Acid vs Alkaline Diet
We call them symptoms. They are pesky problems that prevent us from feeling our best. They can be almost anything from fatigue, headaches, and body pain to heartburn or constipation. Typically our symptoms are a reflection of congestion and/or inflammation in the body. Just think for a moment about these two words: Congestion and Inflammation.
Consider congestion. It always reminds me of the freeway at rush hour. Even though it says the speed limit is 65 mph, there are just too many of us on the road to allow us to drive at the posted speed. Have you ever thought about your bodily functions occurring at a “posted speed”? If you think about symptoms of congestion, you will see that the body is not functioning at the speed that it should. Constipated? Your bowels are not running at posted speeds. Fatigued? Your energy levels are not running at posted speeds. Brain fog? Your brain is not optimally running at the posted speed. Unable to lose weight despite a healthy diet? Your metabolism may not be running at the speed it should.
Now consider inflammation. All you have to do is Google that definition and you will find the words reddened, swollen, painful, and hot or feverish. Achy joints? Headaches? Heartburn? Diarrhea? Swollen hands, feet, knees, and/or fingers? Skin rashes or other irritations? If you have pain, blood, redness, rawness or swelling anywhere, you can bet there’s inflammation.
Together, inflammation and congestion are the instigators for a good many of our lifestyle diseases today including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, most digestive disorders such as IBS, acid reflux, and many skin conditions. Most of these conditions were not as common 50 years ago before mass numbers of toxins in our foods and before we began following the FDA Food Pyramid and the Standard American Diet.
The human body is an amazingly balanced organism. For every enzyme or hormone in the human body that increases or speeds something up, there is a counterpart that decreases or slows down an activity. The body is balanced. There is a scale in chemistry, which refers to where a substance falls in terms of its acidity or alkalinity. It is called the pH scale and runs from 1 (very acidic) to over 14 (very basic or alkaline). The Human Body averages and optimally functions around a pH of 7.4. That’s right! Right in the middle. Balanced.
So where does nutrition fit into all of this? All food, when digested, leaves either an acid or alkaline ash in the body. If we eat more acidic foods than alkaline foods, our body becomes burdened with neutralizing the acidity and contributes to inflammation and congestion. If we eat too alkaline a diet, many nutrients cannot be metabolized, our blood would not carry oxygen effectively, and our ability to stay hydrated is impaired. All of this to simply say balance in our food choices really does matter.
Most of our regular readers and patients will not be surprised that balance in our diet comes from consuming plenty of plant food in the form of vegetables, herbs, fruits and water. These are the soothing plant foods that carry the alkalizing side of the equation. They cleanse us, detoxify us and create smooth operations in the human body. To ensure we do not become too alkaline, we also need to eat a selection of meats, eggs, and healthy fats, which tend to be more acidic but bring balance to the diet. Together, this creates a balanced diet, neither too acidic nor too alkaline.
Foods which are highly acidic and have contributed to our inflamed and congested bodies include sugar, grains, grain fed meat, pasteurized dairy products, sugary dairy products, damaged fats, over-the-counter drugs, pharmaceutical drugs, food additives and chemicals. It is not hard to see why we are suffering from symptoms and diseases of inflammation and congestion!
There is no need to over analyze or try to measure all of this. The solution is simple! Eat real, whole unprocessed foods from nature, including plenty of vegetables, drink water, and avoid the acidic foods listed above. Your balanced body will take care of the rest and you may be surprised how many of those pesky symptoms disappear.