Acid/Alkaline balance in the body (Body pH)
The body functions at its best when it can maintain an internal biochemical environment that is slightly alkaline (pH 7.39). There are different pH levels throughout the body. The pH of blood has a very small range, from a slightly more acidic reading of 7.36 to a more alkaline reading of 7.42. When the body pH goes out of this range, the body must correct and restore it, but when it can’t, it will no longer function, and mental and physical illnesses begin to occur.
The pH range of the body’s tissues and organic fluids that surround and are within cells varies. The internal environment of the body can withstand more significant pH changes than the blood can, but should stay within the range for optimum health. An exception to this is urine, which can be between 6 and 4.5. This is possible because urine is eliminated on a regular basis and does not remain in the body for a long.
Organs and organic fluids have different pH as well and correspond to the exact needs of the body. Areas of the body that are essentially acid include the colon (pH 6.8) to kill microbes and toxins, outer layers of the skin (pH 5.2) to kill microbes before they enter the body, and the gastric region (pH 2) to digest proteins. The more alkaline areas are the inner layers of the skin (pH 7.35), pancreatic juices (7.5-8.8 pH) and the small intestine (8 pH).
Restoring the acid/alkaline balance refers to the basic internal environment. It is the acidification of the internal environment that is responsible for health problems.
Acidosis is much more common than alkalosis and is due in part to the typical American diet, which is high in acid-producing animal products and processed foods and low in alkaline producing foods like fresh vegetables. We consume a large amount of acid-producing beverages like coffee and soft drinks, acid-forming prescription drugs and artificial additives. Stress and negative emotions can raise the acid level of the body as well, and we experience a significant amount of stress daily. Currently, the average American diet is 90% acid. A healthy acid-alkaline balance needs to be 80% alkaline and 20% acid.
Acid in the body weakens the cells of our bodies, depresses our nervous system, causes muscle and skin weakness and tone, clouds our thinking and strains our organs. Obesity, too, can be a result of an over-acid diet when the fat cells bind to acids to carry them away from vital organs in order to protect them.
The body has several ways in which it maintains its optimal pH. Besides the intake of minerals from vegetables that are alkaline, we alkalize the body through emotions of happiness, joy and love, the oxygen that we get through our lungs, the bicarbonate produced by the pancreas, and retrieving the minerals stored in our bones.
80% of your daily food intake should be alkaline foods. This includes most fruits, vegetables, and some cereals (millet and fresh sweet corn) and some nuts (almonds, chestnuts and fresh coconuts). Only 20% of your foods should be acid. This includes all flours, rice, oats, animal proteins, dairy, fruits that are canned, preserved, dried with sulfur, fresh cranberries, plums, prunes and olives, most nuts, coffee, salt, black pepper, spices, soft drinks, sugar, and popcorn.