Do you remember studying the concepts of acidity and alkalinity from your high school chemistry syllabus and thinking that they would be irrelevant in “real life”? Well, think again. These concepts touch your well-being every day more intimately than you can imagine. Read on to find out how.
There are some standard parameters of good health, which are discernible by the naked eye. Among them are healthy skin, hair, and nails; quick recovery from minor cuts and bruises and relative immunity from the flu every time it’s in the air, and feeling refreshed and energized after a good night’s sleep. However, for most of us living such fast-paced lives, without bothering to keep track of how we nourish our bodies, such simple goals seem almost unattainable. This is because our bodies might contain too much acid. Acid is produced as a byproduct of the breakdown of foods we consume, however, some foods and an inactive lifestyle result in a greater production of acids than others. Our liver and kidneys can get rid of some, but not all the produced acid. As such, the acid circulates in our bloodstreams, and leads some unhappy side effects, like dull and frequently acne-prone skin, hair without volume and luster with aggravated hair fall, fatigue, sluggishness, reduced mental alertness, bloating and indigestion, joint, and muscle aches.
So does your body contain too much acid?
A simple method is to use a litmus paper first thing in the morning to test your saliva and draw conclusions based on the picture below:
Our ideal pH should be slightly alkaline – between 7.30 – 7.45. The more our pH leans towards the acidic side of the pH scale, the greater is the acid circulating with our body fluids, a process known as “Acidosis”. It can lead to a reduced standard of health, and chronic acidosis can even be life-threatening if ignored for too long.
Lifestyle habits that lead to acidosis:
- Poorly controlled diabetes
- Poor hydration
- A diet consisting of high fat, high sugar foods, and processed items and low in fresh, unprocessed foods
- Drinking alcohol
- Lack of exercise
- Too much stress
Some common symptoms are:
- Persistent cough/cold
- Chronic headaches
- Restlessness/mental fog/inability to concentrate
- Joint and muscle aches
- Shortness of breath
- Reduced arousal
The solution – transition to alkalinity
Alkalinity indicates that the tissues in our body are maintaining the ideal pH balance. The tissues in our body are mostly alkaline, except for the stomach. The stomach needs to produce acids to neutralize harmful microbes, which we may have ingested with our food. The stomach is engineered to produce an optimum amount of acid; however, our lifestyle habits can often throw that balance off whack. When that happens, the other tissues in the body try to compensate by shifting that excess acid to other locations in the body. This ensures that our entire body becomes an acidic environment and causes inflammation, which provides a perfect breeding ground for all kinds of diseases.
How do we reverse the damage?
The bad news is that no amount of medications will help, and there are no quick fixes. The good news is that the solution is in our hands. We must remember that we are human beings, and not machines, we have to reduce the hectic pace of our lives and pay attention to what benefit we get from every food item that enters our body. A simple rule of thumb is “If you cannot put it on your face, you cannot put it in your body”. Some non-negotiable steps are:
- Quit smoking, drinking, and caffeine.
- Quit white sugar. Period. This includes artificial sweeteners. One should also be aware that the body breaks down most processed foods to sugar. For a sugar fix, rely on naturally occurring ones such as watermelons, oranges, mangoes, berries, and bananas.
- Eat complex carbohydrates like whole grains, peas, and beans.
- As many helpings of fresh fruits and vegetables as possible. Fresh meaning the ones, which are in season, and not ones, which are frozen. Green leafy vegetables are most recommended.
- Hydrate. Hydrate. Double your previous intake of water.
- Aerobic exercise like running, speed walking, rope jumping, jogging for at least twenty minutes every day.
- Deep breathing and meditation.
Some alkaline foods are:
- Fruits – Apples, tomatoes, pineapple, cherries, strawberries, bananas, grapes, melons, figs, dates, mangoes, papayas, and lemons.
- Vegetables – Corn, mushroom, turnip, olive, soybean, bell peppers, radish, lettuce, celery, peas, sweet potatoes, eggplant, green beans, beets, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, and onions.
When do the effects become apparent?
You should feel like a new being in about two weeks’ time.