Today we are going to take a different angle on nutrition and HOW it affects our bodies on a little different level than you have probably considered before. We are going to learn about the alkaline/acidic nature of food and how maintaining a healthy acid/alkaline balance can improve our health (both for those wanting to lose weight and those wanting to perform at their athletic potential!).
Every food has the potential to either be an acid or alkaline creating food. Acidity and alkalinity are measured in pH (potential of hydrogen). The pH scale goes from 0-14, with 0 being the most acidic, and 14 the most alkaline. Stomach acid pH is 1 (very acidic), water is 7 (neutral), venous blood is 7.35 and baking soda is very alkaline at 12. Ideally, our pH should stay on the alkaline side: between 7.35 and 7.45. (Just so you know, Coke is a 2 on the pH scale, so just a teeny bit less acidic than your stomach acid!) Foods are classified as acid-forming or alkalizing depending on the effect they have on the body. An acid-forming food contributes hydrogen ions to the body, making it more acidic. An alkalizing food removes hydrogen ions from the body, making it more alkaline. The body continually strives to maintain a balanced pH. So, when this balance is compromised, many problems occur because a highly acidic pH forces the body to borrow minerals from vital organs and bones to buffer (neutralize) the acid and safely remove it from the body.
Dr. Loren Cordain (author of the Paleo Diet) tells us: "After digestion, all foods report to the kidneys as being either acidic or alkaline. The kidneys are responsible for fluid balance and maintaining a relatively neutral pH in the body." When acid-yielding foods lower the body's pH, the kidneys coordinate efforts to buffer that acidity. Bones release calcium and magnesium to reestablish alkalinity, and muscles are broken down to produce ammonia, which is strongly alkaline. By the time the response is all over, your bone minerals and broken down muscle get excreted in urine, and you are left with weaker bones and muscles.
The problem with most of us is that we are eating far too many foods that create an acidic environment inside our bodies. Imagine a container full of acid. What do you envision? A healthy, life supporting, disease free, energy creating environment or do you see an environment that is diseased, corrupted, corrosive and destructive? The answer, just in case you were confused, is the diseased, corrosive, destructive one! If you are creating a hostile environment inside your body by consuming foods that create a highly acidic environment in your body, how can you expect to have healthy cellular function, tissue regeneration, muscular repair, efficient fat burning capabilities and an overall healthy and vibrant body? You can't!
Acidosis (or too much acidity in your body) is one of the consequences of eating a highly acidic diet with little intake of alkalizing foods to balance your body's pH.
Some of the more negative effects of acidosis are:
- Arthritic and rheumatic diseases.
- Weak bones and increased risk of osteoporosis. Dr Michael Colgan, in his book "The New Nutrition," says "Acidosis destroys bones, because the body has to steal alkalizing minerals from them to keep blood pH from dropping into the acid range."
- Overweight and or increased risk of obesity
- Cardiovascular damage
- Joint pain, aching muscles and lactic acid buildup
- Degenerative diseases
- Water retention
- And how about...general, overall feeling of crappiness!
So, wanna know what foods you are eating that are most likely causing Acidosis?
- Soda Pop
- Fast Foods
- Refined flour and processed foods such as: muffins, pasta, buns, bagels, pastries, breads
- Overcooked animal flesh, lunch meats (especially with all the chemicals in them), canned tuna.
- Coffee and alcohol
- Starchy carbs
- Most dairy products
Even as I was writing that list I was starting to feel discouraged and crappy cause we ALL eat some of the above listed foods! "Seriously", I am thinking to myself..."What the heck CAN we eat?" Well, guess what? A LOT! It isn't that we can't eat any acidic foods. We need some of them (like certain nuts, quality carbs and dairy). We just want to maintain a nice healthy balance of about 70-80% alkaline foods and the other 20-30% of our food choices coming from the acidic foods (NOT the sugar, pop, and refined crap types of foods! Nice try, though!)
Remember, any of the acidifying foods are GOOD for us! We just want to manage portion control to ensure they are in balance with the alkalizing foods that should take up about 70% of our daily nutritional calories! **DO NOT overcook your protein sources to ensure they are not denatured and destroyed**
Just do more of the following:
1) More leafy greens
2) More vegetables
3 More fresh fruits
4) Lean protein (especially Whey Protein Isolate because it is highly bio-available)
5) Lots and lots of pure, clean water
It really is that EASY! This is yet one more reason why I love the Green Protein Smoothie every day before noon, so you have started your day with amazing nutrition that gives your body a ton of alkalizing benefits!
Below is a list of ALKALIZING AND ACIDIFYING FOODS:
FATS & OILS
DRUGS & CHEMICALS
Coach Keena is a regular contributor at TriEdge and has 15 years experience coaching and training hundreds of individuals. She s a USA Triathlon Certified Coach and holds additional certifications from the National association of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the American Council of Exercise (ACE) as a certified personal trainer. If you would like to contact Coach Keena go to: www.coachkeena.com.