ALKALISING YOUR BODY FOR OPTIMUM HEALTH
Alkaline Vs acidic – what it all means and what you can do to improve your wellbeing in terms of alkalinity.
Our endless desire to eradicate disease, increase longevity and improve overall wellbeing has given rise to a plethora of fad diets and food crazes that aren’t necessarily derived from scientific research. The acid-alkaline diet however is thought to be one of huge benefit- that is a dietary approach based on the notion that the human body functions the most optimally when body fluids (blood and urine) are at a certain pH level.
What does acidity actually mean?
A measure of acidity or alkalinity. pH stands for potential of hydrogen, and measuring alkalinity is measured on a pH scale of 1-14. 7 is the middle (neutral) point, and this is where water sits on the scale. Values below 7 indicate a more acidic environment, with 1 being the most acidic. The other end of the scale, 14 is the most alkaline. Acid and alkaline are two extremes that may cancel out each other- in the same way that extreme hot and cold can equalize water temperature when combined.
So should our whole body be alkaline?
Firstly, I think it is important to note that not all parts of your body should be alkaline. Yes, the media speaks about doing everything you can to create a more alkaline environment in your body and, I do agree with this being a very important part of your health and wellbeing. We are surrounded by acidic foods, toxins, as well as the natural metabolism of food affecting the pH of the body fluids. This doesn’t mean that our entire body should be alkaline in order to be healthy.
Firstly our stomach is, and requires a (very!) acidic environment. This is important to be able to break down food. I’m in no way suggesting to eat acidic foods to increase the stomach acid production to then improve your digestive capacity. In order to produce the acid in our stomach, called hydrochloric acid, the cells in our stomach mucosa require specific nutrients such as Zinc and B vitamins (in particular B6) to be able to do so. Eating a varied, healthy diet high in these nutrients is the first step to promoting an adequate hydrochloric acid production. Keep in mind that adequate stomach acid production is paramount in absorbing the nutrients in your food. And after all, you aren’t what you eat- you are what you absorb.
How do I naturally increase hydrochloric acid production, to then improve the absorption of nutrients?
Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in water 5 minutes before meals.
Take the time to properly chew your food. Never eat on the run, or multitask. This is because your parasympathetic nervous system (the part responsible for resting and digesting) needs your bodies energy and focus to be able to properly digest the food it is being presented with!
Manage your stress, and take time out for yourself. If you are always in ‘fight or flight’ your body may fail to produce hydrochloric acid and therefore digest your food properly.
Eat bitter foods. Foods such as rocket, dandelion greens and
Avoid antacid medications. If you suffer from reflux, believe it or not this can sometimes be caused by a LACK of stomach acid. Taking antacid medications long term can be detrimental to your natural production of stomach acid, and can even be the cause of reflux.
Without adequate hydrochloric acid, your food is incompletely digested and you’ll fail to assimilate the nutrients in the food. So that’s the importance of an acidic environment in your stomach.
What creates the undesirable acidic environment in the rest of our bodies?
When the body’s fluids contain too much acid, this creates a condition called acidosis.
Often our bodies are pushed to a state of overall acidity which can have damaging effects such as bone weakness (this is because your body is clever enough to find alkali from the bones when it is faces with too much acid).
Foods such as excessive dairy or meat, packaged and processed snacks, canned foods, alcohol and caffeine can all increase the acidity in your body. I’m by no means saying to cut out all of these things; moderation, and being aware of the effects certain foods have on the body is key.
Commercial cleaning products are also very acidic, and although you’re not ingesting them directly, being exposed to these fumes can increase the acidity of your body (amongst other undesirable things!)
How can I improve my pH balance naturally?
Start your day with something green. We wake in a more acidic state, so your body will thank you for a big glass of water with a teaspoon of a green superfood powder in it, rather than a coffee first thing (which is very acidic!)
If you love coffee, (which is fine so do I), try and having something alkalizing either with, or a few minutes either side of it. I usually have a green juice or some greens powder just before or during my morning coffee. Switch it up for a many alkalising teas throughout the week. We love our Digest, Cleanse and Mint Cacao blends for this!
Increase alkalizing foods that are nutrient dense, rich in fiber, and high in antioxidants. Load up on fresh vegetables in particular dark leafy greens as these are particularly alkalizing. Root vegetables such as carrots, onions and parsnips are also alkalizing (as well as these vegetables having a myriad of other benefits!
Consume green superfoods. Chlorophyll, chlorella and spirulina have amazingly alkalizing properties, as well as being high in many minerals, vitamins and improve detoxification.
Eliminate all processed foods. Anything that contains white flour or sugar, have been deep fried or have unpronounceable ingredients in its list. Any ingredients that nature hasn’t provided as is, best to avoid.
Keep yourself hydrated! Filter your water and aim for 2L per day. Adding freshly squeezed lemon to your water can improve its alkalinity. If you struggle to reach 2L make a big iced Mayde Tea and sip on that throughout the day- this is even better for you than water!
Alkalising green smoothie recipe:
1 frozen banana
2 cups spinach leaves, baby spinach or kale (or a combination)
2.5 cups filtered water
2 TBSP any nut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon.
Place all of the ingredients into a high-speed blender and enjoy. Add The Beauty Chef Cleanse for added alkalinity, nutrition and probiotic and goodness!