Finding pH Balance
by Angela Halderson
Your body’s acid and alkaline balance (its pH) affects your health and how you feel. Blood has a tight pH range of 7.35 to 7.45, and your body will maintain this pH no matter the cost – even if this means robbing vital tissues of its minerals. To regulate calcium levels, your body will take calcium from your bones. Long-term, this can lead to osteoporosis.
Your body uses calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium to stay alkaline. Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet (SAD) is high in acidic foods with very few minerals: beef, dairy, grains (corn and wheat), alcohol, soda, and other refined sugars. The SAD is also low in alkaline foods which are higher in minerals: kale, grapefruit, avocados, collard greens, lentils. To make things more challenging, conventional agricultural practices have depleted mineral levels from the soil, resulting in even our healthiest green leafy vegetables offering less minerals than in the 1950s.
Are you acidic? You can find out by testing your urine pH. Obtain a packet of pH strips that are readily available at a natural health store or pharmacy. Test your first morning urine by placing a strip midstream. When the color changes, match it to the test strip key. Optimal urine pH is 7.2, basically alkaline. If your reading falls below 6.5, you are acidic.
If you are acidic, it is time to embrace an alkaline diet. This means 80% of your foods should be fruits and vegetables, while 20% of your food choices should be protein, grains, or dairy. Swap table salt for sea salt which is more alkaline. I suggest starting your morning with an alkalizing smoothie. Blend spinach, kale, a small banana, lemon juice, a bit of ginger, and spring water together. Short on time? You can purchase alkalizing green drink powder. Green drink powders are typically made from dehydrated spirulina, chlorophyll, barley, wheatgrass, and/or fruit juices. Add a scoop to your water and go!
To further ensure adequate mineral absorption, some people also choose to take an alkalizing mineral supplement. Better quality alkalizing supplements are a blend of easy-to-absorb calcium carbonate, magnesium citrate, sodium bicarbonate, and potassium citrate. Look for one blended with sea salt or herbs like burdock, parley, or dandelion.
Alkalizing mineral supplements should not be confused with trace minerals. Alkalizing mineral supplements will help bring your pH back into balance. When your urine pH consistently reads between 6.5 and 7.5, your body is readily absorbing all its trace minerals. So, start first with an alkalizing supplement, then include trace minerals later to help your body replete those minerals.
People who find themselves very acidic can also drink alkaline or spring water. When you are purchasing spring water, look for its pH on the label. Spring water should yield a pH of about 8. You can make your own alkaline water by purchasing an alkaline water machine. These machines allow you to adjust the preferred pH range and make your water taste great. Alkaline water is easily absorbed into your cells resulting in better hydration and better mineral balance. Alkaline water machines are available at various price ranges and are truly a healthy investment.