Much controversy surrounds the concept that what you eat helps to determine the pH of your body and can either promote health or cause disease. It is either written off as a pseudo science or esteemed to have unlocked the secrets of maintaining an environment within your body in which only health can thrive. There have been many controversial studies on the matter supporting the theory. If you look at this chart I have included, you can see that the more acidic a food is, also the more unhealthy it is generally speaking. Well, is it the alkalinity that is playing the role of keeping disease banished, or the nutrients of anti-nutrients of a food that determine that?
Recent research has shown the perhaps the pH theory has some merit because many minerals can be classified as alkalizing. These minerals play many important roles in the body and it might just be the actual functioning of the the minerals that promotes health and not that the minerals are “alkalizing” the body. We actually do not want to alkalize our body. In extreme cases, people through diet can cause acidosis (<7.35) or alkalosis (>7.45) in the body and results can be life threatening. Normal blood pH is recognized at 7.40 (very slightly alkaline). Although both relatively uncommon, acidosis is more readily seen because it is much easier to acidify the body than to alkalize it. The view that pH plays a role in disease is not that people are likely to reach acidosis, but that they never reach in from a medical standpoint and yet are chronically slightly acidic and overtime it harms the body and paves the way for diseases to propagate.
Now the blood pH is not just a one size fits all measurement for how acidic or alkaline our body should be. In fact different parts of our bodies have different desired pH levels. For example, our gut needs to be acidic. If the pH of the gut is too alkaline it encourages the growth of bad bacteria and yeasts for are very detrimental and can lead to bacterial infections, leaky gut and nutritional deficiencies and toxicities. As you can see, we do not want to simply Alkalize our body. Eating foods that are alkaline because they contain many alkaline minerals however is a good idea and beneficial. Studies have shown that a diet using a pH guide can prevent muscle wasting, bone deterioration, and many issues related to mineral deficiencies.
Now just because something is acidic does not mean that you shouldn’t eat it, you need to use common sense. A fillet of wild caught Salmon has many health benefits but would be considered acidic. Also grains are acidic but also have many health benefits. And, some foods that you would assume are acidic are in fact alkalizing (lemons). So in the end don’t worry about alkalizing your body, worry about the nutrient content of the foods that you consume and ENJOY them. You should begin to worry about becoming too acidic however if your diet is still nutritious but very heave on the protein and grain side and light on the fruit and veggies. So use all of your knowledge about nutrition and use the pH information as a support to that. It can even be beneficial in determining which skin care products to use (skins pH should remain around 4.5)!