Alkaline & the Importance of PH Balance in your Body
When it comes to your health, it is important to think about the normal pH balance in your body. You’ve might’ve seen alkaline-acid food charts on the internet, but you may not know their importance.
What does pH balance mean? How do you know if your pH levels are out of balance? What causes and what are the signs of pH imbalance? How to restore pH balance in the body through diet and lifestyle?
Read on. You will find answers to all your questions.
What Is pH Balance in the Body?
The term “pH” stands for the “potential of hydrogen”, or the measure of hydrogen ion concentration of a solution that can measure acidity or alkalinity in any solution, including the fluids and tissues of your body. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. 7 is neutral, while under 7 is acidic and over 7 is alkaline. Different solutions and different parts of your body have different pH levels.
The healthy pH balance in the body depends on different parts of your body. Your blood’s and most of your body tissue need to stay at a slightly alkaline state around 7.365 pH. However, your stomach is highly acidic around pH 2 in order to help your body to break down the foods you eat. Your saliva and urine are slightly acidic between 6.4 and 6.8 pH.
pH Balance in the Body + Causes of pH imbalance
The truth is that your body works hard and does a really good job keeping a healthy pH balance in the body.
How Your Lungs, Brain, and Kidneys Help to Restore pH Balance in the Body
Your lungs release carbon dioxide to keep a normal pH balance in the body and restore pH balance when needed. Carbon dioxide is a slightly acidic compound, which is a waste product of breathing.
As your body uses oxygen, your cells release carbon dioxide into your blood, which is taken to your lungs and is eventually released through exhalation. Hence, every breath you take helps to reduce acidity and restore pH balance in the body.
Your kidneys and brain as also essential to restore a pH balance in the body. Your kidneys help your lungs to maintain pH balance by releasing acids or bases into your blood. Your brain is constantly there to monitor everything in order to maintain a necessary pH balance in your body.
What Causes pH Imbalance in the Body?
Acidosis is “an overproduction of acid in the blood or an excessive loss of bicarbonate from the blood (metabolic acidosis) or a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood that results from poor lung function or depressed breathing (respiratory acidosis).”
Your body tends to do a very good job of maintaining a pH balance in the body. However, an increase in acid can lead to overwhelm causing the blood to turn more acidic than normal.
Your kidney’s job is to help to maintain healthy electrolyte levels and pH balance in the body. However, when it’s exposed to too many acidic substances, its job becomes more difficult and ends up releasing more minerals through urn than normal. As a result, your cells may end up lacking enough minerals to maintain health. Mineral loss may lead to poor vitamin absorption, more toxicity, and a suppressed immune system.
When this happens, your body has to work increasingly harder and more to keep your blood normal pH in the body. This may lead to an imbalance potassium and sodium ratio, reduced magnesium level, low fiber levels, and loss of kidney function.
Types of Acidosis due to a Lack of pH Balance in the Body
Acidosis is a serious health concern. There is a variety of acidosis due to a lack of pH balance in the body:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis: Diabetic ketoacidosis is not the same as ketosis. It happens when the liver of a person with diabetes produces dangerously high amounts of ketone bodies.
- Hyperchloremic acidosis: This is a temporary state caused by vomiting and diarrhea.
- Lactic acidosis: Too much lactic acid from chronic alcoholism, cancer, seizures, liver failure, low blood sugar, prolonged lack of oxygen, or even prolonged exercise can result in lactic acidosis.
- Renal tubular acidosis: This happens when your kidneys are unable to excrete acids through urine and the blood becomes too acidic as a result.
- Dietary acidosis: Dietary acidosis may happen due to a highly acidic diet that can put too much stress on the body.
Factors that Contribute to the Lack of pH Balance in the Body
There are a variety of factors that may contribute to acidosis and a lack of pH balance in the body, including:
- Alcohol and drug use, including over-the-counter and prescription medication, such as aspirin, sedatives, and opioids
- Antibiotic overuse
- Kidney malfunction and kidney disease
- Poor digestion
- Poor gut health
- Too much refined and processed foods high in refined sugars, sodium, preservatives, food coloring, and artificial ingredients
- Low intakes of minerals, such as potassium and calcium
- Chronic stress
- Sleep disorders
- Pesticides and herbicides
- Excess hormones from processed foods, plastic, and beauty products
- Exposures to chemicals and radiation, including from household cleaners, computers, microwaves, and cell phones
- Low fiber diets
- Declines nutrient levels in our soil and food
- Lack of exercise
- Lung disease and lung damage
Benefits of Alkaline Diets for a Healthy pH Balance
Alkaline diets have been recommended by many holistic health practitioners to restore pH balance in the body.
Eating an alkaline diet to restore pH balance may help to
Testing pH Balance in the Body
If you are dealing with inflammation, aches, and pain, sleep issues, or chronic health issues, or eating a diet high in processed food, not exercising, and experiencing high stress, chances are, your body is working very hard to keep a healthy pH balance. However, testing is a smart idea for everyone.
You can buy pH strips at drug stores and online to test urine pH balance in the body. Use it in the morning before breakfast or an hour before eating. Compare the colors to the guide on the box to determine your pH.
