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Have you every heard of, or thought about, the alkaline-acid balance? It refers to the balance between consuming alkaline-forming foods and acidic foods.
Some people believe that a diet that is too acidic can lead to illness, and that an alkaline-focused diet leads to an overall better health.
I was intrigued by this, so I decided to dive a little deeper into this concept.
What Is an Alkaline-Acid Balance?
Food that we consume, after being processed in the body, releases either an acid or an alkaline base into our blood.
Acid-producing foods are food types such as grains, fish, meat, poultry, cheese, milk, and salt. On the other hand, alkaline-forming foods are typically fresh vegetables, fruits and nuts.
In our modern society, consumption of acid producing food has dramatically increased and the consumption of alkaline-forming foods has decreased in the last few decades, resulting in an alkaline-acid imbalance for many people.
And supposedly, this imbalance makes us more vulnerable to disease.
The western diet typically consists of a great amount of (processed) meat and a relatively small amount of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The idea behind the alkaline-acid balance is that the human body needs both alkaline and acidic foods in order to maintain a nutritious diet and live a healthy life.
Purported Consequences of an Alkaline-Acid Imbalance
An imbalance means your body is either too alkaline or too acidic. In today’s society, an alkaline imbalance is extremely rare. If you do have an imbalance, it will most likely be an acidic imbalance.
Here are some of the purported consequences of such imbalance, claimed by proponents of the alkaline diet:
- Vulnerability to illness
- Accelerated aging
- Demineralization – reduction of the body’s mineral stores, potentially resulting in diseases like osteoporosis
- Inflammation and organ damage – the body’s excess acids can be damaging to the tissues and organs with which they come into contact
- Increase of harmful microorganisms such as bacterias and viruses in the body
How to Measure Your Alkaline-Acid Balance?
To measure the body’s alkaline-acid balance, pH (potential of hydrogen) is used. It is measured on a scale of 0 to 14, with 0 being extremely acidic and 14 being extremely alkaline. A neutral balance has a pH of 7.
The pH balance of your body can be measured professionally by a physician, which involves a blood test.
Your body’s pH balance can also be measured with pH strips, available online as well as at your local pharmacy. It should be pointed out that these strips are less accurate and can only give you an indication of your body’s pH balance.
How to Improve Your Alkaline-Acid Balance?
Generally speaking, a good balance can be achieved by decreasing consumption of meat, fast food, salty food, junk food and processed food, and increasing consumption of vegetables, fruits, roots and nuts.
You don’t need to radically change your diet straight away in order to establish that healthy alkaline-acid balance. You can start by making small changes:
- Don’t consume sugary soft drinks, instead drink water
- Stay away from snacks like potato chips or candy bars, instead eat a banana or an apple as an afternoon snack
- Grab a handful of nuts everyday to still your hunger
- Have one or two days per week as fruit and vegetables only days – you can still feel full and your body will love it
- Eat organic as this reduces toxins and increases nutrient contents. If organic is too costly, simply choose just come products to be organic
- Spread avocado on your bread instead of margarine
- Drink more water everyday as water helps to eliminate acids
- Eat more alkaline foods, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, avocado and cucumber.
Here’s the thing. Looking at that list above, it’s pretty obvious that the alkaline diet is considered healthy. So maintaining an alkaline diet is a good thing, because… well, it’s a healthy diet.
But… it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with pH levels.
Personally, I am not concerned about my alkaline-acid balance at all. What I do care about is a healthy diet, which is what I always try to stick to.
For me, a healthy and balanced diet certainly isn’t any rocket science. It consists of lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein foods and as little processed foods as possible.
And if that leads to an alkaline-acid balance, that’s great, but I honestly don’t care too much, because I know my diet overall is healthy.
It should also be pointed out that there is no conclusive scientific evidence that an alkaline diet leads to a better health.