We all learned about the pH balance in either high school science, or some of us in college. The pH balance is the balance of alkaline vs. acidity in the body. Our pH levels affect the health of our cells and the balance needs to be tightly maintained. pH is the potential hydrogen in a solution and when it comes to our bodies, it is the hydrogen ions in our body fluids and tissues. It is measured on a scale with 7 being neutral. If you are below 7 your body is more on the acidic side and above 7 means your body is alkaline. Read on to see how this affects our overall health.
What’s the Fuss About PH Balance in Body?
Your pH balance in your body keeps it strong to help it fight off illness. The cells and basic building blocks of the body depend on a balanced pH level to stay healthy. If your body is too acidic, cells can die and unwelcome organisms can take over. It has been found that cancer loves acidity.
A body that is too acidic reduces the oxygen to the cells. This begins to happen at around an acidity of 7.4. When this happens you can get an overgrowth of viruses, bacteria, yeast and mold. The excessive acid begins to build up in the fat, drops the calcium levels and increases fat production to protect itself. While fat storage to shield the body from damage to organs may protect you, you now have extra fat to deal with. Getting your pH level back to a balanced state not only can help you rid your body of toxins, it may help you lose some weight in the process.
What About Alkaline Diet to Restore PH Balance?
Promises of Better Health
We are all hearing about alkaline balancing diets and actually they are “low-acid” diets. They have been promoted to help with weight loss, cancer prevention and improve bone and joint health. The thinking behind this diet is reducing certain foods like animal products, processed food, wheat and sugar can help reduce acid in the system. They also promote eating foods that are higher on the alkalinity scale to help with the balance. There is no doubt the eating plan is healthy, but balancing pH levels in body fluids is actually quite a natural process that doesn’t really have much to do with eating. Our kidneys are natural regulators of releasing acid or alkalinity, unless that process is broken due to a malfunction.
According to webmd, the pH of human blood is carefully controlled within a range of pH 7.35-7.45, which keeps blood slightly alkaline. Let’s take a closer look at the diet theory.
Can Alkaline Diet Really Help Your Body?
Well, yes and no. As stated above, your kidneys play a big role in letting go of excess acidity and raising alkalinity to where it should be. If you do not have any issues with your kidneys. So, when you eat an excessively acidic food your pH goes up and your kidneys draw this into your urine and you eliminate it (which can make the urine acidity higher than that of blood, usually between 4.5 to 8). This is constantly happening so you would have to devour a lot of acidic foods fast to even raise the level if your body is working right.
The positive side to these diets is all the higher alkaline foods are healthy foods. They include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. They also tell you to increase water intake and lower your intake of alcohol, processed food, and sugar. All of these changes can help you lose weight.
Lastly, there is some evidence that a lower acid diet can help to reduce the risk of kidney stones. This includes lowering intake of animal proteins, cheese, and grains. Not only can this reduce kidney stones, but also may improve bone health, improve brain health, and reduce the risk of colon cancer. There just aren’t a lot of studies to prove this.
A Few More Notes About Alkaline Diets
Acidic foods include animal proteins, dairy, grains, and processed foods. It is best for any diet to stay away from commercial packaged foods, packaged snack foods, and canned goods. Alkaline foods are all the fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, and beans (legumes). Try to increase these in your diet for overall good health. These diets also promote reducing caffeine and alcohol or even quitting them.
This diet can be relatively easy to follow if you can already cook fresh meals from scratch using only fresh foods. The part that most people find difficult is letting go of sugar, processed snacks and caffeine.
What About Drinking Alkaline Water?
With the newest “low-acidity” diet craze, alkaline water has begun to appear on store shelves. The question is, “Does it really help?” Low alkaline water is basically ionized water with a pH level that is above 7. People who agree with its use state that it helps to lower acid levels in the blood. Researchers have not proven these claims.
A few studies did show that alkaline water may help to neutralize stomach acid and reduce heartburn and reflux. They just haven’t figured out how much the body needs for it to work as an antacid. There is also a thought that it may help prevent the loss of calcium from bones, but further studies are needed in this area.
You can get alkaline water in bottles at the store or use a home filtration system to ionize your water. Another way to alkalinize water is to add ½ to 1 teaspoon of baking soda per gallon. The latter suggestion may cause a distaste in the water and too much baking soda is actually not good for the body. If you cause your blood to become too alkaline, you can cause cardiac rhythm disturbances.
While drinking alkaline water that is bottled will not hurt you, there are questions as to whether it is worth the investment. The bottom line is plain water is just fine. As long as you are healthy and eating a healthy diet, your kidneys should help control your body pH on their own.