Fixing Your Acid-Alkaline Imbalance
Your body maintains strict balance of its internal chemistry. That includes keeping your tissues at an optimum pH – neither too acid nor too alkaline.
Acid-alkaline balance is so critical that your body will do nearly anything it has to in order to buffer excess acids in your blood, even if certain tissues or metabolic processes suffer in the process. In extreme cases, the body will no longer be able to maintain normal tissue pH – then you’re seriously ill.
But some health experts believe that a less-extreme version of this problem is common. If you continually eat a diet of acid-forming foods, you could be straining your body’s coping mechanisms and contributing to the risk of chronic disease.
If your diet is too acidic (like most Americans) your body will pull calcium and other minerals out of your bones to counteract the acids. You’re giving yourself a good case of osteoporosis.
Here’s a quote from “Diet-induced metabolic acidosis,” by Adeva and Souto, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition in 2011:
“Urinary calcium excretion is lower when the urine is more alkaline, whereas more acidic urine is associated with higher urinary calcium.”
And osteoporosis is only the start. These experts believe that dietary acidity, and your body’s efforts to buffer it, are contributing to the epidemic of other chronic conditions such as atherosclerosis, stroke, kidney stones, loss of lean muscle mass, and obesity.
Fortunately, it’s easy to test for yourself how much stress you’re placing on your body’s acid-alkaline balancing mechanisms.
You simply capture your first urine of the morning and dip in a paper test strip. You compare the color of the strip to a color chart to read off your pH. If you test yourself every day for three days you should get an idea of the status of your body’s acidity.
If your urinary pH is too low (meaning your acid is too high) the most important dietary shift you have to make is to eat more fresh vegetables and fruits – nine or more servings a day. And seriously cut back on your sugar intake. Beware the sugars hidden in prepared foods too.
You can also use potassium and magnesium supplements to boost your alkalinity.
To make it easy to improve your diet, here’s a list of top acid-producing foods to avoid and alkaline foods to enjoy:
Acid Foods to Avoid
- White flour in bread or pasta
- Sugar and artificial sweeteners
- Dairy products
- Processed corn
- Meats & Fish
Alkaline Foods to Enjoy
- Raw almonds
- Fresh fruit: apples, citrus (really!), watermelon, papaya, mango, grape, canteloupe
- Leafy green vegetables: lettuce, spinach, kale
- Brussels sprouts
- Olive oil, grapeseed oil
- Herbs and spices including cinnamon, cumin, and ginger