For a human body, the pH value determines the dissolved acids in your body. The pH is a short-hand representation for “hydrogen potential” and it determines the hydrogen ions in the body. On a pH scale, any number above 7 is considered alkaline. It is important to alkalize your body. Our body gets acidic in nature due to food lacking in alkaline nature and stress.
Need for pH balance
The working of tissues and cells depends on many factors like availability of enough nutrients, temperature, pH and hydration levels. The normal pH range needed to be maintained by our body is around 7.365 making it alkaline in nature.
Distress levels are caused, even if there is a slight imbalance in the pH levels. Hence, in order for the proper functioning of the body, the pH must not have a huge difference.
The kidneys ensure the maintenance of alkaline balance in our body.
Our diet consists of acidic foods like wheat, diary, gluten, refined sugars and animal proteins. Due to the consumption of less alkaline food, these acids are not neutralized and accumulate in our body. The excess acids are filtered out from our body in the form of urine.
But this process is only possible as long as there are very minimum acids; if the count increases the kidneys can no longer excrete the excessive acids. Instead, the acids get accumulated in our tissue cells. This can damage our health and cause serious health conditions like muscle degradation, diabetes, arthritis, kidney stones, cancer and reduced bone density.
How to determine the acidity or alkalinity of the body
A litmus paper is used to determine the pH of the body. The litmus paper must be wet with saliva early in the morning when you wake up. Avoid brushing, drinking or eating before the test. Once the paper is moistened enough, a color seems to appear on it. Based on the color, one can determine the state of the body. The results appear 15 seconds after the commencement of the test. Usually a chart is provided with the pH test strips; match the color with the chart accordingly. The general indication is:
- A number below 7 indicates that the body is acidic. The decrease in numbers from 7 indicates the increase in acidity.
- The ideal range of the strip must be between 7.0 and 7.5.
- Any number above 7 represents the alkalinity of your body. The greater the number, the more the alkalinity.
Acidosis is the state where the acids in our body increase enormously. Two types of acidosis problems are raised when there is too much acid: metabolic acidosis and respiratory acidosis. Metabolic acidosis is related to the non-functioning of kidneys and respiratory acidosis is related to our lungs. The symptoms of respiratory acidosis may include shortness of breath, confusion and fatigue. The symptoms of metabolic acidosis include confusion, fatigue and rapid breathing.
If the body is too acidic the following symptoms are noticed:
- Kidney failure
- Methanol or aspirin poisoning
- Chronic pains
- Joint pains
- Brittle hair and nails
- Heavy breathing
- Overweight and underweight problems
- Allergies, Candida, infections
There are few situations when the body is excessively alkaline:
1. Consciousness problems
Confusion as well as light-headedness has been noticed as common alkalosis problems. These symptoms can further worsen to extreme levels of catatonic stupor and coma.
2. Involuntary muscle spasms
The sensation of tingling or numbness in the face, legs or arms, hand tremors and involuntary muscle twitching are also few of the side-effects. It may further lead to cramping, spasms of the larynx, prolonged involuntary muscle spasms, especially in the feet and hand and also hypersensitive reflexes.
Vomiting and nausea are other typical alkalosis symptoms. Hypochloremic alkalosis also occurs due to the loss of liquids in the stomach.
The benefits of maintaining an alkaline diet
- Better bone health
- Easier weight loss
- Reduced Candida overgrowth
- Improvised cardiovascular health
- Increased energy or stamina
- More peaceful sleep without disturbance
- Increased mental alertness or acuity
- Improved health tissues
- Reduced muscle wasting
- Enhanced cognition and memory
- Alleviation of chronic diseases.
- Proper cell functioning
For a healthy lifestyle, it is advisable to consume 20% acidic food and 80% alkaline-forming food. It is important to note that stomach acid is different from the body’s acid-base balance. For a healthy stomach, its acidic nature helps in digestion of the food. Although, lemons are highly acidic in nature, after consumption, they help in supplying minerals to our body. When acid-forming foods are consumed, our body works against bringing back the pH balance. This is done by releasing alkaline-rich minerals back into the bloodstream, like magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. If alkaline-forming foods are not ingested externally, our body pulls out the minerals from teeth, organs and bones. This leads to cellular damage, compromised immune system and possesses a greater exposure to several diseases and viruses.
17 Ways to Alkalize Your Body
1. Water is key
Ample water intake breaks down excess toxins and maintains all body systems. It is advised to drink water in ounces, drinking half of your body weight, to regulate the body systems. You should always carry a water bottle with you and fill it regularly.
It is preferred to consume alkaline water with a pH around 9 over regular tap water with pH about 6.5 to 7. Alkaline water molecules being small in size permeate into your body, leaving you hydrated as compared to regular water. If you get stuck trying to find alkaline water, you can get an alkaline water pitcher.
You can add lemon to your water which helps in proper digestion. Lemon water is alkaline in nature and it offers nutritious vitamins like vitamin C. It helps in keeping the body clean through oxygenation and hydration. It also optimizes the enzyme function in the body. Uric acid is disposed of with the help of lemon water that assists the liver enzymes in the process. One can add apple cider vinegar for more alkaline effect.
