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Are You and Your Diet Too Acid?

Posted Mar 03 2009 2:23pm

We all know that good and lasting health starts with a healthy diet replete with wholesome foods. However, what is not well understood about what constitutes a healthy diet, is that it should be filled alkalinizing foods. So what are alkalinizing foods, and why is it so important to consume them?

Most foods, after being digested, absorbed, and metabolized, fall into either an alkaline or acid category based on the alkaline or acid ash residue they produce in the body (See alkaline or acid food chart below ). The purpose of eating an alkaline based diet, is to maintain a healthy biological acid/alkaline environment, which is measured in terms of the pH scale-the measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. If a diet, over an extended timeline, is skewed towards producing an acid residue and load, then the body must buffer that acidity by drawing on the internal stores of mineral buffers-i.e calcium. Those mineral buffers are in part taken from bone tissue which puts one at risk for bone loss. (Please read my articles in the Bone Health category for more information)

However, balance is the goal in eating a more alkaline based diet. Acid producing foods are important too. The general consensus of what that balance in diet should be between 60 to 80% alkaline, and 20 to 40% acid forming foods. However, the obligations of work and family makes it very difficult for most to integrate a more alkaline tilted menu to one’s daily food choices.

The good news is that there are great supplements that will not only help to alkalinize your body, they will also provide wonderful nutrition as well. Concentrated fruit and vegetable extracts, lik e Designs for Health Paleo Greens and Paleo Reds are a great choice. I take a heaping tablespoon of each mixed together daily. The Paleo Reds which is mostly juice extracts of berries, taste naturally sweet and is free of sugar.

Vitamin C in the form of ascorbates, provides both alkalinizing minerals (ascorbates), and the benefit of vitamin C, one the most important antioxidants to include in your health and wellness supplements. My choice… C+ BioFizz. It has a satisfying lemony taste, and contains bioflavanoids, quercetin, hesperidin and rutin, that provide additional antioxidant benefits. Some of my clients like to mix the C+ Bio Fizz with their Paleo Greens, for a healthy and refreshing beverage.

Magnesium, a mineral that most individuals are deficient in, is a great supplement for alkalinizing your body. I recommend Designs for Health Magnesium Glycinate Chelate, which is better tolerated by those that have problems with magnesium and bowel tolerance. Otherwise, if you are not sensitive to magnesium, consider Designs for Health Magnesium Malate Chelate which is available in a higher dose tablet of 250 mg. versus the 150 mg in Magnesium Glycinate Chelate.  Shoot for as much as you can tolerate of either. Start with 1 tablet or capsule, and increase until you notice loosening of your bowel movement.

In summary, a daily intake of wonderful alkalinizing products Paleo Greens, Paleo Reds, ascorbates (C+ BioFizz), and minerals like magnesium, will complement a diet rich in vegetables and low glycemic fruits to favorably balance your pH to a more alkaline level.  An alkaline diet and supportive alkalinizing supplements, will go a long way to optimizing your good health!

Please use the “ Developing an Alkaline Diet” guide and the “Food and Chemical Effects of Acid/Alkaline Body Chemical Balance” chart below to get your diet and your health on the road to a more alkaline and balanced state. Both are courtesy of Russel Jaffe and ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies LLC.

For more reading on the value of  eating and maintaining a more alkaline based diet, please review some of the books in my Foods/diet library section at FunctionalHealthSolutions.com.

Developing an Alkaline Diet

Getting Started

The first step in establishing a health-promoting alkaline diet is to assess your current first morning urine pH.
This is a good measure of your average body pH and is easily obtained by following these simple steps:

  1. Obtain a packet of pH hydrion test paper (available at most pharmacies or from a health care practitioner). This test tape measures acid-alkaline states and should be marked into one-half point divisions ranging at least from 5.5 to 8.0.
  2. First thing in the morning, just before urinating, open the test tape and cut off two to three inches of the paper tape. Next, wet the tape with urine (either by urinating directly on the tape or by collecting the urine in a cup and dipping the tape into the urine).
  3. As the tape is moistened with urine, it will take on a color. The color relates to the acid or alkaline state of your urine and ranges from yellow to dark blue. Match the color of your test strip with the color chart on the back of the test tape packet.
  4. Jot down the number that corresponds to the color your tape has taken on. Any number below 7 means that your urine is on the acid side. The lower the number, the more acidic the condition. For example, a number of 4.5 indicates considerable acidity, while 6.0 indicates much less. A number of 7 indicates the neutral state, not acid or alkaline. As the body functions best in an alkaline state for health promotion, we would try to avoid highly acidic metabolic states. Ideally, our first morning urine pH should be 6.5 to 7.5, with an occasional, but not constant every day 7.5 reading.
  5. If your reading is below 6.5, then you are advised to begin changes aimed at alkalinizing your diet. Below are listed simple dietary modifications that will help alkalize your diet. In the beginning, because of the acid-forming tendency of the standard American diet, most of you will find low pH readings. On the other hand, there will be an occasional person where the initial pH readings are always highly alkaline (greater than 7.5), which is due to catabolism (the process of tearing us down). In this process, nitrogen (in the form of ammonia and alkaline amino acids such as lysine, arginine, glutamine, and asparagine) is lost and the urine becomes excessively alkaline. If constant 7.5 to 8.0 readings should occur in your case, you would do well to consult your health professional about how to stimulate the repair (anabolic) state thus reversing the catabolic cycle.

