In their search for optimal health, most people will navigate the maze of diets available, trying to find the best one to reach their goals.
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Creating eating habits that are based on the understanding of the fundamentals of nutrition is another path to health and wellness. One of these fundamentals is the pH Balance.
pH stands for power of hydrogen and it is a measurement of the acid / alkaline balance in the body.
The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, one being the most acidic and 14 is the most alkaline.
pH levels vary throughout the body. The stomach is very acidic, with a pH of 3.5, or below. The skin and the urine are slightly acidic, whereas the saliva is slightly alkaline.
The most important measurement is the blood. For optimal cellular health, it needs to be slightly alkaline, between 7.35 and 7.45.
A diet, low in acid producing foods can help prevent kidney stones, keep muscles and bones strong, improve heart health and brain function and reduce risk for Type 2 diabetes, arthritis and cancer.
The reason for this is that meat and dairy, wheat and processed foods, like packaged snacks and convenience foods – the staples of the Standard American Diet – make the body acidic.
Related: Does Milk really do the Body Good?
Fruits and vegetables, especially green veggies, nuts and seeds, tofu and legumes are alkaline producing foods.
The ideal ratio in a healthy diet is 30% acidic and 70% alkaline producing foods. The average ratio in many people’s diet in the Western world is 90% acidic and only 10% alkaline.
pH balance can be tested with pH strips, available at your local pharmacy. However, this test isn’t very accurate. As mentioned, different parts of the body have various pH levels.
Also, the blood pH needs to be in a narrow range for healthy function. If the body is too acidic, certain minerals, such as calcium and magnesium are released from the bones to restore proper pH balance, so the test may still turn out positive.
Other factors that contribute to acid / alkaline balance are exercise, alcohol and caffeine consumption, smoking and obesity.