The pH of our bodies is enormously important to our health, yet we hardly ever give it a second thought. Here’s why you should care…
The optimal condition for your body is a balanced environment that is not too acidic and not overly alkaline. If your body is overly acidic, you may be more susceptible to certain illnesses. You may also become deficient in certain nutrients. This is because when the body is too acidic, the body may need to take minerals such as calcium, potassium and sodium from your bones to neutralize the acid. This can put your body under a lot of strain.
Because of the prevalence of the Western diet and an inactive lifestyle, many people today are somewhat acidic. If your acidity gets extreme, it is known as acidosis — a condition which requires urgent medical attention. If it is mild, you may not notice a problem at first, until you find yourself feeling worse and worse in unexpected ways.
Signs your body may be too acidic
- You feel fatigued, even when you’ve had enough sleep.
- You feel depressed or have a hard time enjoying things that you used to.
- You find yourself especially irritable for no discernable reason.
- You feel like you cannot focus or have “brain fog” often.
- You frequently develop infections, colds and flus.
- Your skin is dry, even in the warmer months.
- You have acne or other skin problems.
- You have hormonal imbalance issues.
- You frequently develop yeast infections.
- You feel like your digestion is sluggish, or frequently experience constipation or diarrhea.
- You find yourself becoming short of breath often.
- You frequently experience joint pain.
- You often experience headaches.
- You experience chronic allergies or sinus pain.
- You suffer from chronic pain that is not due to an injury or a medical condition.
- Your neck often feels stiff or sore.
- You have sensitive gums and teeth.
If you find you are experiencing multiple symptoms on this list, it’s time to check your pH. You can either have this done by a health professional or you can do it yourself at home. If you’re going the DIY route, you can purchase pH test strips that use your saliva or urine. If you get a reading lower than 6.5, your body is too acidic.
If your pH reading is significantly lower than 6.5, you may have a more serious case of acidosis. If this is the case, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you can. If the reading is 6.5 or slightly lower, you may be able to combat the problem at home (although it never hurts to visit a health professional you trust, just to be safe).
Here is how to get your body back in balance:
Quit eating processed foods
These are often acidic, and seriously, they’re not doing any of your body’s systems any good. Processed foods include fast food, boxed meals and many packaged products. If there are more than five ingredients on the label, you’re better off skipping it. Make a commitment to cooking nutritious meals made from fresh ingredients at home. This is one of the most important things you can do for your pH and your overall health.
Stop eating so much sugar
It is best to eliminate the refined sugar in your diet altogether. This definitely means no soda (super acidification powers in those fizzy, sugary drinks). If you need to sweeten your meals and beverages, use coconut crystals, raw honey or unprocessed stevia leaves instead. Just remember, moderation is important for these natural sweeteners.
Stay away from artificial sweeteners
They may promote acidity, and they’re also terrible for your health. Essentially the artificial sweeteners in soda, coffee and flavored drinks trick your body. Consuming them often may even lead to metabolic syndrome.
Cut down on the coffee
While coffee itself has a lot of health benefits, it can also be acidic on your system. If you’re struggling with mild acidosis, it may be best to quit the coffee for a while, or at least cut down. Try to replace your coffee habit with herbal tea. Green tea is great and red rooibos tea is a delicious option which does not contain caffeine. You can also try these great energy-boosting smoothies.
Get white flour out of your diet
White flour is heavily processed and stripped of its nutritious compounds. Try these great gluten-free flours for a healthy alternative.
Reduce your consumption of both dairy and meat
While these can be healthy (especially when organic and grass-fed), they can also be acidic. Either eliminate them for a while until your body is back to a healthy pH or cut down. Double up on vegetables and fresh fruits instead.
Eat your veggies
Many fruits and vegetables have an alkalizing effect on your body, so make sure you’re getting an ample amount of them. These include dark green, leafy vegetables like kale, arugula, spinach, Swiss chard and collard greens, along with lemons, carrots, beets, turnips, cayenne peppers and garlic.
Drink lots of water
Make sure you’re getting at least eight glasses each and every day. Proper hydration is key to getting your body back into balance.
Take steps to reduce your stress
Meditation, yoga and tai chi are all wonderful practices that can help you greatly with your stress relief quest. Make room in your schedule to unwind and do the things you love to do.
Sedentary behavior may contribute to acidity, so make sure you get moving and stay moving. Start by taking a walk every day. Next, add a routine that includes strength training three times per week. You could also take a class in a fun activity that you’ve always wanted to learn, like dancing or kickboxing.
If you still do, quit. Cigarettes are great for promoting a toxic environment in your body.
Talk to a health professional you trust about the possibility of supplementing with magnesium or calcium, if needed.
If you follow these steps, you should soon find that your body is becoming less acidic. Take a pH test every couple of weeks to chart your progress. If your pH does not go down into a healthy range, or if your symptoms are persisting, it’s time to go see a health professional you trust.