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Over the past few years alkalizing has become more of a well known term, especially to those following natural health and healthy diets. Alkalizing your body is really quite simple and can be done by making a few changes to your diet.
The chart above shows the pH scale of foods that are highly alkalizing, those that are near neutral, and those that are acidic (opposite of alkalizing).
What is Alkalizing?
To learn more about alkalizing you have to look at the two extremes of the spectrum. On one end you have alkalizing and the other is acidic. There are also substances which are neither alkalizing or acidic which are called neutral. The pH scale measures how acidic or alkalizing a substance is. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of higher than 7 is alkalizing (also called basic). A pH less than 7 is acidic and a pH of 7 is considered neutral.
pH stands for “potential hydrogen”. pH is defined as “the measurement of electrical resistance between negative and positive ions in the body”. Positive ions are acid forming and negative ions are alkalizing. The pH measurement looks at how the ions push against one another.
What pH Should Our Bodies Have? How Much Alkalizing is Needed?
In order for our bodies to maintain the best living environment , the optimal level is close to 7.4. This is at a slightly alkalizing state. Although, 7.36 to 7.44 is also an acceptable range.
In order for blood to effectively, act as a medium for oxygen and other vital nutrients, the pH needs to be close to this specific range. Deviations too far in either over direction of alkalizing or being too acidic can be harmful. However, typically due to the average American diet most individuals are overly acidic and are not concerned or aware of the importance of alkalizing. Really, a balance of these two ends of spectrum (alkalizing and acidic) is key!
Our bodies contain alkaline reserves and will fight to re-balance any deviations of fluctuating levels. However, the reserves are limited and in order to keep them intact it is important to eat the right kinds of foods which are alkalizing. The excess of the alkali from the alkalizing foods can be stored to neutralize acids in the future.
Why Do People Become Overly Acidic?
Well, it’s not just diet that causes an imbalance and a need for alkalizing. Even though most tissues in our body are alkaline in nature, our bodies creates acid which needs to be neutralized. This occurs from using muscles, breathing, and digesting certain foods.
Problems with Being too Acidic
Most individuals in the US do not eat diets that are alkalizing, instead they eat deadly diets high in conventional produced animal products, grains, refined foods, processed foods, carbohydrates, and sugars. Diets containing these foods can produce about 100mEq of acid per day. This amount of acid is nearly twice what the body can handle. Without alkalizing the body needs to take vital minerals in order to neutralize the acid.
Why Alkalizing is Important!
Having too many acid-forming foods and not enough alkalizing foods can cause serious health consequences. When the body does not have sufficient alkalizing substances and is overly acidic, the body will take from the bones or vital tissues . This is very damaging and impairs the body’s ability to repair or detoxify and will cause a person to be more susceptible to disease and illness.
Having acidic conditions and not alkalizing can cause negative effects such as: acne, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, low immune system, weak hair and nails, trouble losing weight, trouble gaining weight, and allergies.
There are also many more serious conditions which can occur from acidic conditions such as yeast and bacteria thriving in the digestive track, cancer cells thriving in acidic environments, yet have been shown to perish when alkalizing. All our organs and glands can be influenced by our pH level including; heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, thyroid, colon, kidneys, etc.
What foods are alkalizing?
Fresh vegetables and fruits are some of the most highly alkalizing to the body.
Top 7 Alkalizing foods:
#1 – Lemons – Lemons are one of the most alkalizing, a great way to start the day is with a glass of lukewarm water with a fresh squeezed lemon or lime.
#2- Leafy greens– Greens such as: kale, swiss chard, spinach, and turnip greens are very alkalizing for your body and also are packed with rich vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
# 3– Root vegetables such as radishes (black, red or white), beets, rutabaga, horseradish, carrots, and turnips are all highly alkalizing.
# 4– Cucumbers and Celery – These are some of the most alkalizing foods you can eat. They quickly neutralize acids and aid in digestion.
# 5– Garlic – Garlic is not only highly alkalizing it is also very important for overall health as it boosts the immune system, is antibacterial and anti-fungal. Raw garlic is even more beneficial, see my post on the importance of raw garlic in your diet.
# 6– Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and cabbage.
# 7- Avocados – Are also at the top of the list of alkalizing foods. You can see my recent post on the health benefits of avocados and how to ripen avocados. Avocados contain high amounts of essential vitamins, fatty acids, and amino acids.