Your urine pH can range between 4.5 and 9.0, however, the ideal range is between 6.5 and 7.0+. You can also test your saliva. It should be between 6.8 and 7.3 pH. Use it daily and take an average for a week or two to get a good idea of your urine pH levels. As you are changing your diet to restore pH balance in the body, you can check your progress using these handy strips.
How to Balance pH in the Body
Eating a healthy diet and living a healthy lifestyle is the best way to balance pH in the body. But remember, this doesn’t mean that you should only be eating alkaline foods. You are aiming for balance.
The Goal Is a pH Balance in the Body
If you look at pH scales, you will notice that some incredibly nutritious foods, such as walnuts, pecans, cashews, pumpkin seeds, plums, sour cherries, beans, and honey are acidic foods. These foods have very important antioxidant and other benefits for your body and can play an important role in your diet and health.
What you are shooting for is a healthy pH balance in your body. Too much alkalinity can be a problem too. While you definitely need to reduce (or eliminate) acidic refined and processed foods from your diet that lack any nutritional benefits, nutrition-dense foods always have room in your diet, even if they are more acidic. However, since many non-dietary lifestyle factors, such such as pollution and stress can contribute to acidity and disease, it is important that alkaline foods take up the main part of your diet to off-set damage that you can’t control, such as air pollution.
5 Simple Tips to Restore pH Balance in the Body
1. Reduce Intake of Acidic Foods
The first step you need to do to achieve pH balance in the body is to reduce the intake of acidic foods. Eliminate or highly reduce unhealthy acidic foods, such as:
- Processed meats, such as deli, hot dogs, cold cuts, and cured meats
- Fried foods
- Conventional meats
- Milk and dairy products
- Refined sugar
- Artificial ingredients
- Refined grains, such as pasta, white rice, white bread
To achieve a pH balance, there are some nutrient-dense somewhat acidic foods you may still include in moderation, including:
- Lentils and legumes
- Brown rice
- Sprouted bread, whole grain bread
- Nuts and seeds
2. Fill Up on Alkaline Foods
To restore pH balance in the body, it is key that you eat plenty of alkaline and alkalizing foods that are rich in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and fibers, such as:
- Dark leafy greens, such as kale, chards, and spinach
- Non-starchy vegetables, such as avocados, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, and tomatoes
- Superfoods, such as spirulina, chlorella, and maca
- Raw foods, meaning uncooked greens, veggies, and fruits, green juices, and smoothies
- Healthy fats, such as avocados and coconut oil
- Healthy starchy vegetables, such as beets and sweet potatoes
- Plant proteins, such as beans, nuts, and seeds
- Most fruits, including citrus, dates, and raising that are acidic foods with alkalizing effects on your body
- Green juices
- Apple cider vinegar
3. Drink Alkaline Water
Depending on the source, most groundwater and surface system water ranges from a 6 to 8.5 pH. Distilled water is around the pH of 7. Filtered water is usually just below pH 7.
Alkaline water is highly alkaline water with a pH between 9 and 11 to boost alkalinity to your body. By adding pH drops of baking soda to a glass of water, you can also boost the alkalinity of your water and make your own alkaline water. Drinking alkaline water may be a way to help your body to achieve a pH balance especially if you are dealing with health issues and signs of acidity.
4. Reduce Toxic Exposure
To help your body restore a pH balance, it is important to reduce your exposure to toxins, chemicals, pollutants, and drugs. Stop smoking and limit exposure to secondhand smoking. Aim for moderate alcohol consumption or don’t drink at all. Reduce or eliminate caffeine. Avoid drugs, such as aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, sedatives, opioids, and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors if all possible, and only take them if it’s absolutely necessary for a health condition. Avoid antibiotic overuse. Avoid chemicals and toxins, by eating organic foods and using organic and natural cleaning, beauty, and body products.
5. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Lifestyle behaviors can make it difficult to keep a pH balance in the body. Make sure you get plenty of sleep every night, 7 – 9 hours if possible. Lower stress levels, through meditation, relaxation exercises, time in nature, journaling, time with loved ones, uplifting activities, gratitude, and by learning to respond to stress better. Exercise regularly, at least 30 mins five times a weeks, and live a generally active lifestyle, but avoid overexercising.
When it comes to your health, having a normal pH balance in the body is absolutely crucial. When you are eating an unhealthy diet, living an unhealthy lifestyle, and exposed to toxins and stress, you make your body’s job increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy pH balance and keep your healthy.
It is absolutely crucial to keep help your body through an alkaline diet and lifestyle to restore pH balance. If you follow the 5 simple tips in this article, you can create a pH balance in the body, restore your health, and start thriving.
What steps will you be taking this week to restore pH balance in your body? What are your favorite alkaline foods? Share your goals and experiences with us. We would love to hear from you and support your journey to health.
And remember, we are in this together.
Kat Gál is a holistic health writer who helps health, wellness, and nutrition businesses to market their products and services through quality online content. She is also a freelance writing mentor teaching wanna-be-freelancers how to make a living writing at freelancewriterschool.com. Reach out if you are looking for amazing blog content at firstname.lastname@example.org or katgalwriter.com. Visit freelancewriterschool.com for freelance writing tips. Follow me on Instagram @freelancewriterschool and on Facebook at facebook.com/katgalwriter.
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