If you are like a lot of my clients, you might be familiar with the term “pH” from science class or body cream and skin cleanser commercials.
It stands for the ‘power of hydrogen’ and in short, it is a scale that indicates whether something is too acidic or alkaline. This is something that is important to consider in relation to our health; our diets are overloaded with foods that are acid-forming and this in turn creates an acidic environment in the body.
We are equipped to deal with a certain amount of acidity, but our modern day diet overwhelms our bodies’ ability to buffer the acids in our diet. Balancing your pH is just one of the factors to look at when considering your overall health, it is certainly not a fix-all but it is something to take into account when reviewing your food intake.
So let’s take a look at how pH imbalance affects us, and what we can do to re-balance it.
1) Understanding the pH scale
As stated above, the pH scale measures acidity in terms of hydrogen ion (H+) activity in a solution. A solution is acidic when it has more free hydrogen activity, and alkaline when there is a lack of free hydrogen activity.The lower the pH reading, the more acidic the solution:
a) 0–7 is considered acidic
b) 7.0–14 are considered basic, or alkaline.
Just so you know, pure water (not tap water) is in the very middle of the pH scale. It has a pH of 7.0, which is considered neutral and therefore excellent for you!
2) pH Balance in the Body
In terms of pH balance, there is no one correct reading for the whole body:
a) Healthy human skin has an approximate pH of 5.5 (slightly acidic)
b) Saliva, has a pH of around 6.5–7.4
c) The digestive tracts pH can range from 1.5 to 7.0, depending on what stage of digestion is underway
d) Human blood has a narrow pH window of about 7.35–7.45 (slightly alkaline).
Different parts of our bodies serve different purposes, so each purpose and their related processes needs a particular acid–alkaline environment for optimum function.
Skin needs to be slightly acidic in order to deal with environmental factors like bacteria and other toxins. The stomach and other parts of the digestive system are highly acidic as the digestive acids are part of how we process and use the foods we eat as fuel.
The body pH that we can test is our blood, saliva, and urine. This can be done very easily at home with pH testing strips (these can be purchased from any local pharmacy or health food stores). Eating foods such as leafy greens which are alkalising can help balance and maintain the pH level of your body and ultimately promote better well-being. 21st Century living, as fun as it is, generally means that we are all overly acidic, so part of your optimal health plan should be on restoring your pH balance.
Remember, the key is balance and the best way to do this? Testing your pH. Find out how and when to do this in Part II!
Connect with WatchFit Expert Kerry Madgwick