We are enjoying summertime now – which means going out more often in the evening, but also eating a bit more than usual, which may trigger disorders as the acid-base balance in the body gets disrupted. How to re-establish the natural pH in the body and what are the acidic and alkaline foods that help balance it?
More and more doctors remind us about the importance of following alkalizing eating habits, in order to maintain a natural basic pH around 7,5 and 9.
What is pH?
In chemistry, pH (potential Hydrogeni) is a scale used to specify how acidic or basic a water-based solution is. Acidic solutions have a lower pH, while basic solutions have a higher pH.
pH is above all an essential parameter for the human body. Here is why:
if the environment where cells live is too acid, their functioning gets negatively affected.
Our wellbeing is directly related to the pH in our body.
In order to evaluate the acidity degree in the tissues, it is enough to test the urine. The reference numerical scale ranges from 0 to 14, and each substance may be regarded as acid (if its pH is from 0 to 6,9), neutral (if its pH is 7) and alkaline (if its pH ranges from 7,1 to 14).
A value inferior to 7 shows an acid pH, whereas a value superior to 7 shows a basic or alkaline value.
A person is acidotic if his/her urine have a pH inferior to 5,5.
It is possible to test our body pH even from home, testing either urine or saliva. These home tests should be carried out several times a day (like for instance in the morning, after lunch or after dinner), as to get a more accurate average, also because pH may vary during the day.
Our body is able to eliminate excess acid thanks to the physiological processes that maintain the correct acid-basic balance. From connective tissue to the blood, acid particles go to the kidneys and lungs and, in the end, they get eliminated.
If acid substances are constantly in excess, the body can’t dispose of them, and accumulates them in the connective tissue.
Connective tissue has a fundamental role, as it allows communication between organs and tissues. When too many acid particles build up in this tissue, communication between tissues becomes weaker and, as a consequence, acidosis triggers disorders.
This waste product gets eliminated when the body starts producing enough tamponades, though the longer the waste products lies in the tissue, the more serious the disorders are related to acidosis, which is also known as metabolic acidosis.
What are the symptoms of acid-basic unbalance?
Acid building-up in the body is usually transitory, though, if it lasts long, it may cause major disorders.
The major health issues related to a pH unbalance are:
- chronic fatigue;
- poor concentration;
- poor digestion;
- water retention;
- dysbiosis (also called dysbacteriosis);
- muscle cramp;
- joint pain;
The longer the issue gets neglected, the more the waste product builds up, and the more disorders you will have.
What are the causes of acid Ph?
The most frequent causes of metabolic acidosis are:
- wrong nutrition, with an insufficient intake of alkalizing foods and excess of acidifying foods;
- insufficient liquid intake;
- sedentary lifestyle;
- prolonged stress;
- excess of physical activity;
- taking medications;
- drinking alcohol;
- metabolic disorders;
- environmental pollution.
How to re-establish the natural pH balance in the body?
Nutrition – alkalizing diet
Acidosis may be battled by eating better with an alkalizing diet aimed at balancing the body’s pH, in order to re-establish physical and mental wellbeing as well.
The alkalizing diet is based upon the principle according to which all reactions in the body take place in relation to pH and the acid-basic ratio, which tends towards the acidic factor when our diet is not well-balanced.
Food, in fact, interacts with the body chemistry and changes the balance of the body which is essentially alkaline, having a basic pH between 7,5 and 9. Beverages and foods, once metabolized, release residues which may be basic or alkaline: alkalizing diet re-establishes the natural balance of the body (homeostasis) and, as a consequence, every vital function as well.
How the alkalizing diet works:
This diet involves seasonal vegetables and lean protein, abundantly packed up in foods like white meat, fish and dairies. The action of acidifying foods is counterbalanced by an adequate intake of basic foods, which have an alkalizing effect. The intake of acidifying foods is decreased, and we are talking about foods like cereals, bread, pasta, sweets, red meat, cold cuts, mature cheese, coffee and alcohol.
The list of Acidic Foods:
- Rye flour bread
- Durum wheat flour bread
- White bread
- Crispy rye bread
- Egg pasta
- Oat flakes
- Rough rice
- Parboiled rice
- Rye wholemeal flour
- Wholemeal spaghetti
- Durum wheat flour
- Wholemeal durum wheat flour
- Dried lentils
- Black tea
- Cod fillet
Meat and cold cuts
- Lean beef
- Canned beef
- Liver sausage
- Canned meat
- Lean pork
- Steak, lean or mixed
Milk, dairies and eggs
- Gouda cheese
- Fresh and acid cream
- Chicken eggs
- Fatty soft cheese
- Hard cheese
- Vanilla ice cream
- Condensed milk
- Pasteurized whole milk
- Grana cheese
- Whole fruit yoghurt
- Fat natural yoghurt
Sugar, preserves and sweets
- Plain chocolate
List of Alkalizing Foods to Prefer:
- Fresh carrots
- Egg plants
- Iceberg salad
- Tomato sauce
Fruit, nuts and fruit juices
- Apple juice, sugarfree
- Apple with peel
- Grapefruit juice
- Lemon juice
- Orange juice
- Pears with peel
- Water melon
- Alkaline mineral water
- Veggie juice
- Green tea
- Herbal teas
- Baking soda
- Sea salt
Clearly, it doesn’t mean you have to eat only alkalizing foods and completely avoid acidic foods, among which you can actually find healthy ones. It may be helpful to know the correct combinations of acid and basic foods. For instance, it is advisable to eat:
- cereals with fruit or vegetables;
- seeds with fruit;
- vegetables with protein.
Even though you’d better eat fruit on an empty stomach.
Other helpful pieces of advice:
Drink a lot.
Besides reducing the intake of acidifying foods, you don’t have to forget to drink water abundantly. Every day you have to drink at least one liter and a half of alkaline water (pH> 7).
It is also advisable to drink green tea, herbal teas, extracted fruit and veggie juice. You’d better avoid coffee, black tea and alcohol. You can also have recourse to an acidity corrector, water and baking soda, without exceeding of course.
Avoid sedentary lifestyle.
A fast-paced walk or aerobic exercise boost oxygenation and promote the release of carbon dioxide, which makes acidity in the body higher.
It may help to use a few stress management techniques, practice yoga, taï-chi, chi-cong etc.
Take an alkalizing food supplement.
These supplements are often in the form of alkalizing powders to dissolve in water, with minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium.
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