Know Your pH
Normally, the body uses the lungs and kidneys to maintain pH
Photo Credit : iStock,
The pH scale, which runs from 0 to 14, is a measure of acidity and alkalinity. A pH of 7.0 denotes neutrality, a pH below 7.0 denotes acidity and a pH above 7.0 denotes alkalinity.
Normally, the body uses the lungs and kidneys to maintain pH. Ideally, alkaline is the body's natural and pure state. However, many factors in today's lifestyle like over-consumption of processed foods, overdose of antibiotics, the natural process of aging, and even stress contribute to an acidic environment in the body.
Many of us are aware that an acidic ambiance encourages diseases to thrive in the body. An acidic pH means the body has to borrow crucial minerals from organs, bones, tissues to neutralize and remove excess acid. Over acidity may reflect in acute symptoms such as yeast/fungal overgrowth (like candida), chronic fatigue, slow elimination, hormonal imbalances, premature aging, free radical damage (which may lead to cancerous mutations), weight gain, bladder and kidney damage such as kidney stones, diabetes, joint pain, and lactic acid build up and even cancer.
Fortunately, for most of us, it’s not too late to make amends to fix and maintain this acid-alkaline ratio in our body. After all, prevention is better than cure! A pH range of 7.2- 7.4 is critical for life and falling below 7.2 is called acidosis, and above 7.4 is termed alkalosis. A well-balanced diet which includes a right ratio of alkaline: acidic foods (70:30) can prevent both extremes. It is advisable to include plant-based foods such as nuts, beans , fruits & vegetables in majority along with limited intake of meats, eggs, cheese and other dairy foods(acidic in nature).
Caffeine, sugar, alcohol, tobacco and almost all protein based foods are acidic in nature. Fruits and vegetables help improve the sodium-potassium balance with possible benefits for bone and muscle health, thereby preventing hypertension, strokes and other chronic diseases.
Our modern day lifestyle coupled with poor diet makes a well-balanced diet an unachievable dream for many. This led to a marketing hype called “alkaline” water as a means of fixing acid –reflux and many other lifestyle conditions. Let’s not forget that unless one has lung or kidney disease, the pH is regulated regardless of the beverages or foods you consume. When you drink water that is a little alkaline, the acid in the stomach neutralises it before it enters the bloodstream. There are conflicting researches to support pros and cons of alkaline water.
Proponents of alkaline water claim it slows down ageing and bone loss (remember acidity leaches out calcium from bones!), alleviates acid reflux, helps burn fat and even prevents diseases like hypertension, elevated cholesterol, diabetes and even cancer. However, there aren’t sufficient researches to validate all of the above claims What you eat and drink only alters the pH of your urine. So when you drink alkaline water, you’ll change the pH of what’s in your toilet bowl, not your blood. So essentially, you’re paying a lot of money to drink something that won’t affect your body’s pH. Ancient food wisdom of storing water in an earthen clay pot is probably the best kind of alkaline water that is well documented and scientifically backed.
Like it is for all things goods, excess of alkalinity is also not good. Elevating the pH too much may impair digestion and cause dry and itchy skin, according to UCLA Health.
American council on Science and Health states that stomach acidity is vital for digestion and nutrient extraction. In addition, many enzymes aren't activated until they are exposed to the hydrochloric acid in the stomach and intestines. With these factors in mind, if alkaline water does, indeed, raise body pH, which would reduce stomach acidity, it could be very harmful for health. Not only cancer cells, but neither can any other cells survive in an overly alkaline environment.
If there’s an imbalance in your pH level, your body will correct it, no matter what you drink. For example, if your blood becomes too acidic, you will breathe out more carbon dioxide. The kidneys are also able to excrete excess acid in your urine. Human body is a complex, yet wonderful machine that is designed to find its own balance. And it will always do that, provided we give it the right environment to repair and recover.
Around The World
Present at the launch Dr. Neerja Birla unveiled suicide prevention toolkit to combat the alarming rise of suicides in India ...
Alight is a cloud-based human capital technology and services provider that powers confident health, wealth and well-being decisions for 36 million pe...
In a study on mice, a group of researchers identified a crucial element for recovering functional activity following spinal cord injury...
Some of those infected may develop more severe illness and pneumonia, resulting in a more bleak outlook...
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is disrupted, leading to a variety of debilitating consequences...
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) has emerged as a global health challenge, with far-reaching consequences for individuals and nations alike ...