Maintaining an overall slightly alkaline body pH balance of 7.30–7.45 can help you stay in good health. Diet has a huge role in its ability to maintain pH balance, and while the body can actually be too alkaline, with processed, modern diets, it’s more common for people to be overly acidic.
An overly acidic body (known as acidosis) can’t function properly, creating a range of problems, including digestive, immune, nervous, and reproductive issues. According to Larissa Cohen, founder of EASYpH, an imbalanced overall body pH could be the cause of many common problems such as constipation, poor digestion, weight gain, aches and pains, heartburn, headaches, frequent colds, fatigue and sleeplessness.
“Our goal is to balance out pH (not achieve total alkalinity) because every hormone, neurotransmitter and chemical reaction in the body works optimally at a specific pH. If the pH is outside this range, bodily processes are compromised. For example, our stomach acid is very low pH, so it can effectively digest food,” she said.
“The only way you can fi nd out if you are too acidic is by testing. Testing is easily done with a urine or saliva pH kit, such as the EASYpH testing kit that you can purchase at your local Go Vita store. Most people are too acidic, experiencing chronic low-level acidosis.
This is caused by unhealthy lifestyles, overeating and consuming processed food, white bread, sugar, take-aways, soft drinks, alcohol, tea and coffee.”
A balanced pH may help promote healthy body weight and normal digestion; prevent and manage diabetes; promote efficient heart function; reduce the risk of hypertension; protect against premature ageing; reduce the risk of gout; and promote energy, physical vitality and stamina; enhanced mental clarity and acuity; recovery from illness, injury and exertion; good bone health, digestive health and immunity.
To bring your body into the perfect pH balance ensure your diet is as unprocessed and natural as possible and follow these easy tips:
- Eat lots of vegetables, especially the green leafy ones. Greens like kale, spinach, lettuce, and collard greens are great alkaline foods to incorporate into into main dishes or have in smoothies for breakfast or snacks. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, and carrots are also alkaline, as are cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. At least three-quarters of your plate should be salad and/or cooked vegetables. Fresh vegetables are more alkaline-forming than cooked vegetables. Also remember to ‘eat a rainbow’ – a variety of different colour vegetables – for optimal nutrition.
- Hydrate! Your body needs two to three litres of water per day, depending on your size, activity level and diet. Purified water is around neutral pH; tap water is generally slightly acidic.
- Avoid additives, including artificial sweeteners. Preservatives, additives and food colourings are highly acid-forming. If the body can’t eliminate or neutralise them, it will store them away in the tissues, especially in fat cells. The body will neutralise acids and chemicals with alkaline minerals, even using calcium as a buffer, leeching it out of bones and increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
- Avoid or reduce acid-forming tea, coffee, soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks and alcohol. Water and herbal teas are your best options.
- Take a green supplement. Adding green supplements to your smoothie or making a green drink provides hydration and an alkalising energy boost. Green drinks offer a large variety of nutrients in an easy-to-absorb form. Poor growing conditions and lengthy storage of vegetables means they don’t necessarily have optimal vitamin and nutrient content, making green drinks a valuable dietary supplement.
- Eliminate or reduce sugar. Sugar is devoid of nutrition and is acid-forming.
- Eat alkalising snacks. Unsalted fresh nuts are high in nutrients and a small handful make an excellent snack. Whole almonds are the most alkaline-forming of nuts and are high in calcium; cashews, macadamia and chestnuts are also great. Avocado is highly alkalising and a fantastic quick meal, being high in nutrients and healthy fats and minerals.