Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What’s your pH?... Should You Care?

As with most nutritional topics these days there is some difference of opinion. Understand that in some cases these may be very strongly held opinions. This pH information is only to offer a view of the bigger picture in a general sense. From there, do our own research and to embark on the path that is appropriate for you.

The concept of pH was first introduced by Dr. Sorensen at the Carlsberg Laboratory in 1909. pH stands for “potential of Hydrogen” which is the measure of hydrogen-ion concentration in a solution. pH is measured on a scale from 0 to 14 in reference to the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. In this context, the word “solution” simply means something mixed with water.

A pH of 7 is considered to be neutral – a pH of less than 7 is more acidic and a pH higher than 7 is more alkaline. If you mix acid with water, for example, the pH of the solution will be less than 7 – if you mix an alkaline with water the pH of the solution will be greater than 7.

The foods that we eat become mixed in solution with all of the water in our bodies. This is significant because our bodies are about 70% water. For optimal health, the pH of the body’s fluid should stay within normal ranges. The normal pH balance in the human body is 7.35 to 7.45, which is slightly on the alkaline side of the pH scale.

If you have an interest in your body’s pH balance, the first step is to find out what it is. Testing is easily done using pH testing strips with saliva and/or urine – these inexpensive testing strips are available at most pharmacies – they are also available online from many sources.

From there, it’s a process of trial and error with respect to food and drink choices. We are all different and unique – so the choices that work for one person may not be the ideal choices for another.

The prevailing wisdom indicates that eating 75% alkaline foods and 25% acidic foods will keep your body at a healthy pH balance. When we talk about foods in this context, we’re talking about the result in the body of eating the foods, not necessarily the pH of the foods themselves before we eat them.

Examples of alkaline foods include most fruits and vegetables along with water and vegetable juices. Acidic foods, in general, are meat, dairy, junk food, processed food, fast food, alcohol, drugs and medications. There are some exceptions in both directions so if you have an interest, I encourage you to search online for “alkaline foods” – after reviewing a few websites you’ll have a better understanding concerning alkaline foods and acidic foods and some good guidelines to follow with respect to food choices.

For me, I am eating more (fruits and vegetables) to keep my pH levels more alkaline and that has made me feel better and have more energy.