Acid – Alkaline………have you heard of those terms?
They tend to be pretty popular in the media at the moment (well, they have been for a number of years now…) but do you know what they actually mean for your body? Think back to high school chemistry classes: (What, you slept through those classes too?? )
Acid – Alkaline (or base) – Neutral…remember the pH scale??
We have varied levels of pH throughout the body that are tightly regulated & maintained via homeostasis for the body to work optimally. In fact if our body gets this part wrong, we die, so it’s no surprise our body is on the job 24/7!
|Body Tissue||PH Levels|
|Blood||7.35 – 7.45|
|Stomach Juices||1.5 – 3.5|
|Blood||7.35 – 7.45|
|Saliva||6.5 – 7.5|
|Urine||6.5 – 7.5|
In broad terms, in our bodies, Acid = Inflammation. Inflammation is either the precursor or certainly one of the first symptoms of disease. Things that cause an acid response include caffeine, alcohol, meat, dairy, sugar, processed foods, stress and chemicals – for example, exposure to environmental pollutants and cleaning products. How many of the above are you exposed to or choose to ingest regularly?
Alkaline balances Acid. So to reduce signs of inflammation, we need to increase alkalinity, and reduce acidity in the body. We should aim for 80% alkalising to 20% acidic forming, a ratio of 80:20. Please do not make the mistake of thinking that if a food has an acid residue that it is automatically bad. It’s not necessarily so – it’s all about choices within choices…a not uncommon theme in life yes? 😉
The pH of foods is measured by the residue left in the body once we process the foods, not the pH of the food before ingestion. What??? I hear you say… well, for example, lemons and limes are acidic in nature, but highly alkalising once ingested. Similarly, protein – which is an essential building block in our daily nutrition, is also acidic by nature (but the level of acidity varies greatly depending on the protein source) but it’s a necessity for our continued health & wellness.
You can choose foods such as tempeh, tofu (firm), edamame, quinoa, wild, brown or basmati rice, turkey, venison & cold-water fish for a low alkaline/low acid residue, as opposed to beef or other red meats, which are high acid residue foods.
Pecans & walnuts are considered to be higher acid nuts – does that mean they’re bad for you? Absolutely not – in fact traditionally walnuts are considered brain food due to the doctrine of signatures & them looking like a brain…
Goats milk & goats cheeses are more alkalising & soft white cheeses are lower acid (also lower in saturated fats), as is yoghurt (plain)… As a general rule of thumb you build yourself with the foods & beverages that you consume – so, eat yourself beautiful.
What do you want to be built with?
Fresh fruit & veggies, good quality protein, good fats, a variety of fermented foods & wholegrains & water, juices, broths,
Fried foods, lots of takeaways, fizzy drinks, alcohol,caffeine & lollies.
Equally as important is joy in what we eat – good food is delicious & tasty, but as my clients will tell you I’m not puritanical – have some “treats” be it a glass of wine or an icy cold beer, some stinky cheese, a slice of cake, pizza…whatever your treat is – enjoy it but balance it out. If you know you’ve got a couple of dinners out or social engagements in the week make sure you’re prepared & have lots of the good stuff organised for the other meals in between.
As mentioned earlier other factors affect your acid/alkaline balance – stress is huge in triggering an inflammatory response so try too to reduce or manage stress & stressors – make sure you exercise regularly, get enough sleep, do things that make you happy & reduce interactions with people that create chaos (when possible!)
Unfortunately I do find some discrepancies with many of the acid/alkaline charts available readily online, it certainly creates some confusion, so I’ve included one of the charts I use as reference guide. To view the entire chart with a comprehensive list of food and drink click here
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