Alkalising: The pHacts
Alkaline. That’s just something to do with batteries, right? That’s exactly what I used to think before I got into this whole health business shebang. I never realised that this word actually plays a HUGE part in the overall health and wellbeing of our bodies and is a major contributor to our body’s ability to heal itself.
Alkalising refers to balancing the pH (potential hydrogen) levels of the body. The ideal pH level of the human body should be around 7.35. If this pH level is reached the body will be slightly more alkaline which means it will be in the best position to heal itself and fight disease. On the other hand, if the pH levels are lower, they will be more acidic leading to a body that is a breeding ground for disease, bad bacteria and cancer cells, as a result rendering the body unable to heal itself. Most people who do not eat fruits or vegetables often and drink alcohol, coffee, soft drinks and processed foods regularly, will be more prone to having low alkaline levels.
Good pH or alkaline levels are essential for good health.
Some health issues of a highly acidic body (low PH levels) include but are not limited to:
- weight gain
- upset stomach, poor digestion and bloating
- killing off of good bacteria in the gut – so much of our mental and physical health is linked to our gut health
- trouble sleeping
- bones more prone to break and fracture
- teeth erosion
- low immune system
- decrease the body's ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients
- decrease the body’s ability to detox and discard of heavy metals
How do you know your pH levels?
You can test your pH levels yourself using standard pH strips which are available from most health food stores or on an online store like iherb. Make sure you do a urine test though as testing your saliva can be quite inaccurate.
Food that cause more acidic pH levels:
- red meat
- soy – yep soy is not good for you, it wreaks havoc on your hormones and is a GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) food
- canned fruit
- dairy products
- white grains such as rice and white bread
- processed foods
- soft drinks
- artificial sweeteners
- fruit juice
The 80/20 rule for creating an optimal pH balance
If your body is quite acidic and you want to restore it to a healthy pH level try eating 80% alkaline forming foods with 20% acid forming whole foods. This recipe is the perfect combo of acid and alkaline foods.
Now let’s get into the great benefits of having high alkaline levels in the body:
- high energy levels
- high performing immune system
- less pain and inflammation within the body
- quicker recovery from injury, this is why it is so important for athletes to have healthy alkaline levels.
- glowing skin, healthy hair and nails
- slows down the aging process
- healthier teeth, bones and joints
- lower cholesterol levels
- better digestion
So what else you can do to raise the alkaline levels in your body? These are some of my tips:
- Add more high alkaline foods into your diet each day. Here is a great detailed list of foods that are alkaline and acidic
- Drink chlorophyll – Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in plants and you can buy this in liquid form from most health food stores
- Eat your veggies, especially greens, kale, spinach, broccoli, cucumber, celery. When you are eating kale, broccoli or spinach make sure you lightly steam them first as they can be very harsh on the stomach when eaten raw
- Try adding a tablespoon of fermented vegetables to one or two meals each day. This will not only raise the pH levels in your body but fermented veggies are a great natural probiotic which equals a happy, healthy tummy
- Start adding a fresh cold pressed green juice or a green smoothie to your diet every day or every couple of days. Here is a recipe for celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie. I have this every day and usually make a huge batch every Sunday enough to last me for a week. It will last in the fridge for about 2 days and I freeze the rest and just defrost it when needed
- Drink hot water with half a lemon squeezed into it every morning - this may seem strange as lemon is an acidic fruit, however, once it enters the body it helps to balance the bodies pH levels and helps set up your digestion for the day
- Try and drink around 2L of filtered water a day. You can also buy alkaline water or purchase an alkaline water filter which will help raise your pH levels even more. If you are in Australia there is a great affordable alkaline water brand called Alkalife (Link: http://alkalife.com.au/) that you can purchase at health food stores and some fruit markets. Putting some pink Himalayan salt and lemon in your water will help with raise the alkaline levels as well
- Limit your sugar intake. There are many great tasting, healthy recipe alternatives to your favourite sugary treats out there that use natural sweeteners or a little bit of fruit to sweeten it. I have quite a few recipes like this on my blog.
- Reduce stress by doing EFT, yoga, deep breathing or meditation as stress can cause the body’s acid levels to rise.
This may seem like a lot to take in and a lot to do all at once but try not to stress too much about it (don’t want to get your acidic levels rising) just try implementing one or two of these tips to start with and you will still notice an improvement in your health. The most important thing is to make sure you are adding fresh vegetables into your diet everyday and eating food closest to its natural form.