Thursday, January 3, 2008

Alkaline or Acidic? What Is Best For Your Health?

Are you acidic or alkaline?
In researching health issues I found that people rely on many different methods for staying healthy or regaining health. Not everyone agrees with the concept of a body needing to be alkaline. And even within the natural health field the recommended level of pH varies from 6.2 to 6.8 to 7.2 to 7.4. That is of course for someone who is healthy. When illness such as cancer is involved then the level recommended is 8.0 or higher. By maintaining a good alkaline level then the body is suppose to be better able to maintain health. A long term acidic body is suppose to mean being more prone to degenerative disease.

It is thought that the alkaline base is needed for cells to rebuild the body. There is a cycle of seven years where the body replaces every cell at least once. So, you would want to make sure that you give your body the best building blocks in the best way.

When I first heard of the need for an alkaline body, I thought in terms of what a food is, like a lemon is acidic. But it turns out that that is only part of what is looked at. There are two ways that foods are classified. One is the food itself and the other is what happens to the food when it is digested. As in the lemon example once it is digested then it is in the alkaline category.

Also, this is not what you usually talk with you regular doctor about in Western medicine. However, Asian medicine does cover the need to be alkaline. Japanese doctors advise alkaline foods and water with the understanding that if the body is too acidic then the immune system is compromised. Water, having a pH of 9 to 11, functions to neutralize stored acid wastes and remove them from the body.

How can alkalizing the bloodstream, to balance, the pH help? Well, health issues can be caused by inefficient cellular working, a buildup of acid waste in the body, and poor circulation. So, Asian medicine states that health problems such as allergies, arthritis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hay fever, high blood pressure, gout, tooth/gum disease, hemorrhoids, kidney diseases, obesity, among others can be dealt with better when the body is alkaline. Of course there are also the problems caused by viruses and bacteria too such as colds and flu.

So, how do you know whether you’re acid or alkaline? You can use test ph papers that can be found in your local drug store. The idea is that if your ph is lower than 6.4 when you get up then your food selection for the day should be more alkaline. That is at least 80% alkaline and 20% acidic.

Also, it’s not the whole body that needs to be alkaline. When the cellular level is alkaline then the function of the cells improves such as with the removal of waste. .

Remember the ‘eat you vegetables’? Well it turns out that eating greens is a way to give you alkalinity. So, where else do you find the acids or alkaline foods? Here are some suggestions:

Very Acidic and Acid Forming Foods
Barley, beef, beer, brazil nuts, cocoa, cottonseed oil, fried foods, hazel nuts (one of my favorites), ice cream, soft drinks (this is one of the first that came to mind), sugar (this includes sweeteners such as NutraSweet, Spoonful, Sweet ‘N Low, Equal or Aspartame), soybean, walnuts, and white vinegar.

Medium Range Acidity
Barley groats, casein, coffee, corn, cranberries, chicken, cottage cheese, garbanzo beans, green peas, milk, mussels, nutmeg, oat bran, peanuts, pecans, pomegranate, protein pork, snow peas, squid, soy milk, and palm kernel oil.

Low Range Acidity
Aged cheese, alcohol, balsamic vinegar, black tea, buckwheat, chard, cow’s milk, goat milk, navy beans plums, sesame oil, soy cheese, tapioca, tofu, , pinto beans, tomatoes, turkey, vanilla, wheat, white beans, and white rice.

Even Lower Acidity
Amaranth, black-eyed peas, brown rice, butter, chicken, coconut, cream, curry, guava, dry fruit, figs fish, honey, kona coffee, maple syrup, gelatin, rhubarb, spinach, string beans, vinegar, wax beans, zucchini

Neutral FoodsButter, expeller pressed oils (most), plain yogurt, raw cream, and raw milk
Even Lower Alkaline and Alkaline Forming Foods
Banana, beet, blue berries, celery, chive, cilantro, coconut oil, flax oil, ginger tea, lettuce, oats, okra, olive oil, quinoa, and turnip greens

Low Alkalinity
Almonds, bell pepper, blackberry, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cherries, coconut (fresh), cucumbers, collard green, egg yolks, eggplant, green tea, herbs (most), honey (raw), leeks, mushrooms, olive oil, olives, onions, pickles, sesame seeds (whole), sprouted grains

Medium Alkalinity
Alfalfa sprouts, apples, apricots, asparagus, avocados, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, cashews, corn (sweet), dates, figs, ginger root, garlic, grapes, grapefruit, guavas, honeydew melons, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mangos, molasses (unsulfurated), oranges, pears, peas, parsley, parsnip, peaches, pepper, potatoes, pumpkin, soy sauce, spices, strawberries, squash, vinegar (apple cider)

Very Alkaline
Baking soda, lemons, lentils, limes, mineral water, nectarines, onions, pineapples, potatoes (sweet), pumpkin seeds, raspberry, sea salt, seaweed, tangerines, taro root, and watermelon.

Of Other Things
Of course there are other foods in the acid to alkaline range. What is listed gives you an idea of what fits into the various categories. However, foods are not the only way your acid and alkaline balance can be changed. Look at your whole lifestyle.

by Joan Reinbold