pH, which stands for potential of hydrogen, is the measure of acidity and alkalinity. The pH scale itself measures how acidic or alkaline (basic) a substance is. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14 with a pH of 7 being neutral. A pH less than 7 is acidic and a pH greater than 7 is basic or alkaline. The pH scale is logarithmic and as a result, each whole pH value below 7 is ten times more acidic than the next higher value. For example, pH 4 is ten times more acidic than pH 5 and 100 times (10 times 10) more acidic than pH 6. The same is true for pH values above 7.
The human body seeks to maintain a slightly alkaline pH of 7.35 to 7.45. Even the slightest variations outside this range can be very disruptive to health. Drastic variations below 6.8 or above 7.8 can be fatal. When the body is not able to maintain the delicate pH balance, one of two conditions exists. Either acidosis when the body is too acidic or alkalosis when the body is too alkaline. Acidosis is by far the more common condition in today’s society.
Our bodies have very strong compensatory mechanisms in place to regulate both body temperature and pH. And just as a slight variation in body temperature can signal illness, a slight variation in pH can signal illness as well. The body will attempt to compensate for pH imbalances in two general ways both metabolic and respiratory. The kidneys and lungs play the major roles here. In the case of excess acidity, the respiratory response involves increased breathing which hastens the expulsion of Co2 which carries acid from the body. Conversely, if the body is too alkaline the breathing will slow to increase acidity. With the metabolic response the body relies in large part on alkalizing minerals such as magnesium and calcium and bicarbonate produced by the kidneys to reduce acids and would temper these buffering agents in the case of alkalosis.
The pH of the body is directly related to what we are exposed to on a daily basis. The food we eat, what we drink, the shampoo, soap, and toothpaste we use, medications, chemicals in the work place and around the house, the air we breath, water we bathe with, and some of the not so healthy things we indulge in all effect our pH.
Water has a pH of 7, which is neutral. Food is classified according to its ash value, or the affect that it has on pH after it has been metabolized. A good example here is lemons which are highly acidic by nature but have a high alkalizing affect on the body after they are metabolized. Most all vegetables and fruits are alkaline except cranberries. Greens, grains and spices are typically alkaline. Seeds including hemp hearts, flax, pumpkin and sunflower are alkaline whereas most nuts except almonds and chestnuts are acidic. Fats, oils, animal proteins such as beef, pork, poultry and fish, dairy products, beans and legumes are acidic. Most all sweeteners except raw honey are acidic. Distilled vinegar is acidic, however apple cider vinegar is alkaline. At this time it’s important to note that although almonds and rice are alkaline, almond and rice milk are acidic. The reason for this points back to ash value whereas the milk is an isolated aspect of the once whole food and no longer contains certain nutrients to give it an alkaline ash value. The same holds true for vegetable oils which are acidic compared to the food from which they were derived. Coffee, most all medication, refined and processed foods, artificial ingredients of any kind, chemicals, alcohol, hydrogenated oils, etc. are all acidic.
Not all foods share the same acidity or alkalinity. For example standard feed lot beef which has been fattened on Genetically Modified Corn and shot up with hormones and antibiotics and possibly processed using ammonia will insult the body with much higher acidity than Organically Raised Grass Fed Beef. Fruits and vegetables that have been Organically grown will have a much higher alkalizing affect on the body compared to conventional supermarket produce that has been grown with synthetic fertilizers and has been treated with herbicides and pesticides.
pH says a lot. In fact pH might just say it all. Just about any health condition that one can think of can be traced to pH imbalances. Any person who is currently dealing with a health condition will likely have an overly acidic or alkaline pH and anyone who is typically healthy and without issue and has a robust strong immune system will no doubt likely have a well balanced pH. Theoretically anyone with a steady balanced pH day in day out will by and large be immune to significant illness.
Written by DMK of Seven Grains.