Acid Alkaline balance explained
Our body is working constantly to maintain its optimal pH (within body fluids). However, many people in today’s society are experiencing an increased acid load due to a diet too high in processed foods and protein while being too low in vegetables and other alkalising foods, plus high stress levels due to poor lifestyle habits. The human body has the means to eliminate acids, but when acid load is excessive, the body struggles to eliminate this increased load through the lungs, kidneys, skin and importantly through buffer systems in body fluids.
It is these buffer systems within our bodily fluids that act to maintain an optimal pH, but when acid load is high, this is at the expense of the tissues within our body. Our body fluids require alkaline minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium) to neutralise acids so they can be eliminated. These alkaline minerals can be provided by the diet, but when acid load become high our diet does not provide sufficient amounts and are forced to withdraw these minerals from stores in the body, in which case they are reabsorbed from our bones, muscles and organs. Over time, these alkaline minerals stores in the body can become depleted, resulting in diseases such as osteoporosis (weakening bones) and heart disease.
The cells of our body are filled and surrounded with the body fluid that needs to be maintained at this slightly alkaline pH. These cells are the building blocks of tissues, muscles and organs, so it is vital they are thriving in an optimal alkaline environment. When we are not providing our body with the correct nutrients to maintain an acid/alkaline balance, the body can become overburdened. Our cells can become slightly acidic causing them to be low in oxygen, malnourished and sluggish. This affects their ability to perform their normal functions and can lead to illness and fatigue.
It is impossible to avoid acid production in the body as acids are produced as part of everyday metabolism. However, it is possible to minimise unnecessary causes of acidity, such as avoiding excessive amounts of acid causing foods.
Alkaline foods help control pH balance
Acid forming foods consist of meats, dairy, grains, cereals and sugars, whereas alkaline forming foods consist of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. The best alkalising foods are green vegetables, mainly due to their chlorophyll (green pigment) content. It is important to remember that although many of the acid forming foods are healthy and a necessary part of our everyday diet, in excess they can cause a build-up of acids in our body.
Ideally our diets should consist of 60-80% alkaline forming food and only 20-40% acid forming food. However, in western society the opposite is usually true, with breads, refined carbohydrates, meat and dairy forming the main part of the diet.
In addition to consuming alkaline forming foods, it is vital to increase our water consumption. Many of us do not drink enough water which can affect our body’s ability to eliminate acids. If you are dehydrated your body will not have sufficient water to allow complete elimination of waste products through the kidneys. These wastes can then build up in other organs and tissues eventually decreasing their function which can then impact our overall vitality. Drinking about two litres of water every day (more during hot weather or strenuous exercise) is important to support acid removal by your kidneys.