PH Balance isn't just for Shampoo
What does PH Balance mean to me?
Bet you've heard about PH Balance because every shampoo is advertised as having a balanced PH. What does this really mean?
The symbols "P" and "H" as well as the acronym, "PH", comes from chemistry. The P = Phosphorus ions, and the H = Hydrogen ions. Most scientists agree that the symbol "H" stands for Hydrogen however, the symbol P is arguably either short for the potential for hydrogen concentration, the power of hydrogen, or many other variations meaning "joining or containing" hydrogen ions. We all know that 'H' - Hydrogen ions joins with 2 Oxygen ions to make water but what about the 'P'?
'P' = Phosphorus and is very important to the human body because it is an essential element in all living cells. Phosphorous joins with other elements to form essential components. A component of Phosphorous is found in DNA, a Phosphorous lipid with protein forms the membranes of living cells, and another component of Phosphorous called, Phosphate, transports cellular energy throughout the body.
Scientists use the 'PH' scale to measure how acidic or basic a substance is. Acid produces Hydrogen ions in a solution [usually water]. Bases produce both Oxygen and Hydrogen ions in a solution called "Hydroxides." When scientists do a PH Balance test for acid or base in a solution, they use test strips called, litmus strips.
Litmus strips help scientists determine the concentration of hydrogen ions in the system. Acid turns the test strip red, and a Alkaline / base turns the test strip blue. Acids react with bases to form salts and water and we know salt and water is very important for our body functions. Bases in solution produce an electrical current called electrolytes. And we all have heard that electrolytes are very important to us! Some medical professionals believe we all should test our PH balance using litmus strips on a daily or weekly basis to help regulate our personal PH balance. We could do this using a urine or saliva solution and litmus strips.
It is the general belief by most scientists, that the human body functions better with a PH balance of 80% alkaline / 20% acid. So, the optimal PH Balance Test result would indicate a higher alkaline environment in the body; or a blue colored strip. If your test revealed a red colored strip [high acid], you would need to consume an alkaline and test until the alkaline turned the red strip to blue. It is important to note that Malnutrition is usually identified by a low Phosphate / Alkaline level in the body, or someone who would have a red 'acidic' strip.
Why do we want the suggested 80/20 Alkaline / Acid 'PH' balance? The main job of the Alkaline in our system, is to detoxify the substances we ingest, and rid our body tissues of impurities. With a Balanced PH level, our system can give our physiological processes and psychological functioning a greater sense of well being. So how can we achieve a healthy Alkaline / Acid balance our system? If we eat a Balanced Diet, we can improving our overall health and strengthen our immunity.
Traditionally, the sense of taste in our tongue is a good judge of the PH Balance in our foods. In the West, experts identified four taste sensations located on our tongue: 'sweet', 'salty', 'sour', and 'bitter'. In the Asia two additional taste sensations have been added:  'hotness' also called, 'pungency', 'raciness', or 'spiciness' and  'savory' also called, 'umami', 'brothy', or 'meaty'. Scientists tell us that Acid tastes 'bitter' and Alkaline taste 'sour.'
My grandma lost her sense of smell but used her senses of taste [sweet, salty, sour, and bitter] to cook food. Interestingly, she maintained a proper PH Balance despite her lack of smell by using her taste buds. It was hard for us to imagine what she tasted without the sense of smell. Remarkably, she was not only able to cook without issue, but won awards at the State Fairs for her chili, cakes and pies. Grams told us that when we cooked we needed to hold our nose and really taste the food. Now we are learning that she was correct, without the use of smell, we can taste the sweet, salty, sour, and bitter in the foods we are making. Even without a sense of smell, Grams accurately made healthy PH Balanced and tasty food combinations.
Grams secret? She told us that you take things that taste "bitter" and add "sweet." Take the things that taste "sour" and add "salty." She also told us that balanced combinations in the foods we eat together can make a dish "bland," "savory" or "spicy." Have you ever eaten something cinnamon then tried to eat a pickle - ugh! Remember, scientists warn us to avoid excess "bitter" because, acids taste bitter!
So, what does a PH Balance mean to me? It means I will live a quality life, have more strength, get ill less frequently and my body will become healthy physically and emotionally. So now I have a mission to learn to cook 'savory dishes' with a healthy 80/20 'PH' Balance and avoid excess 'acid' or bitterness in my daily food consumption.
References: Grams, Family Health Guide, and Wikipedia
- pH Scale - Succeed in Chemistry: School for Champions
Explanation of the pH scale for measuring acids and bases - Succeed in Chemistry: School for Champions
PH Balanced Food Charts
- Acid Alkaline Food Chart | Identify pH of Foods and Drinks
Learn which foods are alkaline and which ones are acidic for our body pH balance - with our acid alkaline food chart.