To maintain good health, the chemistry of the human body requires a balanced pH level. 7.0 is neutral. Low pH, 6.8 or less is in the acidic range, and is considered unhealthy. The human body is apt to be slightly acidic. In an acidic state, the body becomes prone to chronic illnesses such as gout, arthritis, kidney stones, cancer, and more. An improper diet, medications, lifestyle, and stress can contribute to acidosis. This condition is far more common than its inverse – alkalosis. When alkalosis occurs, it is often attributed to excessive intake of sodium bicarbonate, used in the treatment of peptic ulcers, etc. Health experts suggest striving to maintain a slightly alkaline pH ranging from 7.2 to 7.5.
Test Your Body pH
The alkalinity and acidity of our bodies can be easily measured at home. pH test strips are available from online and local health food stores. Self-testing is usually done first thing in the morning, before drinking or eating anything. It involves applying saliva or urine to a strip of pH test paper. The color of the test paper is compared to the pH color chart that comes with the test kit. Once you’ve determined if your body chemistry is too acidic or too alkaline, you can determine which foods you should eat to help reach a healthy pH.
Eat your way to a healthy body pH
The foods, beverages, supplements, and medications we consume have a mildly, moderately, or highly acid-forming effect when ingested, or they can have the opposite effect and be mildly, moderately, or highly alkaline-forming. Highly acidic foods not only alter our body pH, but are inflammatory. To reach a healthier level, it is important to eat a variety of whole, nutritious foods instead of processed, refined foods. When your body pH is overly acidic, reducing the consumption of highly acid-producing foods, and increasing your daily intake of alkaline-forming foods should help you achieve a healthy pH.
Highly Acid-Forming Foods: alcohol, artificial sweeteners, black tea, cocoa, coffee, corn, cranberries, legumes, lentils, meat, milk, oatmeal, plums, shellfish, soft drinks, sugar and sugary foods, refined grains, wheat flour and wheat-based products: bread, noodles, pasta, and pizza.
Aspirin, tobacco, and most drugs are also acid-forming.
Alkaline-Forming Foods: almonds, apples, avocados, most berries, citrus, coconut, dates, and most fresh fruits, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, onions, spinach, lettuce, greens and most fresh vegetables, Himalayan sea salt, sprouts, sprouted bread and wraps, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and non-dairy almond milk.
In addition to eating alkaline-producing foods, you can help reduce an acid pH imbalance by consuming these beverages.
• Mix one teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it to neutralize the acidity of your body.
• Start your morning with a large glass of purified water with fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt.
• Drink a green drink with a pinch of sea salt.
• Proprietary mineral blends in ionized water are available from natural health sources to balance your pH. Add drops of the convenient liquid supplement to your beverages.
Have you tested your pH?
Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.