Environmental toxins, excess sugar, medications, and too much caffeine all create excess acidity in the body. And an overly acidic diet eventually makes our bodies more susceptible to disease.
It's imperative that we offset these stressors with habits that alkalize the body so we reach a more neutral pH level. Here are a few ways to do it:
1. Drink plenty of water.
Adequate water intake supports all body systems and clears out excess toxins. Drink half your body weight in ounces daily to keep your body systems regulated. So if you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 ounces of water. Carry a water bottle with you and fill it with filtered water all day. (Drinking from plastic bottles can wreak havoc on your hormones.) For an extra boost, add lemon! Lemon water is highly alkaline and it contains vitamin C, which aids in digestion.
2. Support your lymph.
Support lymphatic detoxification by exercising daily, dry brushing, and practicing breathwork techniques or breath-focused forms of yoga. Eating whole foods, focusing on self-care, keeping up with a spiritual practice, and reducing stressors in your life all create more alkaline blood flow.
3. Trade coffee for herbal or green tea.
Green tea is highly alkaline. Try jasmine, sencha, or matcha, or switch to a less acidic coffee.
4. Replace sugar with stevia, coconut sugar, or small amounts of honey.
Sugar is one of the most acidic foods, and it pops up everywhere in our day-to-day lives. Try to balance the amount you are having by using alternative sweeteners as much as possible.
5. Add a salad or add greens to every meal.
Leafy greens are highly alkaline and rich in oxygen. Load up on them by adding a spoonful of green powder to your smoothies, or buy liquid chlorophyll to put in your water. Drink fresh green vegetable juices as often as possible.
6. Try oil pulling.
This ancient Ayurvedic practice works to cleanse the mouth, balance acids, and eliminate bad breath. Try swishing with 1 tablespoon of raw organic coconut oil daily for 15 to 20 minutes. I love doing this in the shower—it's so energizing!
7. Chew your food.
This one may sound obvious, but it's important to remember that digestion begins in the mouth! Saliva is alkaline-forming, so chewing every mouthful 20 to 40 times is ideal.
8. Sweat (or bathe) it out.
The more we sweat, the more toxins we release. The fewer toxins in our systems, the less acidic our bodies are. Infrared saunas, steam baths, and hot yoga classes are fantastic ways to take your sweating to the next level. I also love to soak in an Epsom salt bath a few times a week. One cup of Epsom salts plus 10 drops of lavender oil equals total alkaline bliss.
9. Move your body.
Exercise regularly to actively move acids out of the body. This keeps the lymph system flowing and creates more alkaline blood. Dancing, running, and swimming are great at getting the lymph going. Restorative practices like Iyengar yoga, Yin yoga, and gentle stretching also counteract acids that build up from intense activity. Constantly mix up your routine!
10. Sleep and de-stress.
Stress creates cellular acidity. Always work on bringing yourself back into balance by creating restorative rituals that make you feel good and balance your mind-body connection. Go to bed early; meditate as often as possible; take baths; journal; go for a walk after dinner; do whatever it is that makes you feel centered.
Kristin Dahl is a Los Angeles based nutritionist, herbalist, and women’s wellness educator whose teachings emanate from her extensive education in holistic healing, Ayurveda, herbal medicine, plant-based cooking, and functional nutrition. Her book, The Art of Wellness, co-written with Olympic Gold Medalist Stephanie Rice, has gained global attention for its integrative guidance on health and wellness. Dahl’s approach merges the practical and spiritual, educating and empowering individuals to take preventative steps and make lasting change.