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Alkaline vs. Acidic Foods: What This Means To You

Fitday Editor

pH (potential of hydrogen) is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. The pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14--the lower the pH the more acidic the solution, the higher the pH the more alkaline (or base) the solution. When a body is healthy, the pH of blood is 7.4, the pH of urine is 7.4, and the pH of saliva is 7.4. The pH of saliva or urine parallels the extra cellular fluid. Certain areas of the body should be more acidic than others - such as the stomach. Other areas should be more on the alkaline side. When testing the urine or saliva with pH paper sticks, aim for a level of 7.4.

The foods we eat are digested and they break down into either an acid or an alkaline end-product in our tissues. This end-product is called the ash and is what remains in the body after the food has been broken down. Foods that produce an alkaline ash are called alkaline forming food whereas those producing acid ash are called acid-forming foods.

The body needs both types of foods. However alkaline forming food should predominate over acid forming ones. Everyone is different, but for most, the ideal diet is 75 percent alkalizing and 25 percent acidifying foods by volume.

Meat, sugars, eggs, dairy, most grains, white flour and carbonated beverages are acid forming. Drugs are acid forming. Artificial chemical sweeteners like NutraSweet, Equal, or Aspartame, are extremely acid-forming. Fresh fruits and vegetables are alkaline forming to help your body produce and maintain a healthy pH balance.

Generally speaking, most individuals are overly acidic, which can become a dangerous condition that weakens all body systems. An internal environment more on the acidic side is conducive to disease, as bugs, viruses, bacteria and inflammation all thrive in an acidic environment. A pH-balanced environment, on the other hand, allows for normal, healthy body functioning necessary to resist disease.

When an acidic environment exists, it forces the body to borrow the electrolyte minerals- calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium - from the blood, vital organs and bones to buffer or neutralize the acid so it can be safely removed from the body.

Studies have shown that heavy consumers of soft drinks (with or without sugar) use up large amounts of calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals in order to buffer the acid contained in soft drinks. The more mineral loss, the greater the risk for osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and a long list of degenerative diseases including cancer.

A food's acid or alkaline-forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the actual pH of the food itself. For example: Though lemons, limes, and grapefruits are chemically acid, tests show that when they are metabolized in the body they actually have an alkalizing effect and are very beneficial. Likewise, meat will test alkaline before digestion but it leaves very acidic residue in the body so, like nearly all animal products, meat is very acid-forming.

Alkalizing the body fluids (raising pH) is one of the single most important health regeneration benefits available as disease causing microforms (fungi, bacteria, virus, cancer, etc.) cannot survive in an alkaline oxygenated environment.

Barbara Bates is a Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner, Registered Orthomolecular Health Practitioner, Certified Personal Trainer, Reiki Practitioner and CancerGuide. She holds a Masters Degree of Applied Science in Holistic Nutrition and runs a wellness practice in Canada. Barbara is specifically trained in diagnosing and correcting the underlying root cause of health concerns rather than treating the symptoms and her nutrition services are offered over the internet to assist those in all areas of the world. To contact Barbara, please visit You can email her at [email protected]. She can be reached via email at [email protected].

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