Food For Thought Sundays – Your Body’s pH

First things first, congrats to Sarah from Bake + Bike for coming up with the winning name for Sunday’s series on nutrition! There were tons of great suggestions, but I ended up choosing “Food For Thought Sundays” because that’s exactly what we’re doing – giving food some extra thought! Plus, it has a nice ring to it. Sarah, you will get some loot for winning too!

Now on to today’s Food For Thought topic: pH levels in your body.

This is something I mentioned briefly in last week’s post and got a lot of responses about. I figured it worthwhile to dedicate a whole post to what it’s all about and why it’s something we may want to consider.

I’m sure most of us have conducted a pH test at some point, be it in a chemistry class or in the home. We use the above pH scale to determine if a liquid is acidic (0-6) neutral (7) or basic (8-14). We’re used to testing the pH in things like drinking water or swimming pools… but did you know our body has a pH balance as well?

The blood, saliva  and spinal fluid of a healthy person is actually slightly alkaline at 7.4 on the pH scale. However, that is not the case for most people. We are living in a culture where the majority of people are acidic.

This can be a big problem as acidic bodies are more prone to cancer. I wanted to link this statement to studies proving this. But there are so many out there I can’t pick just one. Kris Carr’s experience is at least the most entertaining proof.

Put simply, high body acidity makes it harder for cells to carry oxygen, which is a ripe environment for abnormal (cancerous) cells to grow. It also prevents the body from absorbing minerals and nutrients.

Thankfully, our body’s pH is something we can control! The most obvious place is with food.

There are hoards of people out there who base their diets on eating mostly alkalizing foods. Brendan Brazier’s Thrive Diet book is another one that goes into great detail on this.

The idea is that the typical North American diet consists mostly of acidic foods that lowers our body’s pH. We should be concentrating more on alkalizing foods that will help get it up to that coveted 7.4 range. That doesn’t mean ban acidic foods altogether, just make sure there’s at least 50% alkalizing foods in there as well.

Click here for a more detailed food list. It’s really interesting!!

Last weekend, I was able to test my own body’s pH simply by using paper test strips on my saliva. You can buy kits meant specifically for this at many health food stores.

Much to my surprise, my spit tested out as neutral! Even though I eat what I would classify as a more acidic diet.

Here comes the second part of the whole pH thing: stress can create more acid in our bodies.

I think the main reason why I’ve remained neutral despite my diet is that I’m a fairly low-stress person. Apart from my occasional bouts of anxiety, I don’t experience any serious day-to-day stress. I’m lucky in that I’ve always been even-tempered and easy going. I truly believe that managing stress levels can affect your body’s pH just as much as the food you eat.

If this is all new information to you, it may seem a little weird to take such serious consideration of your body’s pH. But this is something I’ve been fascinated by for a couple years now. As a person who comes from a family riddled with cancer, it seems like the best bet for giving myself a fighting chance. Plus, it’s never a bad thing to have a little extra motivation to eat my fruits and veggies ;)


Question of the Day: Does any of this surprise you? Where would you say you fall on the pH scale?

Posted on November 21, 2010, in Food For Thought Sundays and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Oh I really think I’m going to like this new series Susan! I love knowing more about the science involved in our bodies – they are so complex. I definitely eat foods from both sides of the scale but i’d say my coffee consumption probablt tilts me towards the more acidic end.

  2. I agree this is fascinating. I think my body would probably fall as neutral as well, although if I were to guess maybe closer to the acidic side.

  3. So I’ve been a long time reader of your blog, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it… and in fact this is my first time commenting. I’m only commenting because this acid/alkaline theory of disease is popping up EVERYwhere, and I just am a little skeptical. I do think that eating the foods at the top of the graph is WAY more healthy than eating the foods towards the bottom, but besides that, I gotta say it might be worth a little more research.

    All foods that leave your stomach are acidic. Then they enter your intestines where secretions from your pancreas neutralize the stomach acids. So no matter what you eat, the food in stomach is acidic and the food in the intestines is alkaline. Dietary modification cannot change the acidity of any part of your body except your urine. Your bloodstream and organs control acidity in a very narrow range… An entire bottle of calcium pills or antacids wouldn’t even change the acidity of your stomach or spit for more than a few minutes. I’m not saying the theory is totally bogus… just saying that I’d need more clinical evidence to back it up.

  4. Wow!! This was a really interesting post- thanks!

  5. I loved learning about this in the NWS!! I really wish we could have gone into it in more detail though – you did an awesome job! And congrats on your perfect pH! ;)

  6. No surprise my dorky ideas weren’t very good. I think Food for Thought Sundays is an excellent description for what your goal is. I believe that I am a more acidic food eater and a more stressed person, but I must find the test to find out. You have peeked my curiosity!

  7. Susie- what’s the deal with the bottled water being more acidic? That really surprised me.

  8. it’s all about plant based foods, real foods, not stressing, doing the best we can…i think that’s key. and of course, coffee, beer, stress, REAL LIFE happen. And when they do..embrace them :) And eat more veggies to balance it out.

    I love that you are a perfect example of great pH AND a liver of life!!! you dont say no thanks to a beer just to have a 7.2 ph. Amen sista!

  9. This is SO interesting! but how do I test myself?
    How fitting that you are “balanced”!

  10. Great post susan, I would to be able to get a test and see how I come out. I would like to think that I’d be neutral at least as I know my diet is good but I think its the stress element that would affect me!

  11. I’ve read a few posts on the subject of pH, but this is so interesting and informative! Thanks, Susan!

    I would hope I would be more neutral… but likely the way I have been eating as of late I am more acidic. But I can physically tell when I am out of balance- my stomach gets all messed up!


  12. I’ve never tested myself, but I think it would be interesting to.

    I do wonder whether acidity is bad in and of itself, or whether it is associated with negative health outcomes because it has a common cause with negative health outcomes (such as eating the standard american diet). Association does not causation make.

    My next question would be whether the pH levels of pre-industrial societies with low cancer rates have been tested – because their diets vary a lot, from ones that would be described as alkalizing, to ones that would seem more acidic (like the Inuit diet, with almost all animal products). However, they all have a very low prevalence of cancer.

    Whoa, holy nerd attack.

    I think generally, eating whole foods that occur in nature and avoiding stress is our best prescription for health.

  13. Thanks so much for this. I have been using pH strips for a while, for myself and with clients. I find it to be really helpful, and the results definitely do vary. And further, it is interesting to see that it varies in a predictable way – the people I expect to have a high pH usually do and vice versa. Foods you eat really do seem to play an important part. You can buy them at any health food store!

  14. This is an interesting topic. I’m certain I’d tend toward acidic due to my love of coffee, tea, cheese and due to having a 15 year old daughter! ;)

  15. I really like this series! Can’t wait for next week.

    I think I am about a 7, since I eat a varied diet.

  16. I’ve been intrigued by this ever since reading a bit in Thrive. You do a good job explaining it.

    I would guess that i’m around neutral… I rest a lot of fruits and vegetables but that’s definitely not all I eat.

  17. This is such an interesting post. I wonder if what you’ve eaten/drank right before taking the test can alter the results?

  18. I’m going to have to be the naysayer here and say this is BOGUS! First of all, the pH of the foods is wrong. Distilled water – acidic? No. By definition, pure water – i.e. distilled water – is 7.

    There are many sources debunking this myth, but I am just quite unhappy that it keeps getting passed around! Here’s are two explanations on why chemists – and most other scientists – know this is quackery:

    I love Brendon Brazier, but this aspect really disappoints me.

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