Ever wonder why refined grains and processed sugars make you feel sluggish after eating?
The answer may lie in where they stand on the pH scale.
These items are considered acidic, unlike fresh fruits and vegetables, which are mainly alkaline. The more acidic foods you eat, the more likely you are of developing serious health conditions.
Blood & pH
On the pH scale, 7 is considered neutral while 14 is alkaline and 0 is acidic. Stomach acid typically rates at 3.4 while blood is neutral and slightly alkaline, ranging between 7.35-7.45. This range is optimal for proper oxygen and nutrient transportation throughout the body (1).
When blood gets too acidic, the kidneys produce sodium bicarbonate to act as a buffer. When the kidneys are over-worked, your body begins to leech alkalizing minerals such as calcium, sodium, magnesium and potassium from your bones, muscles and major organs instead.
Acidosis the medical term for acidic blood. This condition can either be caused by problems in the respiratory and digestive tract, although neurological disorders can also come into play (2).
During respiratory acidosis, the blood becomes too acidic because of high levels of carbon monoxide. Asthma, lung injury, obesity and environmental pollutants are often the cause.
Metabolic acidosis, on the other hand can have many other causes, like: a high-fat diet that’s low in carbohydrates, kidney failure, obesity, dehydration, aspirin or methanol poisoning and diabetes. Eating acidic foods can also contribute to acidosis.
It doesn’t take a lot to get your body out of balance, a slight pH imbalance that reads anything below 7.35 is enough to trigger the following symptoms:
- rapid and shallow breathing
- lack of appetite
- increased heart rate
Because of mineral leeching, over-acidity can also increase your risk for osteoporosis, cancer, liver problems, and heart disease (3).
Who Does Acidosis Affect?
Acidosis can affect anyone, but being inactive, smoking and eating a poor diet are the largest risk factors for the condition. People suffering from alcoholism, liver failure or seizures should take extra special care of their diet to avoid acidosis.
Diabetics, on the other hand can suffer from ketoacidosis, a life-threatening problem that occurs when the body doesn’t have enough insulin to use sugar for energy and begins to use fat instead. This process releases ketones, a substance that becomes poisonous in large doses. This build up can cause cerebral edema, liver failure and cardiac arrest (4).
How To Avoid Acidosis
The most important foods to avoid are dairy products, red meats and fish, refined sugars and refined grains. Genetically modified and processed foods can also contribute to the condition.
Instead, fuel your body with more nutrient-dense produce, aiming for a ratio of 80% vegetables- 20% fruit.
If you don’t know where to start, try these powerful alkaline foods:
- Turnip greens
- Brussel sprouts
If you’ve been suffering from acidity for a long time, eat more calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium to replenish your body.
It’s also important to get adequate sleep, breathe deeply and avoid stress.