Are you aware of the importance of your body’s pH balance? Do you remember high school chemistry class, learning about the differences between an acid versus a base? Understanding this concept will allow you to ensure that your body is healthier than ever!
The pH scale runs from 0 to 14, with a lower number indicating a higher level of acidity, and a higher number indicating a higher level of alkalinity. When a solution maintains a pH of 7 it is considered neutral, neither an acid not alkaline.
When your body is too acidic it creates an unhealthy environment, one which promotes illness, bacteria and yeast. It also requires the body to take minerals from your bones and vital organs in order to neutralize the acid, causing a depletion of the body’s reserves of calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. These deficiencies can remain undetected for months, or even years, causing damage and a condition called acidosis.
Additional problems that may arise from an overly acidic system include:
- Weakened immune system
- Mood swings
- Premature aging
- Respiratory problems, shortness of breath, coughing
- Slow metabolism and an inability to lose weight
- Weight gain
- Slow digestion and elimination
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Inflamed and sensitive gums
- Tooth decay and cavities
- Low energy and chronic fatigue
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems, arrhythmias, increased heart rate
- Chronic inflammation
- Bladder and kidney conditions, including kidney stones
- Joint pain, aching muscles and lactic-acid buildup
- Sciatica, lumbago, stiff neck
- Osteoporosis, weak or brittle bones, fractures and bone spurs
- Yeast/fungal overgrowth
How Can I Check for a PH Imbalance?
There is a way to test your bodily fluids, specifically saliva or urine, using litmus paper strips. These strips can be purchased from your local health food store, or online. You will need to do the test either first thing in the morning, one hour before a meal or two hours after eating. Testing too close to meal time will cause you to receive inaccurate results based on the pH levels of the food or drink you have consumed.
Saliva: Before you brush your teeth, fill your mouth with saliva, swallow and repeat. After you have done so, spit directly onto one of the pH test strips. Following these steps will ensure that you are testing a clean saliva sample. Complete the process again later in the day, at least two hours after eating, to test for consistencies. This will allow you to catch if there is a potentially ‘contaminated’ sample, as you will need to repeat the process again if you find the tests are vastly different.
Urine: With a clean, glass container, collect a small sample of your first morning urine. Dip the pH strip into the sample.
Using the instructions on the packaging of your test strips, match the color of your strip to decode your body’s pH level. You would ideally like to see your pH level matching with 7.2 to 7.4 on the package (depending on the brand of pH strips you purchases, this is usually dark green or bluish).
What Can I Do to Fix It?
Generally speaking, if you eat more animal products and processed foods than fresh foods you will find that your pH levels tend to be more on the acidic side of the scale. Your pH balance is also heavily impacted by lack of sleep, anxiety and stress. Even if you are eating a healthy diet, living an overly stressful life can result in an acidic body. Planning a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep and making an effort to reduce the stress in your life will help you to maintain a more balanced pH level.
When selecting your foods, use these lists as a guideline:
- Acid Promoting Foods: Grains, cooked foods, sugars, alcohol, saturated fats, refined flour products (such as bread and pasta)
- Alkaline-Forming Foods: Fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, legumes and nuts.
- Alkaline “Super Foods”: Raspberries, sweet potatoes, dark green vegetables, limes, lentils, garlic and apple cider vinegar