The Hype about Alkalinity
February 25, 2014
Why should your body be alkaline?
Our tissue pH level impacts all of our body's cells, tissues, glands, organs and organ systems - this basically means everything in our body. We are surrounded by acidic foods - soda, sugar, processed foods and high protein diets, along with acidic activities - intense cardiovascular, anaerobic exercise, and stress. This means that our body struggles to maintain its ideal pH level, often by pulling the nutrients it needs from our organs in order to maintain the balance the body requires to survive.
For example, our kidneys filter out excess acid, which is not easy for them. With enough acidity the kidneys can get overworked and lead to kidney disease. Bones help to neutralize acidity by pulling out the calcium they store. If enough calcium is used up the bone density decreases and can lead to osteopenia or osteoporosis.
If our body is not capable of reducing acidity, the pH drops and creates an environment within the body for disease to grow and inflammation to happen. There are many ways we can help our body to increase pH to an alkaline level, thereby decreasing our risk of disease and aiding our body in fighting illness and inflammation.
Alkaline water sources can help to increase pH in the body. Most municipal-treated water contains a huge amount of chlorine and still contains many heavy metals, hormones and minute viral or bacterial particles which all contribute to making this source of water neutral or acidic. Water filters such as Santevia and Berkey filter water with mineral stones helping to increase alkalinity.
While it is absolutely important to intake adequate protein from a variety of sources animal protein, including dairy, causes our body to become acidic. Vegetables on the other hand are extremely alkaline. This adds another argument for eating animal products in moderation and including a variety of vegetables in the diet on a daily basis. We should be trying to aim for a 20% protein and 80% vegetable, nuts, seeds, and fruit intake.
A very potent example that I like to use to describe acidity versus alkalinity to people is this: Vigorous exercise causes a buildup of lactic ACID in the muscles - which we feel as burning in our muscles - this is an example of an ACIDIC activity. Stretching, yoga and epsom salts baths on the other hand help to move that lactic acid out of the muscles, and are examples of ALKALINIZING activities.
We know that vigorous exercise is important and necessary for cardiovascular health, weight maintenance, blood sugar balance, mood enhancement, etc. So once again, here we see the need for BALANCING vigorous activity with calm, slow stretching type activities.
Other examples of acidifying activities include: shallow breathing, hot showers or baths, chemical or pesticide exposure. While alkalinizing acitivies include: deep breathing meditation, massage, walking in the forest, cool showers or baths, baths with sea salts, use of antioxidants and dietary fiber.