If you’re like most people reading this article, you’ve probably never thought about the pH (relative acidity or alkalinity) of a substance since you took chem 101 in high school.
And why would you? Generally pH is not something that comes up in casual conversation… unless you’re hanging out with other nutrition enthusiasts, in which case it’s a favorite topic!
It turns out that our bodies are designed to function within a very narrow pH range. In fact, a slightly alkaline pH (just above 7.0) is considered optimal for health. Believe it or not, just the simple process of bringing your blood to a higher (more alkaline) pH can actually correct for a large number of health conditions, including skin issues, heartburn, inflammation, arthritis, poor circulation, digestive complaints, fatigue, a weak immune system… the list goes on and on.
A proper pH of our fluids and tissues can mean the difference between happy, healthy cells, and cells that are constantly swimming in a too-acidic bath. Now I’m not talking about the pH of the stomach. That needs to be acidic to digest our food. That’s a separate topic. It is the pH of your blood that can dramatically impact your health status.
So, you might be wondering which foods help to create a more alkaline blood pH and which foods create a more acidic pH?
Interestingly enough, it is NOT entirely intuitive. For instance, fresh oranges and lemons and other citrus fruits, which are acidic, actually have an alkalizing effect on the body.
Here’s a brief list of acid-forming and alkaline-forming foods, as reported in “Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition,” by Phyllis Balch, CNC.
NOTE: This is not a complete list.
Common Acid-Forming Foods
- some legumes
Common Alkaline-Forming Foods
- fresh coconut
- fresh fruits (most)
- fresh veggies (most)
- maple syrup
Just the simple act of adding in more raw fruits and veggies (which are alkaline-forming in the body) and cutting out starchy, overcooked, sugary foods (which are acid-forming in the body) can bring the blood closer to an alkaline pH.
A perfect balance usually comes from eating a diet that is about 20% acid-forming and 80% alkaline-forming. So that doesn’t mean you need to cut out all the foods in the acid-forming column. You just need to put in more alkaline-forming foods!
One client who tested her pH each day for a few days found that it was highest on the days after she’d had a green smoothie for dinner (7.4 and 7.6)
Your pH and Osteoporosis
Research has shown that teens who drink soda have a higher incidence of bone fracture and osteoporosis. Why is this? The pH of the blood may be a an important part of the answer.
Because acidic blood is so damaging to the cells in the body, your body, in its wisdom, will always be doing what it can to create a more alkaline (healthy) environment in the blood. Your body will always be striving to bring your blood to the optimal (slightly alkaline) pH.
Many minerals happen to be alkalizing. So guess what? If you are not getting enough minerals in your diet from healthy raw veggies, your body will actually pull the alkalizing minerals (like calcium, magnesium and potassium) from the bones, teeth, tissues and organs to create a more alkaline environment in the blood.
Why is it that the United States has one of the highest rates of osteoporosis? Could it be because our normal diet that is high in sugar, nutrient-void carbs, soda and coffee is so acid-forming, that our bodies are always pulling essential bone-supportive minerals from our bones?
I hope by this point you are feeling inspired to add some more alkalizing foods into you diet!