Alkaline Versus Acidic – Does It Matter?

Maybe you’ve heard some talk about your body being alkaline versus acidic, but you’re not really sure what that means. We’re happy to explain it and why you should care one way or the other. Think way back to grade school science. Most of us, if not all of us, learned that some substances are alkaline while some are acidic as determined by a pH scale. pH stands for potential of hydrogen, and the scale is from 0 to 14. The more hydrogen ions a chemical contains the more acidic it is. For example, soda is highly acidic with a pH of 1, water is 7 (neutral), and an apple is 13. When acidic and alkaline chemicals are combined or are sharing space they will seek a balance. Blood, for example, has a normal pH of 7.35 to 7.45. No matter what we ingest, the body will always seek balance.

The pH scale Universal Indicator pH Color Chart diagram acidic alkaline values common substances vector illustration flat icon design Colorful

What Does It Mean When You’re Too Acidic

Poultry, meat, and alcohol are acidic substances. When we ingest them more than we do alkaline foods our body struggles to maintain a balance. Stress is also thought to contribute to making the body a more acidic environment. Stress can result in shallow breathing preventing the carbon dioxide from leaving the body. When you pair stress with a highly acidic diet, the body struggles to strike a balance because it must deal with the build-up of carbon dioxide first. Not to mention stress releases cortisol into the bloodstream which can cause additional vascular damage. Being acidic versus neutral has been linked to cancer. The topic of cancer and acidity is controversial. Experiments with cancerous cells have shown that they thrive in an acidic environment and die in an alkaline one. This stands to reason. While there is some debate on the pH level of processed sugar, many believe it tends to be more acidic. We do know that cancer cells feed on sugar. This is one potential explanation. Pure raw sugar, however, is neutral with a pH of around 7.

Help Your Body Manage The Balance

As with most things, the acidic versus alkaline debate has led to a surge of products on the market claiming to create balance. One such product is alkaline water. Again, water has a neutral pH, so what exactly is alkaline water? This is water that is considered to be right of neutral because it’s rich in minerals including calcium, silica, potassium, magnesium, and bicarbonate. Here’s the tricky thing about water. The water we get from the tap doesn’t contain any minerals. For all intents and purposes, it’s dead. Water from a well or that has been filtered through the earth’s sediment contains minerals, it’s alive. Picture the snow-capped mountains and a crystal clear spring of fresh water at the foot of the mountain. This has been naturally filtered by the earth and picked up a few vital nutrients along the way. There are companies that claim they can artificially create this same effect with tap water. If you want more alkaline water go to the source. Look for water that is bottled at the source, such as Fiji brand. (I’m not paid to say that). If you’re not sure if the water you’re looking at fits the bill, read the label. That’s right! Water that contains minerals will have that on the label.

Other experts tout an alkaline diet that is high in fruits, nuts, and vegetables and low on meat, poultry, and alcohol. This sounds like every other diet on the market. Well, that’s because it works. It’s fairly common sense to have a diet high in fiber and nutrient dense foods. It is the basis of literally every diet out there. Cutting back on animal proteins will help reduce the risk of developing arterial disease as they can cause inflammation throughout the body.

Lastly, be sure to get moving. Our bodies are designed for movement. The lymphatic system can only drain through movement, particularly jumping up and down. This helps the body’s natural detoxification system. Movement also helps move the bowels, a notorious toxin reservoir. Don’t forget to get plenty of sleep. There are processes that can’t start until we’re fast asleep.

The Verdict – It Might Matter

There is some truth to the notion that being too acidic can lead to some catastrophic diseases and illnesses. But the good news is the body is already designed to strike a balance, and it just needs a little help from us. Eat more vegetables and fruit than animal protein, sleep and exercise regularly. It’s important to note that having acid reflux is not an indication that your body is more acidic than alkaline. You just need to adjust your diet some.

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Nile Harris
Nile Harris, the Chief Chick, is a word weaver and dream believer with 20 years of experience in healthcare, finance, and education. This aspiring motivational speaker, TED presenter and LinkedIn Influencer is committed to valuing people, driving healthcare access and innovation, and weaving words that move people to action. Her views are her own.
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