Do you often feel low on energy, like you do not have enough patience, stamina or strength to last the day? Maybe you are prone to bouts of illnesses – common cold, fever and/or upset stomach? There could even be some added stress from work or at home that is making things worse? All this makes your life absolutely no fun!
The good news is you can control how you feel by simply controlling what you put in your body!
Eating certain foods could influence the body’s acid-base homeostasis or pH levels. A healthy and balanced environment within the body can produce favourable effects on your overall health and wellbeing.
Why is the Alkaline Diet Most Suited?
Also called the acid-ash diet, the alkaline diet has been described by many as “miraculous.” And, it is so in a number of ways.
For one, it is balanced. It encourages the consumption of whole foods – fruits and vegetables – rather than meat, grains, processed foods and refined sugars. From a purely nutritional standpoint, the alkaline diet is robust. It reduces your risk of developing chronic, diet-related diseases.
The foods recommended by the alkaline diet are low-calorie choices that are also nutrient-dense. The diet promotes eating organic, plant-based foods rich in selenium, vitamin C, iron, and zinc (among others). This revitalizes and supports your gut and immune system.
Foods recommended by the alkaline diet also happen to have a cleansing and nourishing effect on the body. Red peppers, broccoli, and carrots are rich sources of vitamin A, that help keep your skin and hair healthy and glowing.
Understanding the pH Scale
Here’s a basic review of how the pH scale works. It is important to understand this in order to understand the correlation between pH and your health.
The pH scale runs from 0 (acidic) to 14 (basic or alkaline). 7 stands at the centre and is neutral. Water has a pH of 7. Hydrochloric acid or battery acid both have a pH of 0 and are extremely acidic and corrosive in nature. At the opposite end of the scale, lye has a pH of 14 (nearly). And, lye is extremely alkaline.
The acidity or alkalinity of a substance can be balanced with a buffer that resists a change in pH. Alternatively, you can balance an acidic substance with a basic substance or vice versa.
In order to function properly, the human body needs to maintain the pH in a very narrow range – between 7.35 and 7.45. This range provides the ideal working environment for the body’s tissue, fluids as well as organs and hormones.
That being said, each organ or fluid within the body maintains its own acidity/alkalinity. For example, the stomach is highly acidic at about 3.5 on the pH scale. It must remain so in order to effectively break down and process food. Blood, on the other hand, is mostly neutral. This characteristic enables it to channel and transport substances across the body without reacting with them.
Help Your Body Maintain its pH
Clearly, maintaining a proper pH is critical for your health. A pH imbalance can lead to several issues, and an extreme imbalance can quickly become fatal.
Alkalosis is a condition that occurs when your bodily fluids become alkaline. It can be induced by – pre-existing ailments such as liver or lung diseases; a low oxygen intake; or a sudden loss of electrolytes. Alkalosis, however, is not a common condition.
Acidosis, on the other hand, is characterized by high acidity of the body’s fluids. There are several different types of acidosis – respiratory, metabolic, lactic, and renal. Diet-induced metabolic acidosis results when the primary diet is animal-based rather than plant-based, and not enough vegetables and fruits are consumed. Symptoms include confusion, dullness, fogginess, fatigue, shortness of breath, and lethargy.
The kidneys protect your body against acidosis. The excess acid is sent to the bladder to be expelled as urine. Kidneys also maintain a tight control over bicarbonates in the body. The lungs assist in protecting as well. Carbon dioxide which is a product of cellular metabolism becomes acidic when it mixes with the blood. The lungs are able to dispel carbon dioxide through normal respiratory function.
Fortunately, the body has these mechanisms in place to keep pH levels in check — regardless of what you eat. But eating right helps your body greatly!