Did you have a burger and milkshake for lunch today? Did one of those giant coffee concoctions load with syrups and whipped cream land on your desk? It’s okay—this is a judgment-free zone. However, it’s smart to help your body balance out its pH, especially after overindulging.
Recent studies have shown that consuming a high acidic foods diet could increase your risk for diabetes and damage your liver and kidneys. There’s been a lot of talk about alkalinity vs. acidity lately; let’s break it down slightly.
What is pH?
Defined as “potential for hydrogen,” pH is measured on a scale from 0 to 14. Zero represents the most acidic, fourteen is the most alkaline, and seven is neutral. Acidic is bad, but an overly alkaline diet bad as well.
The human body functions best when pH levels are 7.4, slightly on the alkaline side of neutral. To maintain optimal health, you need to create balance, which is not hard to do with a little guidance.
Our pH level indicates the hydrogen in our saliva, urine, and blood. Dissolved acid creates hydrogen, so the higher the hydrogen concentration, the more acidic the solution (i.e., bodily fluid) is; this yields a lower number on the pH scale.
Don’t worry; you need not go out and have a pH test done. The odds are that if you’re consuming a typical American diet, you need more alkaline foods.
Which foods increase acid?
Soda, coffee, meat, and alcoholic drinks all increase acidity. Sugar and toxic artificial sweeteners are also extremely acidic. If you’re consuming many of these foods, try to ease up and maybe even cut them out completely. For example, I view soda and coffee as treats I have only a few times a year.
Observe how you feel after a meal that’s loaded with meat or sugar; you might be surprised at how crummy you feel when you pay attention. You’re likely addicted to some of these foods, but it is possible to wean yourself off them. It’s never too late to make a few simple, healthy changes.
Which foods are alkaline?
Collard greens, coconut, flax, quinoa, and millet are all alkaline foods. Cabbage, spinach, Brussels sprouts, almonds, fresh herbs, most herbal teas, and garlic also increase alkalinity. Its better to eat more plants and consume as few processed foods and sweets as possible.
Alkaline foods are anti-inflammatory and will not create disease and imbalance. It would help if you consumed a well-rounded diet that contains more alkaline than acidic foods. A quick Google search for “alkaline foods” is a good way to find suggestions on what to add to your fridge (the crisper in particular!).
Where the heck do I begin?
As you may have gathered, I’m a big fan of balance. The bottom line is that I’m not advocating a new diet or routine. Consuming more vegetables, less sugar, and processed foods isn’t as hard as you think. Print out one of the many alkaline food charts available for free online and stick it on your refrigerator. Better still, save it on your phone and refer to it the next time you hit the grocery store or farmers market.
Adding lots of fresh, leafy greens and real, whole ingredients to your diet won’t leave room for all of the bad stuff. Resist the allure of prepackaged, frozen meals and fast food. You’ll feel better fast when you welcome pH-balancing foods into your life.