Alkaline Foods Vs. Acidic Foods

alkaline-foodsIn order to function properly, the body works tirelessly to keep organic chemicals and compounds in a balanced state known as homeostasis. As a result, the body needs to keep nutrients and certain fluids, like blood, slightly alkaline. When it comes to alkalinity most people have heard of the benefits of having a high alkaline diet, but the clarity of details can become a bit confusing to some. When measuring a person’s acidity levels, science refers to a Ph scale. The pH range is from 0 to 14, with 7.0 being neutral. Anything above 7.0 is alkaline and anything below 7.0 is considered acidic, for a healthy body, the ph measures at approximately 7.4. When the body’s fluids become imbalanced or too acidic, in defense to maintain homeostasis, the body will pull alkaline minerals from neighboring areas such as the bone. According to Dr. Howard F Loomis Jr, D.C.,F.I.A.C.A., if the body continuously stays in a state of acidity the body will be forced to continue to pull minerals, leaving the bones brittle and the body at risk for disorders like, Osteoporosis. In addition to skeletal function, the Ph of the body directly affects the functions and health of the digestive system, circulatory system, immune system and respiratory system.

What causes acidity in the body?

There are many factors when it comes to throwing off the balance between acid and alkalinity. The main disorder that excess acid in the body is referred to is called Acidosis. Acidosis is increased acidity in the blood, blood plasma and other body tissue. There are many different types of acidosis that can occur, the first is Metabolic Acidosis.

Let’s begin with where everything in the body starts; with diet and digestion. An inadequate amount of mineral water or consumption of poor quality water can be the first offender. Another offender is consumption of too much protein without the consumption of alkaline foods to balance it out. Protein is a very beneficial nutrient, but at extremely high amounts it can cause severe kidney stress. The kidneys are what convert your nutrients into an alkaline state, but if the system is inundated with acids and proteins, it inhibits the kidneys from functioning properly. This causes the kidneys the release acids such as uric acid into the blood. Uric acid builds in the body and blood causing slow muscle recovery, muscle soreness and stiffness, gout and arthritis. Protein is not the only food source that is considered acidic; refer to the acid and alkaline food chart.

Prolonged or excess exercise without properly fueling the system with alkaline foods such as greens will also cause the body to become acidic. When the body is exercised, muscles are being forced to be metabolized, torn and grow. Muscles are essentially protein, therefore making sure alkalizing the body with greens, minerals before, during and after workouts will prevent acidosis, fatigue, muscle cramps and pains. It is a common fact that when the body is exercised the muscle produce lactic acid as a byproduct. But lactic acidosis can occur for many different reasons; including chronic alcohol use, heart failure, seizures, liver failure, prolonged lack of oxygen, and low blood sugar.

The other type of the acidosis that can occur is Respiratory Acidosis. This occurs when too much CO2 builds up in the body. Normally the lungs remove CO2 through breathing. However, sometimes the body can’t get rid of enough CO2. This may happen because of: chronic airway conditions, like asthma, smoking, injury to the chest, obesity, which can make breathing difficult, sedative misuse, overuse of alcohol, muscle weakness in the chest and problems with the nervous system.

The overall symptoms of Acidosis are yeast and bacterial overgrowth, heart burn, acid reflux, indigestion, headaches, chest pains, rapid shallow
breathing, confusion, fatigue, lack of appetite and jaundice. If acidosis is suspected, going to a doctor to diagnose acidosis can be done with a series of blood and urine tests. There are also urine ph strips that can be purchased for at home use.

How to balance alkalinity through diet

The rule of the thumb is 80% alkaline foods like vegetables and dark leafy greens and 20% acidic foods like protein and fats. The consumption of fruits on an empty stomach in the proper food combination will also assist in increasing alkalinity. Food combining and absorption is another major factor in alkalinity. Certain foods help each other break down and others will inhibit each other; an example of this is proteins and starches. In order to insure both food groups break down properly it is best to separate them from meal to meal. For example, one meal will consist of a type of animal protein, lightly cooked vegetables and a large salad. Your next meal will could consist of a plant based protein like quinoa or a grain or starchy food like rice or sweet potatoes. These foods will also be paired with lightly cooked vegetables and a large salad. For clearer understanding see the alkaline and acid foods chart.

Regardless of whether acidosis is present or not, following simple dietary guidelines like above assist in many health benefits, including preventing future acidosis. Knowledge and awareness of what is put in the body through diet is the key to maintaining a healthy life style.

For a clearer understanding see an alkaline and acid foods chart at VirtueOfHealth.com.