Our body is designed to maintain a slightly alkaline pH level of 7.4 in our blood. This 7.4 pH balance is vital to maintaining good health. If our pH balance is too low, we can develop headaches, allergies, flu, sinus problems...and that is just the beginning. Almost all degenerative diseases including arthritis, osteoporosis, accelerated aging, heart disease, cancer, kidney and gall stones, and even tooth decay are associated with high acid levels in the body (a low pH).Our diet, pollution, minerals in our water, and stress adversely affect ph. Since our bodies will do whatever it takes to maintain a proper ph balance, mineral reserves (calcium, magnesium etc.) are drawn from our bones to buffer acid and restore our pH when high acid levels are present.
Most of us are affected by acidosis simply because we live in the modern world. Never before have our topsoils been so stripped, and our food supply chain so devoid of minerals and other vital nutrients. And never before have we eaten a diet so high in animal proteins, sweeteners, and processed food with so few fruits and vegetables; been under so much chronic stress; or exposed ourselves to such a vast array of pollutants. Yet when we move back toward a diet full of whole fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and spices, we can quickly ease a great deal of this burden, using food to our bones’ advantage.
Food is nature’s best medicine
Making some simple changes in your diet and lifestyle is the easiest way to shift the body away from a low-grade acid state back to an ideal balance.
Eat more veggies and fruits. This is the most important step of all. If you want better bones, we suggest five to ten or more servings of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Reduce soda intake, or eliminate it altogether. A 12-ounce can of cola has a pH somewhere between 2.8 and 3.2, but our kidneys can’t excrete urine with a pH much lower than 5 without damaging the urinary tract. To process 12 ounces of cola to the point at which it can be excreted in the urine at a pH of 5, it must be diluted a hundred-fold, requiring that either the body must produce an additional 33 liters of urine, or a corresponding amount of buffer must be drawn from the body to neutralize the excess acid. Imagine the effects of a can a day for 10 years!
Replace refined carbs with tasty roasted roots, tubers, and gourds. Most grains are somewhat acid-forming, particularly when they are ground, bleached, and otherwise refined. Instead of eating pasta, pizza, pastry, rice or bread, try substituting with root crops a few days a week. Sweet potatoes, yams, potatoes, parsnips, beets, carrots, squash and potatoes are super-rich in minerals that will alkalinize your blood, plus they’re loaded with antioxidants and vitamins.
·Add fresh lemon and lime to your water. Though we typically think of citrus fruits as acidic, they’re highly alkalizing in the body (limes especially). Help balance your acid load by squeezing a wedge of fresh lemon or lime into your water bottle or glass throughout the day.
·Drink 64 ounces of high-mineral spring water daily. Our public drinking supply has been processed, stripped of the health-enhancing minerals water naturally picks up from the earth as it percolates through the ground. It’s doctored with minerals like chlorine and fluoride which are present at levels that many scientists feel are not healthy for teeth and bones. “Mineral waters” contain dissolved minerals and trace elements, so it’s an easy way to replenish your alkaline reserves. We like San Pellegrino.
·Reduce animal protein to 60 g or less per day. Animal proteins are particularly acid-producing as your body metabolizes them. Limit your animal protein sources and increase plant-based protein sources such as beans and legumes.
·Add cinnamon, ginger, and other herbs and spices. Cinnamon is a wonderful alkalizing spice that you can add to just about anything. It’s great with sweet potatoes, apples, or sprinkled in hot tea. Ginger root is a great alkalizer and detoxifier that spices up many dishes and makes a tasty, warming winter tea.
·Monitor your urinary pH. Tracking your first morning urine pH is a simple and convenient way to keep track of how your nutritional choices are affecting your body. When this number is between 6.8 and 7.7, your overall cellular pH is likely where it should be, slightly alkaline. Results in an acid range (below 6.8) can suggest that your bones are being depleted of minerals to offset excess acid in your system.
·Supplement your diet with a high-quality multivitamin–mineral complex. No matter how attentive we are to what we eat we can’t always have a perfectly balanced diet. Feel free to ask Dr. Devine for help in selecting top-notch, bone-healthy supplements.