Every day, we are confronted with obstacles that threaten to compromise our health, such as toxins, chemicals, pollution, bacteria, germs and viruses. Plus, we do things that are harmful to our own health like having poor eating habits, smoking, being stressed out, drinking alcohol, not exercising, etc. All these things can adversely affect our pH levels and our health.
What is pH?
PH stands for "potential hydrogen." Generally speaking, pH is the measurement of the acidity and alkalinity of the body.
PH is a scale that measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is. The scale ranges from 1 to 14 with 1 being very acid, 7 neutral and 14 very alkaline. The pH of your blood is extremely important. The ideal blood pH level is right around 7.35 and your body goes to great lengths to maintain this level, and for good reason. If your blood pH were to vary just 1 or 2 points in either direction, it would change the electrical chemistry in your body and you would die.
How important is it to balance your pH level?
Your pH is one of the most important elements affecting your health and bodily functions. In fact, pH influences every physiological activity in the body, including metabolism, digestion, pain, and healing, just to name a few. The speed of all biological and electrical reactions is regulated by pH. For example, when the body is more acidic, electrical resistance lowers, hence electricity moves faster. Conversely, the more alkaline the body is, the slower electricity moves in the body. Also, the more acidic the blood, the quicker your body wants to get rid of the acidity, so your breaths may be quicker and shallower.
Additionally, certain digestive enzymes that breakdown foods are dependent on a specific pH range to function properly. Therefore, the pH of your stomach and intestines determines the rate and quality of digestion and absorption of nutrients. Ideally, saliva and urine pH levels should baseline just below neutral (7.0), in a slight acidic range to optimize digestive enzymes, limit bacterial and viral growth, and yield the greatest health benefits.
While most body fluids should maintain an alkaline pH, the colon is an exception, as it is designed to maintain an acid pH (5.5 to 6.9) and is host to the vast majority of our bacteria, both friendly and unfriendly. Friendly bacteria must predominate in the colon, but antibiotics and chlorinated water destroy friendly bacteria, causing damage to the colon wall, allowing bacteria and parasites to seep into the blood. An insufficient amount of friendly bacterium in the colon leads to yeast overgrowth, or Candida.
The goal is to balance your pH level so all your vital organs, bodily systems and processes will function properly so you can enjoy good digestion, optimal health and longevity.
What influences pH levels?
Many things influence pH, including the foods you eat, exercise, quality of sleep, stress, proper elimination of acids from your system, the amount of water you drink each day, even your attitudes and how you think.
With today’s hectic and often unhealthy lifestyles, our bodies can quickly become toxic from eating too many processed foods and fast foods, being stressed out, and having negative thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. It’s key to balance your pH level because it’s required for optimal bodily functions, to improve healing and to lower your risk of health problems.
How to balance your pH level?
Your body has an incredible built-in system to automatically balance your pH level within a very tight range. Homeostasis, the ability to keep pH within this normal range is controlled through physiological feedback mechanisms that come from the blood, lungs, kidneys, and diet. This feedback tells the brain and body to release substances to raise pH when if drops too low, and to release substances to lower pH if it gets too high. Eating low-acidic, high-alkaline foods can also affect your saliva and urine pH levels.
What foods are acidic?
Here are just some acidic foods, but there are many more: coffee, teas, sport drinks, candy, white bread, donuts, cookies, cakes, crackers, most pastas, rolls and breakfast cereals; all dairy products, including milk, ice cream, yogurt, cheese and cottage cheese; all animal flesh foods, including beef, chicken, pork, and lamb; chocolate; and soft drinks, which are the most acidic items we consume.
Since everything we eat or drink has a pH value, it’s easy to see how everything we consume can directly affect the acidity or alkalinity of our bodies, and thus affect our health.
Too much acid in your diet causes physical breakdown
An incredibly large number of physical problems and health conditions are linked to consuming large amounts of acidic substances. Unfortunately, most of the foods being consumed today are acidic, especially foods in the Standard American Diet (SAD).
A diet high in acidifying substances puts pressure on the body’s regulatory systems which were designed to maintain proper pH in all body fluids. When excess acidic foods and drinks are consumed, it strips the body of important alkalizing minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, etc., in an effort to neutralize the acidity. Without these important minerals in vital organs, especially the bones, it can lead to chronic and degenerative health problems like osteoporosis and acidosis. And acidosis can result in a long list of other physical breakdowns and ailments.
How do I test my pH levels?
PH can be tested by a blood, urine or saliva test. Due to accessibility and convenience, urine and saliva are the easiest test methods, and you can do it yourself at home. All you need are strips of pH litmus paper and a pH chart.
Healthy blood pH is considered around 7.4, or slightly alkaline. Urine and saliva pH levels usually have a range lower in the acidic range of 6.4 to 6.7. The two best times to test your pH is first thing in the morning and again at night, although readings any time of the day can still be telling. When you test your pH levels, it’s a good idea to record your results in a log book or journal.