Friday, April 2, 2010

Acid-Alkaline Balance for Optimal Health

The acid-base balance of the body is critical to optimal health. Diet and nutrition play a key role in this balance, and if the body is not able to compensate for an unbalanced diet, the body’s internal environment becomes compromised and eventually cells fail to thrive, thus leading the body to a diseased state. When the body is in an acidic state, the alkaline biochemical buffers are less able to maintain the blood’s healthy pH of 7.4. Our systems compensate for this by depositing excess acid substances into the tissues and joints. This is one reason many believe that acidity leads to arthritis.

The pH scale goes from 0-14 with the number 7 representing the ideal balance between acid and alkaline substances. With greater acidity in the body, the number becomes smaller. With greater alkalinity in the body, the number becomes larger. The zone of optimal health extends only from pH 7.36 to pH 7.42. Illness will typically accompany any occurrence of acidosis or alkalosis. Of all the factors that cause acidosis, the most important is unquestionably food. Foods are classified as basically acid or alkaline, not according to their taste, but to the residue left after they have been metabolized in the body.

America’s diet is heavily based in acidifying foods. Wheat, oats, white rice, refined flour, refined sugar, strawberries, pomegranates, meat, poultry, cold cuts, fish, eggs, cheese, butter, whole and refined grains, bread, pasta, cereal flakes, pecans, peanuts, soybeans, white sugar, sweets, cashews, sodas, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine, mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard. These are all examples of acidifying foods. In contrast, alkalizing foods consist mostly of green and colored vegetables. They also entail most fruits, millet, buckwheat, sprouted beans, sprouted seeds, olive oil, and soaked almonds.

For a system that does not get too acidic, the diet should contain about 70% alkaline foods-one that focuses on fruits and vegetables, with some whole grains, sprouts, and smaller amounts of animal foods and refined foods. Drinking large amounts of water on a daily basis can also be a highly effective way to de-acidify the body.

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