Nov 10

Alkalinity Health Benefits…what should you believe?

If you’ve been alive more than a few years, you’ve probably been so inundated with new diets and health fads that you don’t know what to believe.  I know how you feel!

diet confusionWhat’s alkalinity?

Let’s start first with pH.  pH stands for power of hydrogen or potential of hydrogen.  Either way, it’s a measurement of the hydrogen ion concentration in the body.  It’s measured on a scale of 0-14, with 7.0 being neutral.  Anything above 7.0 is alkaline and anything below 7.0 is acidic.  But why does this matter?

Dr. Arthur C. Guyton wrote about this in 1956 in his Textbook of Medical Physiology so this isn’t a new concept.  He writes, “The first step in maintaining health is to alkalize the body. This is the most important aspect of Homeostasis.  The cells of a healthy body are alkaline while the cells of a diseased body are below a pH of 7.3. The more acidic the cell, the sicker we become. If the body cannot alkalize the cells, they will become acidic and thus, disease sets in. All cells in the human body will die in the 3.5 pH range (Due to the inability to receive and use Oxygen). Our bodies produce acid as a bi-product of normal metabolism. Since our bodies do not manufacture alkalinity, we must supply alkalinity from an outside source to keep us from becoming acidic and dying prematurely.”

The pH ScalepH scale

OK, most of us learned about the pH scale in biology or chemistry and it didn’t really mean anything to us.  I could never remember which side was acidic and which was alkaline.  If you think about it in terms of the body’s ability to carry oxygen, it begins to make sense.  The more acidic the cells, the less oxygen they can carry and the lower the number on the scale.

In reality the pH scale is a logarithmic scale. This means, for every point it moves, the pH changes by a factor of ten. So if we start at 7, which is neutral, and the pH moves to say 8, that liquid will be ten times more alkaline than the distilled water at 7. If the pH is 9, it means that it is ten times ten or 100 times more alkaline than water. This naturally also holds true for the Acid side of the scale. So the further the pH moves away from seven, the more Acidic or Alkaline that product will be. We also know that if a liquid is acidic, it is not able to carry oxygen. The more acidic it is the less Oxygen it carries. On the other hand the more alkaline a liquid is, the more Oxygen it will carry.

So, what is a healthy pH?  You might think (because that’s what I would think) that the more alkaline the body is the more oxygen it can carry and hence, we should aim for the highest number possible.  However, if you consider that drain cleaner has a pH of 14, you would see that it wouldn’t be good for your body to be that alkaline.  The recommended pH is slightly alkaline at 7.2-7.4.

How do you test your pH?

That’s pretty easy.  Simply find some pH test strips for saliva or urine.  These are not the same as what you would use to test the chemicals in your swimming pool or aquarium.  The best time to test is first thing in the morning after you haven’t urinated for several hours and before you eat anything.  I’ve found the urine test to be more accurate than saliva.

As I stated above, the pH scale is logarithmic.  When I began testing my pH, I was at 6.0.  My first thought was that it was pretty close to 7 so I’m doing pretty good.  But when I found out that it was ten times more acidic than recommended, that caught my attention.  So I went to work on becoming more alkaline.

Why you might care

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had relatives and friends die of diseases that could have been potentially avoided.  I’m not a doctor and I don’t even play one on TV, but if the cells of a diseased body are acidic and a healthy body is alkaline, then I want to be alkaline.  Do I know for a fact that my mother might not have died of cancer if her body had been alkaline?  No.  But am I going to reduce my chances of getting a disease by becoming alkaline, especially if I can do so easily?  Heck yes!

Let’s take a look at some of the worst foods for inflammation:food_ph_scale+acidity+alkaline+diet+health+coach+coffee+tea+soda+cheese+dairy+chicken+vegetables+acid+base+nutrition+frugal+nutritious+best+nutritionist+boston+dietitian

  1. Sugar
  2. Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
  3. White bread
  4. Cheeseburgers
  5. Alcohol
  6. Milk
  7. Gluten

You might notice that most of these foods that cause inflammation are at the bottom of the pH scale.  They are very acidic.

What are some diseases that are associated with inflammation?

  1. Asthma (and all allergies)
  2. Peptic ulcer
  3. Rheumatoid Arthritisarthritic hands
  4. Crohn’s disease
  5. Periodontitis
  6. Autoimmune diseases and many many more.

Inflammation serves a purpose, but when it gets out of hand it causes pain, heat, swelling, redness and immobility.  Many of the health issues that we suffer from today are caused by chronic acidity and inflammation.  Why suffer when you don’t have to?

The solution

All you have to do is eat more alkaline foods than you do acidic foods.  Simple, right?  If it’s so simple then why are most of us acidic?  Because we are used to a Western diet of hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, bread, coffee, beer and sugar.  What is a red blooded American citizen to do?  You can start by eating your vegetables, or drinking your vegetables.  You can read more about that by clicking here.

I’ll get into more ways for you to become alkaline in the next article.  Until then, eat your vegetables and drink plenty of water.

here's to you





Here’s to you!

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