In our daily lives, it is very important to know or monitor the acidicity or alkalinity of the drinks or foods we eat in order to strike a balance for our body physiology.
Usually the acidicity or alkalinity of a given fluid is measured on a PH scale. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A fluid that has a pH of 7 is considered to be neutral; pure water is considered to have a neutral pH and this is why it is a neutral medium for all biological processes of our body.
Fluids that have a pH below the level 7.0 scale like lemon juice or coffee are considered to be acidic. And fluids that have a pH above 7.0 like milk are considered to be alkaline. This also partly explains why low-warm milk is usually advisable to individuals with gastric irritations.
Each number on the PH scale represents a tenfold difference from adjacent numbers. That is to say a liquid that has a pH of 6 is ten times more acidic than a liquid that has a pH of 7, and a liquid with a pH of 5 is 100 times more acidic than pure water.
It’s worth to point out that most carbonated soft drinks have a PH of 3 that makes them almost 10,000 times more acidic than pure water.
The end products of what you eat and drink results in an acid or alkaline product to be assimilated by the body’s intestines.
The body’s cells produce energy on a continual basis and a number of different acids are formed as well as released into the body fluids.
The acids generated by the daily metabolic activities are usually unavoidable as long as the body has to generate energy to survive and will produce a continuous supply of acids.
To counteract the acidic and alkaline effects of what we eat, the body adopts various mechanisms known as the buffer systems. The buffer system prevents the acidic and alkaline effects from what we eat by shifting the pH of your blood into the normal range. There is the; carbonic acid-bicarbonate buffer system, protein buffer system and phosphate buffer system.
They all work to prevent dietary, metabolic, and other factors from pushing the pH of your blood outside the normal range of 7.35 to 7.45.
When your doctor advises you to alkalize your blood, he wants to mean that you should eat plenty of foods that have an alkaline-forming effect on your system.
The reason for this is that the vast majority of highly processed foods like white flour products and white sugar have an acid-forming effect on the body system, and if you spend years eating a poor diet that is mainly acid-forming, you will overwork some of the buffering systems mentioned above to a point where you could create undesirable changes in your health.
For example, if your body fluids are regularly exposed to large quantities of acid-forming foods or liquids rich in phosphate ions, your body will draw upon its calcium phosphate reserves to supply your phosphate buffer system to neutralize the acid-forming effects of your diet. Over time, this may lead to structural weakness in your bones and teeth.
Drawing on your calcium phosphate reserves at a high rate can also increase the amount of calcium that is eliminated via your genito-urinary system, which is why a predominantly acid-forming diet can increase your risk of developing calcium-rich kidney stones.
Most grains, animal foods, and highly processed foods have an acid-forming effect on your body fluids.
Your health is best served by a good mix of nutrient-dense, alkaline and acid-forming foods.
It is better to eat more alkaline-forming foods than acid-forming foods to have the net acid and alkaline-forming effects of your diet match the slightly alkaline pH of your blood.
Examples of alkaline forming foods or fruits include; watermelon, lemon, mango, papaya, vegetable juices, apples, avocados, banana, garlic and ginger among many others.
Acid forming food materials or drinks include alcohol, soft drinks like most types of beans, fresh meat, most types of bread coca-cola, coffee, tobacco, white sugar, artificial sweeteners, refined salt, most packed cereals, white vinegar among others.
You therefore need to strike a balance with the foods you eat for example if you are eating mainly grains, flour products, animal foods, and washing these foods down with coffee, soda, and milk, you will almost certainly improve your health by replacing some of your food and beverage choices with fresh vegetables and fruits.