Ways to increase the pH levels in the body
As the old adage goes, too much of one thing is good for nothing. This applies to acid levels within our bodies. Too much acid in the body leads to a condition termed “acidosis.” Excess acidity results in a low body pH, which contributes to ill health, debilitating conditions and diseases.
It’s true that the body needs acids in order to function properly. However, too much acidity (or even too much alkalinity) creates health problems. This is because the body’s equilibrium is disrupted and in order to maintain the desired state, the body uses alternative acid-creating processes and borrows vital minerals from bones and tissues in order to regulate acid levels.
The best way to address problems of excess acidity is to increase pH levels to the level required by the body for optimal functioning. Naturally, what you feed your body is, arguably, the most important element in regulating your body’s pH levels.
Alkalinity is the polar opposite of acidity, so you can counteract low pH by eating more alkaline foods. This is the best short-term method for increasing pH levels. Thankfully, alkaline foods are not boring and one-dimensional. There is a wide variety – including vegetables, fruits and nuts. There are tables available that indicate which foods are acidic, alkaline and neutral. The most alkaline foods include figs, soy beans, raisins and spinach. Certain foods – like cabbage, bananas and grapes – are also alkali-forming, but are not as effective as the more alkaline types (including those that are high in potassium).
The beverages you consume are also very important, since they can aid or hinder your attempts at managing acid levels with food consumption. For example, it is not advisable to wash down a healthy, alkaline-rich salad with soda or processed fruit juice (acidic beverages). You have the option of vegetable juice, herbal tea, lemonade and almond milk.
Avoid foods and beverages that promote acidity
The less natural the food is, the more acidic it is likely to be. Therefore, junk food and foods that are refined and processed foods are inimical to your pH levels. Tables showing acidic foods highlight some familiar names as foods we should avoid or minimize their consumption at least.
Flour, beef, dairy, cheese, eggs and chicken are some acidic foods. Acidic beverages to avoid include (but are not limited to) alcohol, sweetened fruit juice and coffee. However, remember that some of these acid-forming foods have essential minerals and nutrients as well. The critical aspect is moderation - especially with respect to consumption of beneficial foods that are acid-forming.
Exercise and physical activity
Lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle is also a factor in excess acidity. The irony is that exercise and physical activity increases the body’s acid levels in the short-term (particularly with the production of lactic acid). However, in the long run, exercise makes the body less reliant on acid-producing processes for energy and sustenance of physical activity.
A research paper by R. Casiday and R. Frey illustrated that the body relies on biochemical processes (that do not require oxygen) to produce energy when it is overworked. However, fit persons have a higher threshold for physical activity before these acid-creating processes kick in. Unfit persons, on the other hand, would be reliant on such processes even for a jog! Exercising increases your lung capacity and glycogen reserves. This means that your body can rely more on oxygen to produce energy required to sustain physical activity.
While a good diet and a healthy digestive system would help you to ingest and absorb nutrients better, supplements and drink mixes can offer similar benefits to many of the aforementioned alkaline foods and beverages. One of the benefits of taking supplements is the sheer convenience of it and you can monitor whether you’re getting the right amount of minerals and nutrients – especially if you have special nutritional requirements.
Acidosis is a real health risk, since it can allow carcinogens and other harmful organisms to thrive in our bodies. At the very least, acidosis is guaranteed to create minor health problems at least. The pH level can be viewed as the body’s first line of defense against internal and external threats. The optimal pH value for the body is at or around 7.3. Anything significantly lower or higher can be detrimental to our health.