We show you how to feel great by making more alkaline choices
Many of us haven’t given much thought to acids and alkalines all that much since we were dipping litmus papers into solutions during our school science classes. Hopefully you were paying attention in those classes, because it’s time to revisit pH levels and understand why they are so important for our health.
As you might remember, pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline something is. For our bodies, the pH balance is essential. Our blood needs to stay at a slightly alkaline level, and we can help it to keep things in balance by making sure we eat more alkaline-forming foods and fewer acid-forming foods.
You might be thinking, “Simple, I’ll skip that twist of lemon in my martini” but acid-forming foods don’t work like that. Lemons are acidic in that they contain citric acid, but our kidneys are the real judges when it comes to whether the nutrients in our food are deemed acid vs. alkaline. When nutrients in foods make their way to our kidneys they either produce ammonium (which is acidic) or bicarbonate (alkaline). Here’s the interesting part: Fish, meats, cheese, eggs, and grains are all considered acidic. Vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts and seeds are considered alkaline, so you might want to rethink that lemon.
It’s not just the foods we eat that affect the pH balance of our blood. Apart from diet, stress levels and excessive exercise (yes, exercise) can increase the acidic level of your body.
What does an off-balance pH balance mean for our health & wellbeing?
When we’re chowing down on acid-forming foods, our body needs to release alkaline-rich minerals so that it can bring things back into balance. If we’re feeding ourselves with enough alkaline-forming foods then it just grabs those minerals from our diets. But if that’s not the case, our body takes these minerals (calcium, phosphorus and magnesium) from where it can find them: our bones, teeth and organs. The main worry is that this compromises our bone health, immune system, and makes us more vulnerable to viruses and disease.
Tips & Hints: What can we do to keep our pH in balance?
Step away from the acid-forming foods: Start by introducing more clean, unprocessed and “living” foods which are naturally alkaline-forming. Here are ten foods to eat and avoid:
Avocados (1 a day! They’re great!)
Dark leafy vegetables
Nut butters (except peanut)
Processed meats (e.g. bacon, sausages)
High fructose corn syrup
Fruit juice from concentrate
Calm the carbs: Reduce your reliance on carbohydrates for energy and look to healthy fats instead, which is the preferred and most readily used source of energy for the body.
Don’t be a perfectionist, but go extreme: Why not try going “extreme” for a month on alkaline-rich foods to get your body back in balance? Afterwards, start reintroducing some “preferred” foods. As a general rule, aim for 80% success: nobody’s perfect.
It’ll get easier: Remember, at first making the change will be difficult but once the body has made a shift away from the cycle of acid, sugar and refined carbs you’ll start to find things easier.
Keep the nutrients in: Whenever possible try to steam your food, or eat it raw, to keep a high level of nutrient content.
Our favourite ways to make sure we’re staying alkaline:
If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve put together a list of “helpers.” These are some small things you can start changing or incorporating into your daily routine to help make sure your pH balance in balance.
A morning brew: Enjoy an alkalizing morning brew that flushes the system. When you wake up squeeze half an unwaxed organic lemon into a pint of half boiling, half cold, water. Try to not to eat anything for 30 minutes after drinking.
A different kind of shot: Go crazy with a shot of raw apple cider vinegar first thing. Mix two teaspoons in a glass of water and knock it back. Have one after your morning lemon water and another 30 minutes before you eat lunch or dinner.
Wheatgrass: Get hold of some powdered wheatgrass sachets. Ideally take 1-2 sachets per day with water (one in the morning and one at lunchtime). Freshly juiced wheatgrass is even better if you can manage the pungent taste.
Green Smoothies: One of our favourite ways to sip our alkalines. Aim for 70% vegetable content and boost the flavour with an apple or another fruit that’s on the low/average sugar-content side.
Get the blood pumping: Enjoy some aerobic exercise outdoors. Aim for at least 30 minutes (running is the best, build it up gradually. Every other day is ideal, or try every third day if you can’t manage every other day. When weight training, build up gradually and avoid excessive muscle ache.