How does “alkalizing” help us?
Most of us have heard something about “alkalizing” in order to improve health. Alkaline refers to a measure of the body’s pH (potential hydrogen). Neutral pH is 7, acid is below that, and alkaline is above 7.
The blood that feeds our body will keep homeostasis by maintaining a delicate properly balanced pH to sustain life and that is around 7.3. We can’t change our blood pH with diet. Our body will though, draw upon itself (alkaline buffering resources) in order to keep a proper balance. Our body will draw on buffers such as bone, muscle, and organs.
Osteoporosis is an example of the body repeatedly drawing upon bone in order to buffer many years of acidity inflammation.
Why are we so acidic?
Although acidity is something we're not entirely going to get away from, we can help reduce it. Processed foods, smoking, alcohol, most medications, drugs, heavy exercise, and stress raise acidity levels. Some of these acid-forming practices happen to be things we love. Exercise is one of these. Exercise though does offer positive side effects for bone cell structures by remodeling the bone and by depositing calcium and other minerals into the bones, given there’s also adequate nutrition.
Acidity can also bring on inflammation. We may notice joint pain, fatigue, an achy body, bleeding gums, cavities, asthma, hives, itchy skin, allergies, sleep problems, digestive issues, and even storing more fat. If we include anti-inflammatory foods like fruits and vegetables into our diet we’ll notice less trouble with these issues.
So how do we correct or reduce acid?
Most fruits and vegetables, especially greens are more alkaline-forming or act against too much acid and inflammation. We've all noticed feeling better when consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables. Weight loss also becomes easier with a diet of greens, veggies, and fruits. They are also typically lower in calories, which doesn’t leave us much room for processed junk food.
Athletes need to utilize pH preserving practices.
An athlete needs healthy bone and muscle for strong performance and quick recovery. A by-product of heavy exercise is the use of muscle glycogen, which does increase acidic CO2 (carbon dioxide) build-up. When overworked muscles create a drop in pH to more acidic, then the body fatigues more easily and also can’t recover as quickly. This will negatively affect athletic efficiency, performance, and recovery.
An athlete should practice consuming predominately greens, a variety of vegetables and fruits, not only for overall health, but to reduce acidity and inflammation. This will also promote healthy muscle and healthy bone remodeling from exercise.
Detoxing wards off disease.
Pollution, processed junk food, chemicals from certain farming practices, smoking of any kind, alcohol, and stress all produce an acidic inflammatory load on the body. Acidic and a chronic inflammatory response encourages “toxic” build up.
When the pH is optimal then inflammation overload can naturally begin to decline, as does a more balanced body composition. Fruits and vegetables, especially greens, help reduce acidity and inflammation, therefore toxins.
Lose fat, not muscle.
Ever wonder why the fat won’t come off even when consuming low calories? If we change what we consume, the fat will come off. Fat is a place for toxins to reside. When we lose fat weight, toxins release forming oxidative stress. Studies have found that as we eat smaller and more frequent meals, which include quality protein from animal or plant sources, then this helps ease the stress load on the body while safely getting rid of certain toxins.
Consuming more alkaline-forming foods also means foods that are naturally higher in fiber. So as a result, our digestion, muscle, bone, teeth, nails, skin, and hair improve.
How to use pH paper strips.
These strips are helpful in understanding what may be going on with the pH of our body. A neutral urine pH is 7 and any reading below is considered acidic, while above 7 is more buffering to acid and considered alkaline. Reaching alkaline does not mean reaching a high pH, because that too can be unhealthy. An average morning urine should be around 6.0. Some people can develop kidney stones from both chronic over acidic and or high alkaline conditions.
Testing our pH can be done using pH paper strips. Pull out about an inch of paper and test the first urination of the morning. An acidic diet and lifestyle will represent a much lower (acidic) pH. Eating more fresh vegetables, fruits, and greens can have a positive change in chemistry by reducing acidity.