The typical modern diet, with lot’s of carbs, fats and meat builds up toxic acids in your body. An acid environment, makes it difficult for your body to function properly and can contribute to serious health problems.
To maintain healthy it is important to have a balance between alkaline and acid food intake. Here’s how you can achieve this delicate balance.
What is pH?
The pH is a parameter used to measure if your body is in an alkaline or acidic state. It simply measures the concentration of hydrogen ions. The less potential hydrogen ions a fluid contains the more alkaline it is. On the other hand the more hydrogen ions a fluid contains the more acidic it is.
An international scale exists for measuring pH values. It ranges from 0-14. Values from pH 0-7 are considered acidic. A value of pH 7 is neutral- for example tap water is considered neutral. Values from pH 7-14 are alkaline.
The pH in your body
Your body functions as an acid-alkaline system that strives to a very delicate pH balance. The ideal pH in your blood is between 7.35-7.45 – just slightly alkaline. But pH values are not the same in the whole body. Depending on the function, different parts of your body have different pH values. For example the gastrointestinal tract has very different pH values. Stomach acid is highly acidic (pH 1.5-3) because it has to digest and break up the food you eat. When the digested food comes into the small intestines, where most of the food nutrients are absorbed, it is in an alkaline environment (pH 7.4). Also the skin is naturally slightly acidic to protect us from bacteria and toxins.
How our body keeps the balance
As you can see every organ and fluid of our body has it’s own pH value depending on it’s function. Together they all form a delicate acid-alkaline system. Most of the acids that build up in your body form different processes are converted into Co2 and transported by the lungs out of your body. The kidneys have a similar function, acting as an excretion organ for built up acids. To maintain an equilibrium the kidneys use minerals like calcium and magnesium as buffers and transport excess acid into urine. This way your body is able to get rid of all the excess acids through lungs and kidneys and maintain an acid-base equilibrium in your blood and tissues. So how can you know if your body is well balanced?
You can not change the pH of your blood. No matter what you eat. What you can change by changing your diet and lifestyle is the pH of urine and saliva.
How to test for pH in your body?
Testing urine pH and what it means
You can measure the acidity of your urine with a simple urine test. All you need are pH test stripes (available in most pharmacies) and your urine. It is best not to take the first but the second urine of the day. That’s because during the day your body releases acids from all the processes happening inside. While you are sleeping your body is working hard to process all of these acids, excreting them through urine. That’s why the first morning urine is always expected to be more acidic.
Research suggests that urine pH is closely related to your diet. The normal pH range for urine in a balanced body is from pH 6.5-7.0. You should measure the pH of your urine for a week. The pH value of urine changes during the day and becomes more alkaline (pH 7.5-8.0), because of food intake, that’s why it’s important to always measure urine taken in the morning for a whole week.
If your urine’s pH is constantly under the value of 6.0 it’s an indication that your body holds on to acids and your diet and lifestyle are putting to much stress on your body.
Testing saliva pH and what it means
The second test you can do is measuring the pH of your saliva with test stripes, also best done in the morning before eating or drinking anything. Saliva pH changes significantly after eating or drinking. Simply put the test stripe into your mouth and hold for a few seconds. Read the results as indicated on the package.
Saliva is full of enzymes that help your body digest food. The normal range for saliva pH is from 6.5-7.0. If your saliva is constantly below pH 6.5 it’s an indication that your diet is high in processed, fatty and refined foods. This means your putting additional stress on your body because it doesn’t get all needed nutrients from the food you eat.
Urine pH reflects the acid-alkaline balance of your diet. Do you eat more veggies&fruit than meat? Tweet this
It is possible to test acidic for both urine and saliva which definitively shows that your diet is putting a burden on your body and that it is time for some change.
It is also possible to have acidic urine and normal or alkaline saliva. Since one of the main functions of saliva is to start digesting food a normal and slightly alkaline saliva means that you have enough alkaline mineral reserves to properly digest your food. On the other hand if at the same time your urine remains quite acidic (pH under 6.0) it means that your body still has excess acids to excrete and that you would benefit from some diet change toward alkaline forming foods.
