Chances are, if you have ever dealt with headaches, joint pain, anxiety, mood swings, insomnia, depression, fatigue, digestive issues, bad breath or acne, you may be suffering from a pH imbalance.
PH Balance and Health
In order to maintain optimal health, your blood pH level (an acronym for potential hydrogen) should be slightly alkaline, or around 7.35-7.45 on a pH scale (a numbering system used to determine pH blood levels). The above symptoms, as well as many chronic diseases including cancer, diabetes, seizures, renal failure, and kidney and liver disease, may be a direct result of an acidic blood pH level.
Causes of pH Imbalance
Along with emotional stress, diet plays a major role in blood pH levels. The over consumption of acidic foods leads to an imbalanced pH level. The body attempts to combat acidity by using alkaline minerals. However, if the supply of alkaline minerals runs out the body will take minerals from other sources, such as bone, which can result in osteoporosis. Certain medications, especially those containing salicylates, may also contribute to a pH imbalance.
Nutrition and pH Levels
The good news is that a change in diet may be enough to restore an alkaline pH level. To maintain health, the diet should consist of 60 percent alkaline forming foods and 40 percent acid forming foods. To restore health, the diet should consist of 80 percent alkaline forming foods and 20 percent acid forming foods,
Foods can be categorized by their potential renal acid loads. Fruits, vegetables, fruit juices, potatoes, and alkaline-rich and low phosphorus beverages, such as mineral soda waters, have a negative acid load. Whereas, grain products, meats, dairy products, fish, and beverages such as alcohol and soda have relatively high acid loads.
Eating an alkaline diet may benefit bone health, reduce muscle wasting, and mitigate chronic diseases such as hypertension and strokes. It may also improve cardiovascular health, memory and cognition, and aid enzyme function (Schwalfenberg 2012).
Alkaline vegetables include green vegetables, such as cucumber, broccoli, spinach, kale, peas, green beans and celery, as well as beets, eggplant, garlic, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, carrots and peppers. Alkalizing fruit includes apples, avocados, bananas, berries, apricots, melon, coconut, dates, figs, grapes, oranges, pineapple and pears.
Acidic foods to avoid include GMO’s, grain products, dairy and soy products, most nuts except for almonds, animal protein, most oils (with the exception of coconut oil and those used raw and unheated), processed sugars, alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and aspirin.
How to Pair Acidic and Alkaline Foods
In order to create pH balance in the body, there needs to be a balance of both acidic and alkaline foods. Acid foods should not be avoided entirely; they should be paired with alkaline foods. Eating red meat is associated with a higher risk of colon cancer. However, when eaten with a food high in antioxidants, such as spinach, the risk is significantly decreased. Research indicates that this is because antioxidants have the potential to neutralize the acidity of the meat.
A 2005 study showed that eating spinach along with red meat eliminated all irritation of the colon. Therefore, pairing other acidic foods with antioxidant rich vegetables may help achieve pH balance.
Alkalosis is a condition in which the body’s blood pH levels are too alkaline. This is the opposite of acidity; however, the symptoms are similar. They include confusion, hand tremors, muscle twitching, vomiting and nausea. If left untreated, alkalosis can lead to an electrolyte imbalance, abnormal heart beat, and a coma. However, just like acidity, alkalosis can be treated by the restoration of a healthy pH level through a well balance diet and low stress levels.
Smoothies and pH Balance
To start your day off right and ensure you are getting as many alkalizing foods in your diet as possible, consider smoothies. Easy on digestion and quickly absorbed into the blood, smoothies are an easy way to drink your way to pH balance.
For a fast, easy breakfast, or a mid-afternoon snack, blend together the following ingredients for an alkalizing smoothie:
- One scoop of organic green superfood powder
- One cup of organic almond milk
- Organic 1/2 banana
Powders are beneficial because they are dried at low temperatures to retain nutrients. Consuming superfoods in powder form means you get a large amount of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and antioxidants that would be virtually impossible to consume all at once otherwise and they are absorbed easily. Generally, powders are well tolerated on those with sensitive stomachs because they bypass much of the digestive process and are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.
Alkaline & Acidic Foods: Alkalizing Through Nutrition. (n.d.). http://www.essense-of-life.com/moreinfo/healthtopics/A-701/foodcharts.htm
Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Products. (n.d.). Eat Wild- Getting Wild Nutrition from Modern Food. http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm
Schwalfenberg, G. (2012). The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health? Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 1-7.
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