We hear about “pH balance” all the time. pH—Two Little Letters…and a Big Deal. Reaching and keeping a proper pH (the balance between acidity and alkalinity) is vital to vibrant health. Most of us can recall science experiments in school where we dabbled with acid and alkaline substances, measuring their character with strips of litmus paper. We were measuring their ‘potential for Hydrogen’—pH—which indicates whether a substance contains more acidic or more alkaline molecules. A measurement of 7 is neutral…below 7 is acidic…and above 7 is alkaline.
What is a Healthy pH Level?
A clean, healthy bloodstream should be slightly alkaline—7.4 on the pH scale. Since the blood feeds all organs and tissues in the body, excess acidity can harm internal organs and throw the body into a state of imbalance. When the body’s pH falls below 7.35, a condition known as acidosis prevails, which can cause headaches, chronic illness, bad breath, body odor and a host of other uncomfortable symptoms, including fatigue and nausea.
What if Your Body is Acidic?
The body is always busy doing all it can to retain this delicate balance, and there are many factors that can throw it off. However, an alkaline diet—one that contains alkaline foods—is highly effective in combating an overly acidic bloodstream.
When acidic conditions exist, the body will steal minerals from its own stores in an attempt to counteract or “buffer” this acidity. Since teeth and bones are largely comprised of minerals, you can guess what parts of your body will suffer the most when you are not in an alkaline state. This robbing of minerals from teeth and bones is one of the main causes for dental problems and osteoporosis.
Causes of pH Imbalance
Not surprisingly, it is far easier for your body to slip into a state of acidity than to become too alkaline, though in rare cases this does happen. Among the foods and lifestyle choices that can cause an overly acidic condition are white flour and sugar, smoking, alcohol, coffee, meat, pollution (this includes EMF pollution), lack of exercise, and stress. Yes, even an excess of stress causes acid-forming reactions in the body.
For health purposes, we are striving for a higher degree of alkalinity in the body. An overly acidic condition also wreaks havoc with our dental health, because the oral environment requires a pH balanced mouth in order to re-enamalize teeth. Acids erode tooth enamel and help plaque proliferate.
If we want to tip the scales in our favor and tip the pH scale as well, it should come as no surprise that a raw food diet and lifestyle practices are just the thing to help us get there. You can see that none of the acid-forming foods listed above would ever be included in a sound raw food diet.
Consuming raw fresh fruits and vegetables and their juices, partaking of lots of fresh air, deep breathing, and adequate sunlight, along with stress reduction, are powerful factors that help keep our bodies alkaline. Some specific foods helpful for boosting alkalinity are dark leafy greens, which are important to add to juices and smoothies, and other fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts. Even the herbal sweetener stevia (which I use often and have even added to our new dental balm) is a useful alkalizing plant.
We all make decisions, food decisions included, for our own reasons. But now, here’s yet another reason to opt for a well planned raw food regime. When you maintain an appropriate alkalinity through good food choices, you’re improving the health of your entire body—every organ and function within it. It seems a “little” thing, that issue of pH, perhaps because it’s a bit technical. But it’s a big issue for those of us seeking long, healthy lives and our most attractive selves, and yet another reason to go raw.