ACID–ALKALINE BALANCE

Practically every major degenerative disease, including some cancers, is triggered by an over-acid system. When the pH of your blood is out of balance, your skin and hair become dull, the nervous system is affected and you may suffer insomnia, arthritis, rheumatism, aching joints, skin conditions, candida, fungal infections, muscle pain and gout, which are all common symptoms of an over-acid system.

Nutritionists and health professionals have long understood the importance of maintaining a healthy acid/alkaline balance. For good health the body needs to maintain a certain acid–alkaline balance and keeping this balance is one of the crucial keys to remaining healthy and also slowing the ageing process. Every cell functions more efficiently when it is predominantly alkaline.

In general the body needs to be around 70% alkaline and 30% acid. But in the West the average person is 80% acid and 20% alkaline, hence why we are suffering so many acid conditions such as arthritis. Many people confuse the term acid-forming with the term acidic, but they are entirely different. Everything we swallow, once metabolised within the body, breaks down into either an alkaline or acid mineral based ash or residue. Whether a substance is alkaline or acid is determined by its pH (potential Hydrogen). Stomach acid can be as low as pH 1.5, very acid, whereas saliva after eating could be as high as pH 8, which is very alkaline. Your blood has a pH which is slightly alkaline – between 7.35 and 7.45 – and this level needs to be maintained at all costs. If  the blood becomes too acid, and our buffering systems are not adequate ( a common problem) then the body withdraws alkalising minerals from anywhere it can find them; beginning with the hair, skin and nails and then moving on through the body until it begins drawing minerals from the bones, which in time contributes to conditions such as osteoporosis.

Unfortunately most modern lifestyles and diets are almost all acid-forming and if the body remains in an acid state for too long, this acidity triggers degenerative diseases. A high acid-forming diet also has a negative effect on tooth enamel – especially pre-packaged concentrated fruit juices. Acid-forming foods deplete calcium from the body, while alkaline foods increase the body’s ability to absorb calcium from the diet.

Emotions also greatly affect this balance: stress and anger trigger more acidity within the body, whereas feelings of being in control, in love and breathing deeply through the nose re-alkalises the body. Basically harmony alkalises and disharmony acidifies.

Foods to Avoid
• It’s important to realise that just because a food is acid-forming it is not necessarily unhealthy. Proteins are acid-forming, but they are also essential for good health. Therefore, if you tend to eat two  meat-based meals daily, reduce it to one. Make the other a fish-based meal, or eat pulses such as soya, aduki , butter beans, haricot beans or chick peas (also in Humous).
• Basically all animal produce and egg yolks are acid-forming. Duck, venison, grouse and pheasant, lamb, beef and pork are all acid-forming. Fish, turkey and chicken are also acid-forming, but do not contain such high levels of uric acid as red meat.
• Milk and yoghurt are alkaline before digestion but become acid-forming once digested. This is why milk products are calming to an over-acid oesophagus if you suffer from an acid-type reflux after food. But in the long term this would exacerbate arthritic type conditions. It’s just a case of getting a balance.
• All nuts are acid-forming except almonds, fresh coconut, and chestnuts.
• All grains are also acid-forming with the exception of millet, buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa. Whole grains are a healthy food and remember: these foods are not to be eliminated per se, you just need to be aware of what is acid-forming.
• All refined sugars found in cakes, biscuits, pre-packaged desserts, whips and so on are acid-forming. Milk chocolate is a truly acid-forming treat, it’s high in oxalic acid which is linked to kidney stones – so, don’t overdo it!
• Wine, beer, spirits, coffee, tea, fizzy drinks and sweetened fruit juices are all highly acid-forming.
• All drugs, prescription and social, such as cannabis, are also acidic.
• Cranberries, plums, prunes and rhubarb are highly acid-forming. But again I reiterate, these foods are healthy – in fact prunes (dried plums) are very anti-ageing. Everything in moderation.
• Mass-produced malt vinegar, a waste product of the brewing industry, is also acid-forming in the body.