2. Eat healthy, stay healthy
Vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, legumes and grains are a great source of alkalis to your body. Increase the intake of healthy food and avoid junk food as much as possible.
Eating more vegetables over grains or meat is preferred. You should consume green or dark vegetables such as:
Also, it is beneficial to consume fruits like apple, grapes, lemons, melons, and berries to have a healthier body.
Acidic fruits may include cranberries, plums and blueberries.
Grains such as millet, quinoa and amaranth are also helpful.
Green peas, fresh beans, lima beans and soy products can be consumed as a part of your diet.
Leek, garlic, onions and spices like ginger and parsley must also be included in your food habits.
3. Reduce the intake of acidic food
Instead of complete avoidance, reduce the amount of intake of eggs, white flour, meat, dairy and refined sugars. Although they contain high proteins, they have slight amounts of acid that can decrease the alkalinity of our body. One can opt for other sources of protein like beans, broccoli or tofu.
4. Take help of multivitamins to support your diet
Multivitamins help in alkalizing the body. The important vitamins like vitamins C and A help in strengthening the body cells and boosting the immune system that help in alkalizing the body. Vitamin D also helps in maintaining the alkaline state along with improving the calcium absorption and maintaining the mineral levels of our body. The intake of a multivitamin every day can improve the pH levels over time.
5. Take a brisk walk
Sweating through exercise can eject out unnecessary acids from our body. Take a brisk walk whenever possible in your free time and incorporate any form of cardio for at least a few minutes.
6. Consume raw, unsalted almonds
Raw, unsalted almonds are tasty as well as healthy. They help in combating the acidity in our body. Almonds are full of natural minerals such as magnesium and calcium. They balance the blood sugar levels as well as the acidity in our body.
7. Maintain your lymph
By regular exercise, breath work techniques through yoga and dry brushing we must maintain the lymphatic detoxification. Focusing on self-care, having mental stability, reducing stressors and eating whole foods can help in creating alkaline blood flow. Both body and mind must be thoroughly cleansed of toxins.
8. Replace coffee with green or herbal tea
Coffee is an addictive drink preferred by everyone. It has caffeine that is harmful to our body. Although coffee has its benefits of its own, it is acidic in nature. On the other hand, green tea is on the rise for its healthy benefits. It is highly alkaline in nature. One can try sencha, jasmine or matcha and prefer less acidic coffee.
9. Abandon sugar and replace it with other substitutes
Coconut sugar, natural honey and Stevia are some alternatives to sugar. Sugar is acidic and is regularly consumed. Hence, it is necessary to replace it from all our food habits and choose other alternatives. Alternative sweeteners are also available that produce the same sweetness as sugar and are a rather healthier option.
10. Reduce alcohol consumption
Alcoholic beverages are extremely acidic and their sugar content is high. Limit your alcohol consumption and switch to healthier drinks.
11. Prefer natural energy-boost drinks
Replace sugar-laden energy drinks with alkalizing energy drinks like lemon water, peppermint tea or green powder supplements. They can buffer out excess acids, clean your digestive system and stimulate your metabolism.
12. Make sure every meal has green vegetables or salads
Leafy green vegetables are extremely alkaline and contain high amounts of oxygen. Add some green powder to smoothies or purchase liquid chlorophyll for your water. Often consume fresh vegetable juices to alkalize your body.
13. Chew properly while eating
The first step of digestion begins from the moment food enters your mouth. As it is a known fact that saliva is alkaline in nature, it is important to chew approximately 30 times for every mouthful.
14. Let the sweat release
The toxins in our body are let out in the form of sweat. Fewer toxins indicate fewer acids in our body. Steam baths, hot yoga, and infrared saunas are a few of the incredible ways in which sweat can be released. Epsom salt baths can also be helpful. Drink a solution containing 1 spoon of lavender oil and a cup of Epsom salt for alkaline fluid.
15. Exercise regularly
Exercise is a great way of actively removing acids from our body. Working out regularly maintains the flowing of lymph systems and generates more alkaline blood. Exercise can be in the form of running, cycling, swimming and dancing. Restorative practices such as gentle stretching, Yin yoga and Iyengar yoga are also helpful in counteracting the harmful acids. Exercise can also help in maintain the physical balance.
16. Get more sleep
Cellular acidity is created by stress. Maintain your emotional balance by reducing stress. Meditation is one of the best solutions for stress reduction. Meditate regularly and maintain mind-body connection. Sleep can also reduce stress to a large extent. Many stress-relief puzzles are available on the internet that can reduce the stress. Take a walk when possible, bathe for relief, write in journals and take up any activity that can relieve you from momentary stress.
17. Baking soda
It neutralizes the acids present in your body and maintains the pH balance in the bloodstream and urine. It can be consumed with a glass of water, early in the morning for best results. One can also find relief against acid indigestion or heartburn with the help of baking soda.