Basic high-school chemistry teaches the pH system, where pH is calibrated on a scale of 1 to 14 and measures the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. A pH value of 7 is neutral, <7 is acidic and >7 is alkaline. The human body itself functions at an optimum blood pH of around 7.4 (which is slightly alkaline). However, in today’s toxic world where the standard diet is based largely around acid-forming foods, most people actually suffer from a degree of acidosis; that is, the pH of their bodies is below 7.35 and slightly acidic.
Almost all fruits and vegetables have an alkalizing effect in the body, whereas most other foods have an acid-forming effect. However, the degree to which these foods are acidic in the system varies greatly, so the key is to choose from a range of moderately acid-forming food, combined with large quantities of alkalizing fresh fruits and vegetables.
Acidosis is something you want to avoid, big time. The condition of acidosis weakens all the body’s systems, creating an environment that promotes and is conducive to disease. A healthy body has plenty of alkaline reserves, but as we consume more and more acid-forming foods, and are exposed to acid-forming toxins in food, air, water, etc, these alkaline reserves are automatically used by the body to try and neutralize excess acid, and are therefore severely depleted over time. The symptoms of acidosis are premature physical deterioration (aging) and the accumulation of toxic waste in the body causing weight gain, cardiovascular disease, immune deficiency, osteoporosis, joint paint and low energy.
Here’s a scary fact…if the body is constantly subjected to acidosis by an overload of acidic foods and toxicity, and calcium intake is low, the body will automatically start to leach calcium from the bones and teeth in an attempt to neutralize the acids in the body and restore a state of alkalinity. This defense response of the body to acidosis is the major contributing factor to the development of osteoporosis.
If you’re concerned about weight gain, acidosis is largely the cause of obesity. As we become more and more acidic the body literally starts to defend itself against these toxins by building up fat cells in which to store acid waste. This is a way of protecting vital organs and tissues from acidosis. So that spare tyre is actually the body’s attempt to keep you safe from your own inner toxins!
Flooding the body with alkaline substances such as fresh fruit and vegetables and their juices will start dredging up the stored acidic waste in the body, alkalizing and hydrating old toxic waste matter for elimination from the system.
Pollution is a basic fact of modern life, where today’s world is exponentially more acidic to live in than it was even a mere ten or fifteen years ago. The additional load on the body of excessive amounts of acid-forming preservatives, pesticides, pharmaceutical drugs, air and water pollution, etc is extensive, and we humans were not really equipped to deal with these levels of modern toxicity. This kind of internal pollution is the major cause of disease and degeneration of the human body. Exposure to these kinds of toxins is largely unavoidable, unless you were to pack up and relocate to a remote mountain cave and live on wild fruits and greens. In light of the fact that this lifestyle suggestion may be a tad extreme for most people, the best way to counter unavoidable toxins in the body is to combat them with a largely plant-based diet rich in natural alkalinity, along with plenty of fresh clean air and moderate exposure to sunshine.
As long as you’re getting in lots of alkalizing fresh fruits, vegetables and juices, you can afford to eat some of the foods from the more acid-forming side of the spectrum. While I don’t recommend anyone be consuming things like soft drinks, artificial sweeteners and refined sugars, there are certainly some ‘safe poisons’ that can be fun to include in a largely plant-based diet. Some of my favourites include dark chocolate, high quality bread, wine and goat’s cheese. This is the approach that nutritionist, Natalia Rose, takes and which works well for me.