 

Simple Steps to Alkalinize Your Diet:

Remember, your body is in essence one very complicated chemical processing plant with 60 trillion cells involved in some 6 trillion chemical reactions each second. While the chemical processes can occur amid an acid environment, such is not ideal. An alkaline internal state is required for ideal chemical functioning and for the achievement of optimal health. If your pH readings are regularly below 6.5, you would do well to alkalinize your diet by making the following dietary changes:

  1. Take a few minutes and study the chart below entitled, “Food and Chemical Effects of Acid/Alkaline Body Chemical Balance.” On the left side of the page, the foods and substances that are alkalizing to the body are listed. To the furthest left, are the most alkaline substances like sea salt, sea vegetables, sweet potato/yam, lentils, and fruits like lime and watermelon. Toward the middle of the sheet on the same left side are the lower alkaline substances like ginger tea, oats, brussels sprouts and oranges. The acid-forming foods are listed on the right hand side of the page. The highest acid-forming foods, including jams, ice cream, walnuts, and beef, are listed to the far  right. The lesser acid-forming foods are to the center of the page and include honey, fish, brown rice, kidney beans, and figs. This easy-to-use chart clearly details which foods make the body more alkaline and which make it more acidic.
  2. As you are studying the chart mentioned above, note that most of the common standard American favorite foods and drinks are acid-forming–meats, sugar, coffee, tea, cheese and all dairy, except clarified butter. Wheat is acid-forming as are most grains. No wonder most Americans are in an acid body chemical state. We eat mostly acid-forming foods! Most fruits and vegetables are alkaline-forming and so are grains like oats, * quinoa, and wild rice as well as most spices and seeds.
  3. If you regularly have a first morning urine pH lower than 6.5 and are attempting to regain health, a good goal would be to strive for a diet of predominately alkaline-forming foods. For those recovering from disease, ideally the diet should be 80% alkaline-forming and only 20% acid-forming. As one regains health, 60% alkaline to 40% acid diet is generally fine. To simplify matters, let your first morning urine pH be your guide. If you are below 6.5, increase the alkaline foods. If you are 6.5 to 7, you are in a health-promoting acid/alkaline balance.
  4. If you are in an acid state, the first step is to eat more vegetables and fruits. Strive for two cups of alkalinizing vegetables at both lunch and dinner. Consider a breakfast of alkaline fruits and oatmeal. Limiting flesh foods will also go a long way toward reducing acidity. In addition, the following simple changes are especially helpful for quickly alkalinizing the body:

    (a) Drink the juice of one half a lime or lemon in water a few times during the day.
    (b) Add yams and sweet potatoes as well as lentils to your diet on a regular basis. All these foods help to alkalinize the body quickly.
    (c) Make it a point to eat at least two cups of alkalinizing greens (kale, mustard, turnip, collard, endive) daily.
    (d) Learn how to prepare seaweeds in soups and other dishes and consume daily.
    (e) Favor the alkalinizing grains like oats, * quinoa, and wild rice.
    (f) Enjoy liberal amounts of fruits. When possible, eat plenty of watermelon and its juice along with other melons and fruits and berries. If you suffer from gas, bloating, or weak digestion, favor cooked fruit and small amounts of fresh juices.
    (g) Certain supplements like buffered vitamin C and magnesium also alkalinize and should be used in optimum doses as recommended in your LRA by ELISA/ACT® program.
  5. Be patient and persistent. Remember, your pH indicates your reserve of alkaline minerals. It can take time to build up these reserves. Do not be discouraged with a slow movement toward the ideal alkaline state (pH 6.5 to 7.5). It may have taken years to decades to get where you are; a few months to sustained repair and renewal are worth the effort and attention.

* Not if you are gluten sensitive or intolerant.

This chart and the instructions above, are courtesy of Russel Jaffe and ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies LLC.

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