Friendly Foods

• Honey, Agave and brown-rice syrup are alkalising, BUT AGAVE SHOULD NOT BE EATEN BY THOSE WITH LEAKY GUTS, AND WHEN USING AGAVE MAKE SURE ITS ORGANIC IN SOURCE AND NOT REFINED. But don’t overdo these foods – as they are still sugar ! If you eat too much of them, the sugar converts to fat and lives on your hips. Again just find a balance.   The plant extract Xylitol  is a useful natural alternative to refined sugars.
• All vegetables are alkaline but the best are wheat grass, alfalfa, kelp, seaweed, parsley, watercress,  cabbage,  celery, broccoli, carrots, endives and celery. All green foods are high in chlorophyll, which is rich in magnesium, a major alkalising mineral.
• Cabbage, kale, broccoli, spring greens, green beans and asparagus are all great alkaline foods. Spinach contains oxalic acid, but it breaks down into an alkaline residue.
• All fruits are healthy, and you should eat them freely, but be aware that cranberries, plums, prunes and rhubarb are highly acid-forming and to a lesser degree so are blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries.
• The most alkalising fruits are cantaloupe melons (and all melons), papaya, dates, especially dried dates, mangoes, lemons, limes and figs. In case you are wondering, it’s the alkaline mineral content and not the sugar content that determines whether a food is acid or alkaline forming in the body.
• Pineapple, cherries, kiwi and tomatoes contain acids, but they make an alkaline ash within the body after they are digested. People who suffer indigestion immediately after a meal, and may have an over acid stomach, often say these types of foods make their problem worse, this is because they are acid on contact and until digested. However, they make an alkaline residue once they reach the small intestine. This is why apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, with a little honey and warm water, help to re-alkalise the body and reduce symptoms of arthritis and inflammatory conditions. Take 1tsp of each twice daily.
• Use a little organic sea salt, which is rich in alkalising minerals.
• Drink more Green and White tea,  with a little added  Agave Syrup ( a natural extract derived from Cactus which will not raise blood sugar. OK for diabetics).
• Apple cider vinegar, preferably organic, has an alkalising effect within the body. It also helps increase stomach-acid production as it is acid on contact, but alkalising after digestion.
• If you are a chocoholic – then ask at your health shop for a raw chocolate bar. Dark pure chocolate is usually sugar free and is not as acid forming.

Useful Remedies
• Ask at your health shop for powdered organic formulas that contain wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella, alfalfa, broccoli and green foods and take daily.
• I take  Green pH, made by  Metabolics (wwwmetabolics.com) – one small level teaspoon daily in water, preferably taken 30 minutes before a meal or in-between meals; a mixture of Green beans, Garden Peas, Pea Leaf, Dry Apple Cider, Watercress, Broccoli and Nettle Leaf.  Doesn’t taste  great, but an easy and quick way to alkalise your body.  Available for retail from the Wholistic Medical Centre on Tel: 020 7580 7537; www.wholisticmedical.co.uk
• Dr Shamin Daya suggests that taking a quarter teaspoon of soda BiCarbonate in half a cup of luke warm water twice daily between meals is an easy way to keep the body alkaline.
• Take a multi-mineral formula that contains approximately 600mg of calcium, 300–500mg of magnesium, 25mg of zinc, 90mg of potassium, in a colloidal or chelated form, which are more easily absorbed. These minerals are alkalising.

Helpful Hints
• Stress, anger and smoking contribute to an over-acid system.
• Breathing deeply and regularly helps to re-alkalise the body. This is because when you breathe more oxygen into the body, it has an alkaline effect. When we are under stress, we tend to shallow-breathe, which leaves more carbon dioxide, more acidity, in the tissues.
• Do not brush your teeth immediately after eating or drinking high acid-forming foods and drinks, as you can lose more tooth enamel. Simply drink a little water and swill it around the mouth to help neutralise the acids.
• Meditation also re-alkalises the body .
• Water Filter Man’ supply alkalising water filters for your home. Their number is 0844 8733148 www.waterfilterman.co.uk
Otherwise try  Kangen Water – a water system that attaches to your kitchen tap that  ionises and greatly alkalises water. It’s used in Japanese hospitals with highly beneficial health results. For full details Tel:  020 7580 7537 www.kangenmiraclewater.co.uk
• When you first wake, the body is very acid, so having fruit for breakfast helps to re-alkalise the system. A great diet for summer breakfasts – but in winter you need to keep warmer and fruit won’t do the job, so try porridge sweetened with a freshly grated apple or any chopped fruit. Breakfast is also a great time to drink freshly made juices. But too much orange juice can over stimulate production of stomach acid, so go for diluted apple or pear juice as an alternative. Also, apple, carrot or celery juice with a little added fresh root ginger is also highly alkalising.

© Hazel Courteney 2012.  All rights reserved