Did you know that the pH level of your blood has to remain between 7.35 and 7.45 in order for you to stay alive? It’s true! Our bodies work very hard to keep our pH level between this range. Isn’t that sweet?
Here’s the thing: there are a lot of ways that we make this process a lot harder for our body than we should. All foods fall into two categories: alkaline and acidic. A lot of us tend to get way too many acidic foods in our diet (breads, sugar, dairy, meat, caffeine, etc.) and not nearly enough alkaline foods (fresh vegetables, most fruits, seeds, sprouted grains…). As a result, our body has to work really, really hard to balance everything out, causing stress and leaving us susceptible to all kinds of health problems.
Here are a few ways to take control and get things a little more balanced:
Control Your Breathing
Breathing is the body’s primary method of maintaining a healthy pH in the face of exercise and other acidifying environmental factors. Chronic hyperventilation frequently accompanies anxiety and stress and is a huge contributor to acidification. Overbreathing can be prevented somewhat by strengthening the heart and lungs through exercise. When the heart becomes more efficient at using oxygen, the number of breaths per minute is reduced, allowing the blood’s pH to normalize. Aerobic exercise is the best for these purposes since it directly works the breathing system.
Use Sea Salt Instead of Table Salt
Table salt is one of the most acidifying foods you can eat. In contrast, sea salt is excellent for alkalizing the body because it contains many minerals in addition to sodium. Many people also enjoy the taste of pure, unrefined sea salt, claiming that table salt is bland by comparison. It is important to use only unrefined sea salt, since many products labeled as sea salt are actually just table salt manufactured from sea water.
Putting sea salt on food is an excellent way to enjoy its benefits. Adding a pinch of sea salt to drinking water improves the flavor and strengthens its pH-balancing properties.
Eat Less Meat, More Fruit and Veggies
High-protein foods are acidifying across the board, and animal proteins such as meat are the biggest culprits of all. To balance your body’s pH, eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables with every meal.
One reason this works is that many plant foods contain high levels of potassium. Potassium has a strong alkalizing effect that helps offset the acidification that sodium causes.
High-calcium foods are also great for balancing pH. Two of the best sources of calcium are milk and cheese, but their high protein contributes to acidification. Instead, try eating more leafy green vegetables. Some, such as kale and collard greens, contain as much calcium as milk and are also low in acidifying protein.
Apple Cider Vinegar
There is a popular misconception that vinegar has an acidifying effect on the body. The truth is actually the opposite! Vinegar alkalizes the body by causing it to alkalize the blood in response to the addition of acid to the stomach. The same is true for citrus fruits and other foods containing citric acid.
To make taking vinegar as pleasant as possible, you can dilute a small amount in a glass of water. You can also drizzle apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar over salad for an alkalizing combo meal.
On a side note, white vinegar is just as effective as apple cider vinegar for alkalizing and is also much cheaper.
Eat Less Sugar
Sugar and refined flour comprise the bulk of many modern diets, but they are some of the most acidifying foods of all. Stripped of alkalizing minerals, they also deplete the body’s own mineral reserves. Acidification is only one of many harmful effects these foods have on the body, so this entire category of foods is best avoided by those interested in maintaining health.
For something sweet, have some fruit instead, which doesn’t contain high levels of sugar and doesn’t acidify the body. When you make baked goods, cook with whole grain flours, which still contain plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Use Natural Personal Care Products
I’m guessing cosmetics and personal care items weren’t even on your radar if this is the first you’re hearing about pH balance.
Unfortunately, even some of the items considered to be the best anti-aging skin care products have harmful toxins that can disrupt our pH levels. Choosing natural products is so important because our skin absorbs up to 60% of the ingredients of what we put on our skin.