline, you have to get used to it over time. It’s about your lifestyle, it’s not just another temporary diet or fad. It’s about understanding what’s good for your body. So don’t be too hard on yourself - if you eat too many of the wrong foods one day, start again the next. But read this book carefully and plan for your gradual switch. It will all be worth it and it’s not that onerous when you take a gradual approach. There are many tips and also recipes and snack ideas for you to get a host of ideas to change your diet as you go forwards into the weeks and months.

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