August 16, 2010

Why Create an Acid-Alkaline Balance in Your Body?

In the field of holistic and natural health, we often hear that a body in an alkaline state is better than one that is too acidic. What we actually want is a balance between the two.

This issue has been one of controversy, with some medical doctors saying it is nonsense - that foods and pollution and so forth cannot cause acidic changes in the body. Whether or not one side or the other is “right,” it’s an interesting health topic and I do think there is something here worth looking into.

Your body can be considered too acidic if its pH, or potential Hydrogen, is acid forming. When we measure pH, we measure the degree to which negative ions and positive ions push against each other. Negative ions are alkaline-forming. Positive ions are acid-forming. What does this mean and why would it matter?

Donna Gates, author of The Body Ecology Diet: Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity, says, “When cells live too long in an acidic condition, they adapt to it by mutating and becoming malignant. Long-term acidic conditions in our bodies provide perfect environments for cancer and auto-immune diseases like AIDS to flourish. Most people with these disorders also have candidiasis.”

Likewise, Dr. Theodore Baroody, Jr., author of Alkalize or Die, tells us to be aware of creating a balanced internal pH because disease thrives in an acidic environment.

You can have your body’s acidity tested, or you can get special strips, which are usually found in natural food markets, to test your levels at home. With these strips, your pH level is measured from a sample of your saliva or urine first thing in the morning. (A balanced urine pH is approximately 6.4.) It’s interesting to see what the strips indicate, but it isn’t always an accurate reading. A blood test would be more accurate, but not necessary.

Your best approach is to begin to address your lifestyle and whether or not it is alkaline or acid producing. A healthy balance between the two is the goal. Since the majority of food eaten by the typical American is considered acid producing, altering food choices is a major step in creating a balance.

Most people eat the Standard American Diet (SAD – an appropriate acronym) and consume primarily processed food. Items that come in boxes, packages, or cans, plus fried food, fast food, alcohol, sugars, white flour, and meat are all acid forming. But it isn’t only food and the SAD that creates an acidic condition. Noise, air pollution, and toxins in our environment can cause it, as can general stress, worry, anxiety, anger, and fear.

As you might imagine, a healthier lifestyle contributes alkalinity and can help maintain the acid-alkaline balance. For alkalizing, we simply add what we know we need more of in our lives: relaxation, fresh vegetables, oxygenated clean water, fresh air, laughter, and positive connections with others. We reduce those foods and experiences that create too much acid.

Whether or not you know your pH levels, it might be a good thing to take some simple steps to encourage a healthy acid-alkaline balance in your body. Many of these suggestions come from Dr. Baroody’s book, and they are common knowledge among holistic practitioners who see a person’s health considerably improve when they make these lifestyle changes.

  • Spend adequate time outdoors in sunlight - twenty to thirty minutes per day – even if it’s cloudy.
  • Have a regular pattern of sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
  • Use an 80/20 ratio of alkaline-forming foods to acid-forming foods. In just doing a basic online search, I found over 300,000 pages referring to these foods.
  • Rest and reduce stress.
  • Walk by water or by the sea to be in the midst of negative ions.
  • Eat fresh foods found in nature, including an abundance of vegetables.
  • First thing in the morning drink the juice of ½ lemon water in a tall glass of warm water. Although citrus is acidic, your digestion uses the acidic parts and leaves an alkaline residue.
  • Utilize natural healing such as acupuncture, energy work, reflexology, color and music therapy, yoga, chiropractic, and spiritual healing, all of which have alkaline forming reactions in the body.

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