The acid-alkaline balance in all of the fluids and cells of your body is highly important to overall health and well being.
Your body will function more efficiently when it is slightly alkaline, even though most metabolic functions are acid producing.
Thus, body alkalinity is needed to neutralize acidic wastes to prevents them from damaging healthy tissues and organs.
Your blood pH should be slightly acidic, between 7.35 and 7.40. Your body will do whatever it needs to do to keep the blood within that pH range.
If your overall body pH is highly acidic, the body will steal alkalizing minerals from bones or teeth to maintain normal blood pH. Even a slight variation in blood pH can cause serious illness.
An imbalanced acid condition in the body is referred to as acidosis. In general, people who have acidosis in the body are more likely to be sick.
Mild acidosis can cause one or more of the following symptoms:
There are many potential causes of acidosis, but it is most often caused by an unhealthy lifestyle.
Common contributors to acidosis include:
In the most simplistic terms, the best way to make your body more alkaline and to keep it free of acidic waste is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
It also means increasing the amount of alkaline foods (mainly vegetables and some fruits) while decreasing acid-forming foods, such as processed foods, fast foods, excess animal protein, breads and grains, and foods that contain refined sugars.
Reduce your exposure to environmental pollutants by eating organic foods whenever possible, avoiding all GMO foods, and drinking filtered water.
Do whatever it takes to minimize stress in your life. Remember that everyone experiences stressful situations on a regular basis, but it’s how we think about a situation that determines how it affects our biology. Practice deep breathing, meditation, long walks, laugh more, or do whatever gives you a more positive perspective.
Moderate exercise is health promoting and can help your body get rid of acidic waste and maintain a balanced pH. However, extreme or excessive exercise is highly acid forming. Thus, extreme athletes, for example, would do well to drink an abundance of fresh vegetable juices on a regular basis to help excess acidity.
Western scientists have told us that when foods are metabolized (or burned) in the body, they are either acid forming or alkaline forming.
Thus, just because a fruit or vegetable is acidic does not necessarily mean it will be acid forming.
For example, lemons are acidic, but when digested they leave an alkaline “ash” in the body and are thus one of the more alkalizing foods.
In addition, many acid-forming vegetables are effective at cleansing the body of acid wastes.
For example, the juices of beets and carrots, which contain a high percentage of acid-forming phosophorous and sulphur, are very effective for removing acid wastes from the bladder, kidneys, and liver.
Alkaline minerals (such as magnesium, potassium and sodium) found in foods like lettuce, endive and dandelions are also effective at reducing over acidity in all organs of the body.
So, the fact is that both acid-forming and alkaline-forming fresh foods are needed to effectively remove acidic wastes from the body.
I believe there is no such thing as the best diet for alkalinity because how foods metabolize in our bodies could be based on several factors, including one’s blood type, metabolic type, ancestral diet, mental and emotional disposition, lifestyle, digestive health, and other specific conditions.
In addition, there are several populations known for their longevity who have predominantly acidic diets, such as the macrobiotic diet. Even though the macrobiotic diet is based on acid-alkaline balance, the primary staple of the diet is brown rice, which is acid-forming.
According to Felicia D. Kliment, author of The Acid-Alkaline Balance Diet:
“The amount of enzymes, bile, hydrochloric acid, and other metabolites the body manufactures for the breakdown of nutrients is not determined by the acid-alkaline blood pH, but by the particular foods that sustained the individual’s ancestors for thousands of years.”
Kliment states that the “best way to present the digestive system with the kinds of food molecules it is capable of breaking down is for each person to eat the same kind of dietary staple as his or her ancestors. Individuals whose ancestors were primarily meat eaters should make meat the staple of their diet.
"Those whose ancestors ate a lot of fish as well as meat should eat fish two or three times a week, while individuals of Asian descent benefit from following the grain-eating traditions of their cultures.”
The acid-alkaline balance in the body is important and it is largely determined by lifestyle.
Food, pollutants, stress, exercise, and attitude all contribute to pH balance in the body.
Diet is a major factor, but there is no one-size-fits-all alkalizing diet. In general, eating an abundance and a variety of fresh (preferably organic) vegetables is the foundation of a good diet for almost everyone.
Vegetables are the most alkaline-forming foods and many of the acid-forming vegetables are also highly effective at removing acid waste from the body, so we need a variety of both.
I believe it is helpful to determine your ancestral diet if you don’t already know so that you are at least aware of which foods might be more compatible with your own biochemistry.
You can find free metabolic typing tests (Dr. William D. Kelley) or free nutritional typing tests (Dr. Mercola) online.
I have also found it beneficial to consider your blood type and the recommended foods for each blood type (Dr. D’Adamo).
However, once you have at least a general idea of your ancestral or metabolic type (and its never a perfect analysis), you still have to pay attention to how you feel when you eat certain foods. And more specifically, how well you digest them.
The bottom line is that we have to be scientists in the laboratory of our own bodies to determine the healthiest diet and lifestyle to maintain optimal acid-alkaline balance.
Felicia Drury Kliment; The Acid Alkaline Balance Diet; 2002.