In discussions of health, very rarely do we hear about pH balance from doctors and other “authorities.” You might be reading this and not even understand what pH balance has to do with health at all either.
This is one of the examples of how modern day medicine is failing the people it’s supposed to be taking care of.
Everything in our bodies is chemistry.
In that regard, everything is continually kept in a sublime chemical balance, with a pH of around 7.4. This means, first and foremost, that we are slightly alkaline and this is our optimal state. This also should tell you that foods and substances that have an acidic pH when metabolized may be dangerous to sustained health over long periods of time.
We know that water (H2O) decomposes into hydrogen ions (H+) and hydroxyl ions (OH-). When a solution contains more hydrogen ions than hydroxyl ions, then it is said to be acid. When it contains more hydroxyl ions than hydrogen ions, it is therefore alkaline. As you may have guessed, a pH of 7.4 is neutral because it contains equal amounts of hydrogen ions and hydroxyl ions.
Our blood must always maintain a pH of approximately 7.4 so that it can continue to transport oxygen.
We have evolved to be able to adapt and constantly regulate ourselves in order to keep a proper balance and function as nature intended. The primary method our bodies use to buffer acidic substances is with the minerals from our own bones, which are alkaline. Our mineral reserves are what our cells use to keep us at a constant alkaline state. Without a constant influx of alkaline nutrients, obviously, we would become extremely sickly and toxic.
When this system reaches overload and we are depleted of reserves, the excess acids are dumped into the tissues. As more and more acid is accumulated, our tissues begin to deteriorate. The acid wastes oxidize the veins and arteries and begin to destroy cell walls and organs. Having an acidic pH is like driving your car with a nearly empty tank of gas. Your intake is going to be slurping up the stale gas, gunk, detritus, and filth at the bottom of your tank, so while your car may still be running, the system is slowly being compromised.
As is revealed with biochemistry, when the blood becomes acidic, the body deposits acidic substances into cells to remove them from the blood. This allows the blood to remain marginally alkaline.
However, it causes the cells to become acidic and toxic. Over the course of several years however, many of these cells increase in acidity and can even die. However, some of these acidified cells adapt to the new environment. In other words, instead of dying (as normal cells do in an acidic environment) some cells survive by becoming abnormal cells.
These abnormal cells are what we would call cancer: they have officially adapted to a new bodily condition that is technically “anti-you” (cancer works against you, not in concert with the rest of your cells).
Acidic bodily environments create unnatural alien conditions inside your body. The result is that you will begin to harbor cells that aren’t even “you” anymore…because the inside of your body is becoming a battleground and your own cells are losing territory. This is the price of an acidic pH balance.
Putting too much acid in your body is not unlike living in a smog-infested city. With increasingly bad air conditions, life may tick on with the appearance of normality but you are slowly suffocating. Your body is breaking down, and only removing yourself from the situation can really fix the problem.
How to Maintain an Alkaline State
Diet is the key to health for several reasons, not least of which because it’s the deciding factor in whether you have an alkaline pH or not. Your dietary choices have consequences for your health, there’s just no getting around this.
So how do you maintain an alkaline state? The easiest bit of advice is to simply eat a whole food plant-based diet, which is about as close to our natural intended diet as you’re going to get.
A vegan diet accomplishes a healthy alkaline state as well as long as you don’t indulge in too much processed food.
If you’re wondering what you can incorporate into your diet to directly buffer any acidity and create a more holistic alkaline environment, start here: most raw vegetables and fruits, figs, lima beans, olive oil, molasses, apple cider vinegar, miso, tempeh, stevia, green tea, most herbs, sprouted grains, and sprouts.
You want to limit your intake of acidic foods as much as possible if you’re concerned at all about your health and especially if you are concerned about cancer. This includes sodas, coffee, alcohol, processed chocolate, tobacco, aspartame, other sweeteners, meats, shellfish, fish, eggs, chicken, pasteurized milk, overly processed grains, refined sugar, peanut butter, beans, and pasta.
Pasta and beans, while having a net acidic effect, are not nearly as bad for you as say, red meat or soda. The nutrients in beans, for example, are welcome by the body and should be eaten regularly. In nature, it’s normal for animals like us to consume a diet of roughly 80% alkaline and 20% acid forming foods: this is the sweet spot. The problem is, in our society this can be as much as 50/50 if not the exact reverse.
Imagine wondering why you are unhealthy, yet eating 80% acid forming foods and only 20% alkaline? If you think about it though, that is the perfect description of the modern American diet. 80% soda, burgers, chips, hotdogs, steak, hoagies, processed grain, candy, cheese, milk, sweeteners, corn syrup, coffee, and alcohol, and only 20% side-salads, the occasional banana, bit of whole grain rice, and some steamed broccoli with dinner. You cannot maintain bodily balance with that ratio of food. It’s nearly impossible.
The next step to take after making a conscious decision to change your diet, is to supplement with the right minerals. If you are eating a completely balanced plant-based diet, this isn’t technically necessary, but for most Americans who are vitamin and mineral deficient, supplements can be a smart choice if you know which ones to take.
Calcium, Magnesium, and Zinc
Three of the most important alkaline minerals for sustained bodily pH balance and bone health. As we consume acidic foods, our cells are tasked with having to neutralize these acids and keep us in an alkaline state. They most often do this be “leeching” minerals from our bones, especially calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are highly naturally alkaline. The most important factor in getting enough calcium is to make sure you are getting it from a plant-based source, because that’s what we evolved to digest and utilize. Remember, biology determines diet, not opinion or preference.
You can’t get reliable calcium from milk. No adult animal is designed to drink milk, and calcium is not the reason why baby animals need milk in the first place. Milk is a highly concentrated formula of fat and protein for growing mammals, it is not some kind of “calcium elixir.”
Milk is an acidic substance, especially processed milk. It has a ton of animal protein that our bodies are forced to neutralize by leeching calcium and potassium from the bones in order to maintain equilibrium.
It is for this reason why countries with the highest rates of drinking milk also have the highest rates of bone pain, arthritis, brittle bones, and osteoporosis.
Vitamin D3, and Magnesium
This is an alternate formula which uses Vitamin D3 and other plant-based compounds to supplement and assist bone heath. It also has the beneficial side effect of helping to alkalinize the body.Vitamin D3 (and K2) help maintain the integrity of joints, which take strain off of our bones and help compliment a more holistic bodily balance overall.
Don’t worry about getting enough potassium, there’s plenty in bananas. They should be a go-to food for anyone looking to make their body more alkaline, heal their bones, and improve their health overall. Just make sure to also reduce your sodium levels as well (this happens naturally on a plant-based diet).
Keeping a healthy pH balance is not as hard as it seems, it just means being more conscious of what you eat and supplementing your diet when necessary. Just make sure you are not relying on typical supplements if you go that route, as they are unnatural and acid-forming. You want supplements that are verified to come from plant-based sources, meaning that the nutrients are connected to their requisite phyto-nutrients and plant-based compounds, and the overall effect on your body will be alkaline, not acidic.