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?