Do we need to alkalise the body?
The standard Australian diet is full of processed foods, refined sugars, salt, pesticides, chemical additives, alcohol, coffee, stress and a general lack of sleep. These are all contributing factors to creating acidic waste within the body. When our body is in an acidic state we are more vunerable to chronic disease, lethargy and feelings of general malaise.
Our bodies have a very effective buffer mechanism to keep the pH stable. Our blood pH is naturally slightly alkaline and needs to be very tightly regulated to always stay within a pH range of 7.35 and 7.45. If our blood pH were to become acidic this can become life threatening. For healthy individuals this should not be an issue no matter how much acidic food you eat as the body will adjust accordingly. If we consume acidic foods the body will naturally adapt, infact many foods are acid forming but some more so than others. Our general metabolic processes produce acid waste which is removed via urine and via breathing out C02, a mild acid. Our respiratory rate increases so that we breathe out more C02 than usual which is why deep breathing can naturally help to alkalise the body. This is called compensatory respiratory alkalosis and is a short-term fix by helping to keep the pH stable while the kidneys do the real hard work to remove the excess acid waste .
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life threatening form of acidosis that occurs in type 1 diabetes but is uncommon in healthy individuals. This is a disordered state when blood sugar becomes high and the blood becomes acidic. Medical intervention is required to normalise the blood pH otherwise organ failure and even death can occur.
Some foods once ingested will produce more acidic waste than others and may cause more of an acid waste build up within the body. Whilst the body will naturally balance the pH of the blood, eating a diet high in acid forming foods can be detrimental to our health. When acid waste accumulates this can put strain on our organs and set us up for disease and inflammation. When we consume too many acid forming foods this can cause the body to leach alkaline minerals from the bones, particularly calcium and may further put us at risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis. Bone density naturally declines with age and so minimising acid forming foods can help to protect our bones. Most enzyme reactions function at the optimal best in an alkaline environment. Eating a very high protein diet or following a ketogenic diet can increase acidic waste in the body such as nitrogen and urea thereby increasing the load on the kidneys. Eating a diet that is high in alkaline forming foods may therefore play an important role in keeping us healthy and feeling energised. A 2012 review published in the Journal of Environmental Health showed that maintaining your body’s pH via an alkaline diet can be helpful in reducing chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, vitamin D deficiency, and low bone density, just to name a few.
Acid forming foods
Protein – Meat, poultry, eggs
Foods to increase to minimise acid waste
Drink filtered water to flush out waste products
Increase fibre in the diet to remove toxins
Green wholefood powders such as chlorella
Fruits and vegetables
Lemon juice in water
Apple Cider Vinegar
When we eat a diet high in processed foods, salt, sugar, meat, coffee and alcohol it will naturally create more of a toxic environment for our bodies. Cutting back on the refined, processed foods and increasing fruits and vegetables is a naturally healthy way to go. Include good quality proteins at every meal and be sure to include plenty of fresh produce to promote vitality and wellbeing. Remember it is all about moderation, when we eat too much of any food even healthy foods such as nuts or legumes it can create toxicity issues.