You hear the word alkaline and the first thing that probably jumps into your head is a battery commercial, am I right? Or, like a former version of myself, it draws to mind horrors from chemistry classes. (Sooo glad my college chem days are behind me!)
Actually, alkalinity is something incredibly important for your health and overall well-being, and will totally change the way you think about what you’re putting in your body. Let me explain.
A neutral pH of 7.0, is neither acid (<7), nor alkaline (>7). Distilled water has a pH of 7. Your stomach acid has a pH of about 2, and Drain-o has a pH around 14 (the highest the scale goes). Your blood’s natural pH is around 7.4, or slightly alkaline. This is your body’s happy place.
Eating certain foods, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, feeling negative emotions, and lack of exercise can cause your body to become more acidic.
What does this mean for your body? Well, disease thrives in an acidic environment. If your body isn’t maintaining that lovely 7.4 pH, you’re likely to have a host of problems effecting you. Seasonal colds, breakouts, heartburn, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoporosis, arthritis, even the big killers, like heart disease and cancer, plus many more ailments, can all be linked to acidity in the body.
Your body has the ability to dispose of acid on its own, through various bodily functions. However, when it is constantly being overloaded with excess acidity from poor diet, stress, environmental toxins, and everything else that we deal with on a daily basis, it comes up a bit short.
You must take the steps to rid your life of as much of the bad acid producers as possible, while at the same time, adding as much alkaline goodness as you can!
So what causes acidity, and what can I do to alkalize, you might ask?
- Artificial sweeteners
- Dairy products
- Drugs (recreational or medicinal)
- Legumes (slightly acidic)
- Processed oils (especially margarines and other trans fat products)
- Processed soy products
- Refined grains (white flour, white rice, etc.)
- Roasted nuts (especially peanuts and pistachios)
- Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks
- Sugar (and other sweeteners, even the “good” stuff like honey and agave)
- Wheat, oats, and brown rice (slightly acidic)
- Citrus fruits
- Coconut, flax seeds, olive, and sesame oils
- Grains (buckwheat, kamut, quinoa, wild rice, amaranth, spelt, and millet)
- Green vegetables
- Raw nuts (best are almonds and pine nuts)
- Raw veggies in general (frozen, canned, and cooked are less alkaline)
- Root vegetables
- Sea vegetables
- Tea (herbal or green)
Preferably, you want to eat about 80% alkalizing food to 20% acid-forming foods. This is why I try so hard to fit in tons of green juice, smoothies, salads, and other veggies in my life! This is also the reason that I have mostly eliminated so many of the acid-forming agents from my life, like meat, dairy, cigs and coffee. I even try to limit the amount of medicine I take. I take ibuprofen on a rare occasion when I have a nasty headache or cramps that won’t work themselves out on their own, and that’s about it.
You may have noticed that many beans and some grains are a bit acid-forming. However, these items are also an important part of a healthy, plant-based diet, and shouldn’t be eliminated just based on acidity. Just make sure you’re getting plenty of greens and veggies on top of it.
Another way to decrease your acid levels is to reduce the stress in your life, through yoga, meditation, exercise, or whatever floats your boat. Deep breathing also helps, by increasing alkaline oxygen and eliminating acid-rich carbon dioxide.
This theory of alkalinity is what finally got me to change my lifestyle. It actually makes sense, unlike so many diet schemes! A healthy, green diet will do so much more than just trim up you waistline, it can seriously change your life!