(BeWellBuzz) There is some confusion concerning the pH of various foods. This is because some that are acidic outside of the body, become alkaline forming when digested. Further, different bodies may show different results because each person’s inner chemistry is somewhat unique, and foods will differ in acid/alkaline balance based on various factors such as freshness, conditions of soil or, if animal foods, quality of feed. Dairy products, for instance, are often assumed acid forming because they contain lactic acid. However, this is a “weak” acid, and the more fresh the milk, the lesser the level of lactic acid. Dairy milk also contains high levels of alkaline minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Remember that the term alkaline means several things:
- Able to neutralize an acid
- Having a pH of greater than 7
- Having a lower concentration of hydrogen ions
Because the alkaline components of dairy can be strong enough to neutralize the lactic acid, fresh, untreated dairy foods can actually be alkalizing.
This will get easier with practice. There are many books available with guidelines and instructions; and most healthcare professionals today are not only familiar with, but also proponents of the alkaline diet. Here are some simple guidelines to help you begin to make changes that will assist your body in achieving overall disease resistance, health and longevity.
1. Get To Know Your pH
If your fluids are overly acid or alkaline, it indicates the same condition in the blood, which is trying to release either acid or alkaline compounds through bodily fluids in order to keep pH normal and maintain life. Therefore, many will test their saliva and/or urine in order to determine whether their diet is imbalanced and weakened to dis-ease; or balanced and strengthening for life.
You can purchase pH test strips in most drug and even grocery stores. Be sure to take morning samples before consuming any food or drink; and evening samples at least two hours after intake of any food or drink.
You may want to begin testing pH balance in both saliva and urine even before you make any dietary changes. That way you can measure the difference as you move into the alkaline diet. In the beginning, taking a few samples throughout the day may help you to calculate an average, which is a good way to determine the overall pH value, as well as become familiar with the effects of certain meals upon your pH.
2. Aim For a Healthy pH Balance
Opinions differ but the healthy pH measurement of saliva is typically a bit more acidic, necessary for digestive processes, at about 6.4 up to 7.0
For urine, a good pH would range from 6.5-8.0, depending on proximity to meals and time of day. A value of 6.5-7.0 in the morning is normal for the urine, but should become more alkaline at 7.5-8.2 by evening. Anything outside of these parameters may be an indication of health imbalance.
If you are to far on either end of the scale, adjust diet, and talk to your healthcare professional about options, treatments and meal plans.
3. Know What You’re Eating
In general, alkaline diet pro’s recommend we eat about a 4:1 ratio of veggies to meat, alkalizing foods to acidifying foods. The idea is a familiar one.
There are tons of acid/alkaline food charts available to the public. Here are some initial notes to run with.
All fresh, raw veggies are alkaline forming foods. Some are more alkalizing than others, such as avocado, broccoli, sweet potatoes and cucumber. Examples of slightly alkalizing veggies are artichokes and onions.
Fruits differ widely. Citrus fruits such as grapefruits, lemons and limes are surprisingly alkalizing in the body, along with young bananas (not overripe), watermelon and coconut. But apples, blueberries, cranberries, peaches and strawberries are slightly acidifying.
Beans and legumes are mostly alkalizing, but chickpeas and red beans can also be slightly acidifying.
Meats, whole grains, most nuts, all processed foods and sugar are generally acid forming.
Dairy foods such as fresh cheese and fresh buttermilk, or raw whole milk are wonderfully alkalizing.
Cultured dairy such as fresh yogurt and kefir are acidifying, and can be an excellent addition to diet in the case of candida, which thrives in an alkaline environment.
4. Be Familiar With the Tenets of Food Combining
In general, there are no hard and fast rules that best suit every “birthday suit.” But there are strong guidelines concerning which foods ought not to be consumed together, in order for optimal digestion; thus, absorption; thus, nourishment; thus, health and longevity. These are some general tenets of food combining:
Avoid combining proteins with starch and sugars. That means skip the bun with your hamburger. You also want to avoid sugary foods. Both of these can prevent digestion of proteins, as the body work on carbohydrates first, causing the meat to sit around for far too long, impeding nutrient absorption and causing fermentation.
Eat fruit by itself. Fruit tends to digest faster than all other foods. If ingested with slow metabolizing foods such as meat, the fruit will tend to remain in the stomach for too long, causing it to ferment.
Desserts should be enjoyed a couple of hours following your meal. The sugars will immediately attract the digestive processes
This can be way more fun and easy than it at first seems. Pay attention to food charts as a guide, and especially pay attention to changes in the pH of your fluids. Your own body will ultimately tell you which foods and food combinations help to maintain healthiest pH for you. If you’re feeling called to an alkaline diet, many nutritionists and health professionals including doctors and naturopaths can assist you in your new goals, and you can also check the local bookshelves for everything from cookbooks to personal testimonies of how eating an alkaline diet has changed people’s lives.