March 31, 2016

Why you need to re-alkalise your body!

You may not have considered how vital it is to maintain the correct balance of pH levels in your body with regards to your long term health, however, in recent years, more and more health professionals have come to the conclusion that we must look at the importance of pH balance as the first line of defence against sickness and disease.   Homeostatic imbalances within the body generally occur due to our diet, dehydration, even the quality of water we drink, in addition little or no exercise, exposure to toxicity and electro smog, pollution, and psychological stresses are all factors that can often lead to imbalances of water and blood sugar levels, hormonal levels and our bodily pH levels.   If you can imagine, back in prehistoric times, we used to eat primarily an 'alkalising' vegetarian diet comprising of berries, shrubs, algae, sea vegetables, roots and leaves all of which are fantastic for keeping the correct pH levels required by our bodies to function properly.   Our diets have dramatically changed over the last several hundred years. During this time, we've been heavily consuming meat, grains, sugar, salt, alcohol and dairy, which are hugely acidic. Due mainly to the domestication of livestock, mass production and industrialisation. As a result, the body struggles to adjust to such extreme amounts of acidity that are being continuously consumed.   Additionally, in more recent years, our bodies have been bombarded with processed, ready-made foods that contain even greater amounts of sugar, salt, dairy and unhealthy trans fats, all of which can add up to cause many of the health problems that we see today.  

Why does your body need to be more alkaline than acidic?

  Well, an imbalance of acidity/ alkalinity creates a favourable condition for bacteria growth such as yeast and other harmful organisms. All cells that make up the human body are slightly alkaline, and therefore they must maintain some alkalinity to function and remain healthy.   We rely on absorbed nutrients to build our body's tissues, fluids and other substances and to breakdown substances that are used as energy, or to form waste by-products.These ongoing processes (known as the body's metabolism), rely heavily on the actions of enzymes, hormones and other biochemical reactions ......every second of the day and night. However, during the process, each alkaline cell performs its task of respiration, that is, it secretes metabolic wastes, which are acid in nature. Although these wastes are used for cellular energy and function, they should not be allowed to build up, which they can often do especially around joints and in muscles. One example of this build up is the often painful lactic acid, created through exercise, which is often experienced in the form of 'cramps'. The body goes to great lengths to neutralise and detoxify these acids before they become toxins within and around the cell, changing the cellular environment.   This just shows us how much the body metabolism depends on the body being in equilibrium and operating at the right pH level. Any imbalance in the body's pH levels can weaken the immune system and affect all major body systems - especially the digestive (liver, gall bladder), intestinal (colon and small intestine), circulatory and immune systems. In addition many vital bodily functions, including enzyme activity and hormone balance are completely dependent upon the body maintaining healthy pH levels that should range from between 6.4 to 6.8 for saliva, and 6.0 to 7.5 for urine.   pH imbalance disturbs the oxygen affinity of haemoglobin in the blood. The more acidic we become, the harder it is for oxygen to be present and biological terrain becomes more anaerobic. Without adequate oxygenation, unfriendly bacteria, viruses, moulds and fungus can flourish. Unfortunately, a state of 'acidosis' forces the body to borrow minerals including calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium from vital organs and bones to buffer the acid and safely remove it from the body. This process can severely weaken these organs and bones over time, and further stresses the body by utilising its vital energy sources.   Once it has begun, the condition of acidosis within the body is like a descending spiral of stress. Acidity causes inflammation. Inflammation causes pain. Pain causes stress. Stress causes acidity. In fact, EVERY disease in the body actually turns the body even more acidic.Stress, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, even high protein diets, excessive exercise and medication also create greater acidity levels within our bodies.   According to the latest research, our body now stores huge amounts of acidity in our fat cells, just to protect our kidneys from overworking and to prevent kidney failure. Therefore body acidity levels also play a major factor in people putting on weight and increasing body cellulite.  

What can you do to re-alkalise your body?

  Aim to eat 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% acid-forming foods every day in your diet.   80% Alkaline-forming foods - examples include:   Lemons, watermelon, lentils, blackberries, raspberry, pineapple, strawberries, limes, grapefruit, mangoes, asparagus, onions, vegetable juices (excl tomato), broccoli, garlic, grapes, berries, apples, pears, almonds, radishes, yams, endives, beetroots, celery, lettuce, organic carrots, cantaloupe melon, bean sprouts, cashews, chestnuts, millet, quinoa, goats milk, apple cider vinegar, bananas, oranges, fresh ginger root, avocados, mandarin oranges, tangerines, horse-radish root, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, kiwi fruit, oats, wild rice, chestnuts, natural olives, green leafy vegetables, sea vegetables, sea salt, natural still mineral water.   20% Acidic-forming foods (limit your intake of these to small portions only), examples include:   Cranberries, prunes, fried potatoes, beans, seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, meat, fish, dairy, eggs, tea, coffee, vegetable oils and fats, fried foods, sugar, refined/processed foods eg. White bread, rice and pasta, fizzy soft drinks, fizzy water, processed meats and pies, cakes and pastries, ALL alcohol, soy milk, most grains, tomatoes, carrots, couscous, lobster, mussels, shrimps, soy beans, red wine vinegar, white vinegar yeast, tofu.   Simple lifestyle changes can help contribute to a balance in homeostasis and to correct pH levels. For example, first thing in the morning, BEFORE you do anything else, drink a glass of water and lemon juice, it helps alkalise the body and kick-start the liver for the day ahead. Continue drinking this throughout the day if you can (in addition to drinking plain filtered water throughout the day) it can really help create a more healthy and balanced 'internal environment' for your body. It is important to reduce your intake of sugars, dairy, meat, refined and processed foods, caffeine intake and alcohol, and eat lots of green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits throughout the day to help your body get back into balance again. 'Alkalising' dietary changes made to your body's pH levels can lead to weight loss, a reduction in joint inflammation, reduced gastric problems, increased energy levels, reduced arthritic symptoms, better sleep patterns, improved youthful looking skin, faster healing of the body, stronger hair, bones and teeth, and much more. Deep-breathing and yoga are also great for your body because deep-breathing is more alkaline-forming, which is great for restoring relaxation, balance and harmony to your body.   By Zoe Vanderbilt   B.Sc