Nutrition: Are You An Acid Or Alkaline Player?

Body chemistry is influenced by food, emotions, metabolic, and muscular activity. Bodily fluids respond to these factors by fluctuating between acid and alkaline states. Acid foods (fruits and vegetables) are oxidized into alkalines, and alkaline foods (meats and grains) are oxidized into acids. To be healthy, the human body must have a balance between acid and alkaline.

The measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution is called pH (potential of hydrogen). On the pH scale, seven is neutral. Higher numbers indicate increased alkalinity while lower numbers represent increasing acidity.

A diet that is not balanced can stress body chemistry by causing extreme acidity (acidosis) or alkalinity (alkalosis). Each extreme has symptoms and can cause illness. For example, blood is always maintained at approximately 7.4. The slightest deviation will cause trouble and eventually death. The typical American diet, which is high in meats and refined carbohydrates and low in vegetables and fruits, is highly acid-forming.

The pH of urine gives an accurate index of the natural acid/alkaline cycles of the body. Checking your urine pH with pH paper strips will tell you if you need to increase acid-forming or alkaline-forming foods. Urine pH generally fluctuates between 5.0 and 7.5. The ideal urine pH is believed to be in the range of 6.2 to 6.8 (mildly acid). This range is said to promote healing and building in the body while allowing for excretion of wastes.

According to experts, an overly-acid condition is common today. If the kidneys have a hard time excreting excess acid, more alkalizing minerals are drawn from bone reserves. A recent study found that women taking a potassium citrate supplement, which provides a small amount of alkali, boosted bone mineral density.

Besides contributing to osteoporosis, an acid pH can stress the adrenal glands and cause fatigue. Also, a study found that smokers smoked fewer cigarettes when their pH was increased with baking soda (an alkalizer). Bottom line: To improve your pH balance, eat more alkalizing vegetables and fruits and fewer burgers and sodas. You might become a better acid rock player if you make yourself more alkaline.