What causes pH imbalance in your body
The imbalance of pH in your body, which shows through the pH of your urine and saliva, can be caused by several factors:
What you eat most definitively has the biggest impact on your pH. A diet high in meat, fat and processed foods but low in vegetables and fruit, will produce more acids and make your kidneys work twice as hard to excrete all these excess acids. When the body is low on minerals that neutralize acidity, like calcium and magnesium, the amount of built up acid can’t be processed, leaving acids in your cells. This makes a fertile ground for inflammation to develop inside your body. Simply said a diet poor in vegetables that raises acidity in your body is exhausting your organs, because they have to work more with less resources.
- Toxic overload
Chemicals used in everyday life, pesticides, hormones, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and food coloring are highly acid forming substances, contributing to formation of excess acid in your body.
- Stress and lifestyle
Stress can cause imbalance in your body, depriving it from oxygen and retaining acids in your cells.
Some medication, including aspirin and antacids, have a big impact on the pH of your urine and saliva. The above mentioned pH values apply to people who are not on any medications. Medications can make your pH much more acidic.
How to get more alkaline
The good news is that access acidity can be fixed and an acid-alkaline balance in your body can be restored. Simple diet and lifestyle changes can contribute to a healthier pH, revitalizing your cells, tissues and organs.
- Drink plenty of water
Not seldom, people are dehydrated. If your urine is dark yellow it can indicate that you drink too little water. Often pH balance can be restored by simply drinking 8 glasses of water (about 8oz per glass). This way you help your kidneys flush out all excess acids. It is best to consume clean source water. Please check the pH of the water you drink, it should be neutral or alkaline (pH 7-8.5). Don’t drink acidic water with pH less than 7 or carbonated water, since it has added Co2 which is also an acid.
- Get more alkaline forming foods
One of the best ways to help your body get rid of acids is to give it all the mineral reserves it needs to do this job easily. By consuming more vegetables and fruits you are consuming alkaline forming foods that additionally supply your body with all the nutrients it needs to fight excess acids.
A common mistake is to think that food that is acid tasting is also acid forming in your body. This has not to be the case. Lemons for example are a highly alkaline forming food after the digestion process starts. Proteins, fatty food, milk products and grains are mainly acid forming foods which you should consume less than alkaline forming foods. Here is a list of alkaline forming foods:
Low alkaline Alkaline Most alkaline Apples Green tea Spinach Almonds Avocado Broccoli Tomato Lettuce Artichoke Grapefruit Celery Brussels sprouts Mushrooms Peas Cabbage Olives Sweet potato Cauliflower Peaches Egg plant Carrots Pepper Green beans Cucumber Pineapple Beets Lemons Cherry Blueberries Limes Apricot Pears Asparagus Strawberry Grapes Kale Banana Kiwi Radish Honey Melons Onion Quinoa Fig Garlic Wild rice Date Parsley Goat milk Mango Olive oil Ginger tea Papaya
- Get more oxygen
Help your body to get more oxygen. Our lungs are the organ that get the biggest amount of acids, in the form of CO2, out of our body. To do this job properly they need more oxygen. Learn how to mindfully deep breath into your belly, this way your going to supply your body with much more oxygen. Get out for a walk as much as possible and breath in some air.
- Avoid stress
Try to avoid stressful situations and get some rest during the day. Get enough sleep to enable your body to get rid of excess acids during sleep.
Considering that built up acids can cause inflammation that lead to serious health problems, getting your body into a well balanced acid-alkaline state is important for your health. Even more important than measuring your pH of urine and saliva is the fact that this balance can be achieved with a healthy diet full of vegetables and fruits.
Photo credit: Framed Embroidery Kidney Anatomy, finding balance by woodleywonderworks, Italian Sausage Backyard Barbecue, Household Chemicals by Chesapeake Bay Program, Water by Andreas Levers, Yoga by Hernán Piñera