The Importance of 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. Food types like grains, fish, meat, poultry, cheese, milk, and salt, produce acid. Food types that produce alkaline are typically fresh vegetables and fruits.
Consumption of acid producing food has dramatically increased and the consumption of alkaline producing foods has decreased in the last few decades, resulting in an alkaline-acid imbalance. This imbalance makes us much more vulnerable to disease, including cancer.
The western diet typically consists of a great amount of (processed) meat and a relatively small amount of fresh vegetables. The human body needs both alkaline and acidic foods in order to maintain a nutritious diet and live a healthy life.
Consequences of an Alkaline-Acid Imbalance
An imbalance means your body is too alkaline or too acidic. In today’s world, an alkaline imbalance is extremely rare. If you do have an imbalance, it will most likely be an acidic imbalance. The possible consequences of such imbalance are (depending on severity of the imbalance):
- Increased vulnerability to illness.
- Increased fatigue.
- 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.
Measuring 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 extrmely 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. It is recommended to have this test included in your regular health checks.
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.
Improving 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 or fresh fruit juice.
- 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 – yes, you can still feel full and you will feel that your body will love it.
- Eat organic as this reduces toxins and increases nutrient contents. If organic is too costly, simply choose just a few products to be organic, for example carrots and chicken.
- Spread avocado on your bread instead of margarine.
- Drink more water everyday as water helps to eliminate acids.
- Eat more of the 7 most alkaline foods: Spinach, kale, cucumber, broccoli, avocado, celery and capsicum.