Remember high school science class? Well, if you don’t, here’s a little refresher course. The body maintains a delicate pH balance. Technically, pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration in solution. Wha? Don’t worry I won’t get too technical. For now all you really need to know is that the pH scale runs from 0-14. Neutral pH is 7.0. The higher the pH (greater than 7) the more alkaline, while a pH lower than 7 is acidic.
Proper pH varies throughout your body. Saliva ranges between 6.8-7.4 while your urine is normally more acid, especially in the morning due to the metabolic process of preparing for elimination. Health hint: when using pH strips to test your urine ignore the first morning pee reading – start with your next bathroom visit. By far the most important measurement is blood pH and it has a very narrow range. An understanding of how to keep your blood in an alkaline range is important for maintaining good health. Your body doesn’t just “find” the balance it works extremely hard to create it. When you make poor lifestyle choices or are burdened by a toxic environment, your body has to work harder to create a peaceful homeostasis.
For good health our bodies need to be slightly alkaline (with a pH of between 7.365 and 7.45). Sounds simple right? But this is not mathematical scaled based on arithmetic, pH operates on a logarithmic scale with multiples of 10. Therefore, it takes ten times the amount of alkalinity to neutralize an acid. I wish I was a graph wizz, I’m not, so here’s my very basic attempt at explaining this…
0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14 (The pH Scale – neutral is 7)
A jump from 7 to 6 doesn’t seem like a lot but in actuality it will take ten times the amount of alkalinity to neutralize. 7 to 5 = 100 times. 7 to 4 = 1000 times. 7 to 3 = 10,000 times. Get the picture?
Now think of the standard American diet. Most folks are bathing their cells in an acid bath by making poor 3 or more times per day with coffee, dairy, sugar, more coffee, more dairy , then factory farmed meat, and then maybe even some frozen yogurt for dessert (aka frozen chemicals).
One of the biggest causalities of the SAD—standard American diet—is the toll it takes on the body, especially the digestive system, liver, and kidneys. Inflammation, allergies, arthritis, skin problems, mood disorders, depression, constipation, bowel issues, stress (physical & mental) and chronic disease LOVE this diet.
By eating a more alkaline diet (leafy greens, wheatgrass, veggies, sprouts, avocados, juicing, green smoothies, soups) as opposed to an acidic diet (high in animal products, processed carbs, refined sugar, and booze, cigs and coffee), we flood our bodies with chlorophyll, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and oxygen. Healthy food creates healthy cells and healthy thoughts. Conversely, junk goes in and junk comes out.
Look at your plate, peek in your glass. What direction are you moving in? On the pH scale, Soda = 2. Coffee = 4. Cucumber = 7. Get the picture? Burger, fries, diet cola, muffin, candy bar? Acid bath! Green drinks, salads, sprouts, wheatgrass? Alkaline super disco! Your goal is to make energy deposits instead of constant withdrawals.
Peace and pH!
To learn more about plant-based nutrition, check out our video course The Ultimate Guide To Plant-Based Nutrition With Rich Roll.