When speaking about body pH and alkalinity vs. acidity, the nutritional information that comes out is confusing and overwhelming. If this subject makes you hyperventilate, just take a deep breath, sit back and read with mere passing curiosity. You will at least be informed when the need arises for you to take serious action.
My problems with itchy skin drove me to ask my naturopath about this and for him to diagnose my low pH and high yeast overgrowth. We don’t know which came first, as the cause of yeast overgrowth is low pH and the byproduct of yeast overgrowth is low pH.
Lemons and Tomatoes
The pH scale is 0-14. Zero is acid pH and 14 is basic. The blood and tissues of the body should have a pH of around 7.4, which is on the alkaline side of the pH scale. The standard American diet (S.A.D.), filled with meat, cheese, grains, and sugar usually results in a rather acid pH of around 5.5. Vegetables and fruits are the foods that alkalinize the blood. In fact, lemons and tomatoes are some of the most alkalinizing foods. I know, you’re thinking lemons and tomatoes are acidic! Whether or not a food alkalinizes or acidifies the body has little to do with its actual pH. It is what is left behind after digestion that determines its alkalinity.
Stress and pH
Besides diet, other causes of a low pH or acidosis are stress, toxins, and infections. The effects of chronic acidity include headaches, pain, allergies, skin troubles, susceptibility to cold an flu viruses, sinus problems, breathing disorders, depression, fatigue, inflammation, indigestion, and muscle cramping. Over time the acidosis can lead to organ and tissue damage. The first organs to succumb are the liver, thyroid gland, and adrenal gland. The worst is chronic diseases like asthma, cancer, and arthritis. And this is just a short list. How many people do you know on Synthroid, have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue or high liver enzymes? Yikes!
Easy At-Home Test
What to do? Get some pH test paper at the health food store and dip it in saliva or urine. There is a chart on the package to measure your pH. Then see the attached article or buy the book The Ultimate pH Solution by Michelle Cook for food choices to return the diet to a pH balanced one. Here’s a hint, the biggest acidifiers in our diets are sugar, sodas (including carbonated flavored water), coffee, grains like wheat, bread, rolls, buns, wraps, etc., and animal products including meat, chicken, fish, milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs.
When I first started learning about the S.A.D. (standard American diet) and it’s link to diseases that plague us, I heard about how important it was to have a body pH near 7.4. Because of the S.A.D., most of us have a pH of 5.5-6.5. Cancer, fungus (yeast), osteoporosis, and many other metabolic diseases are caused by or thrive in low pH or acidosis.
Diets heavy in animal products are bound to be low pH. When I learned of the importance of an alkaline pH for optimal wellness I was eating 85% raw and juicing at least two glasses a day. My urine and saliva both tested 7.4 regularly. Since then, I have lapsed into eating more cooked food and therefore more grains.
Last week, my naturopath diagnosed my horrible itching skin as overabundance of yeast. I had suspected but denied it for a long time because I know I eat too many grains and my juice has a lot of natural sugar in it. The biggest shocker was when he tested my saliva and it was 6.0, YIKES! I was stunned.
Symptoms of Acidity
My research turned up a connection between my diet, pH, and itchy skin. Other symptoms of low pH include obesity, kidney stones, painful joints, chronic fatigue, slow digestion and elimination, just to name a few. My Fourth of July celebratory week, complete with houseguests, tilted my diet toward the acid side of the charts. Blueberries, homemade nut butter cups made with roasted almond butter and raw cacao, rice chips and beans galore including loads of hummus. I washed it all down with one of my favorite treats, flavored carbonated water. Of course there were tons of condiment-laden foods too, like potato salad and cole slaw. Might I add that a good hostess always has dessert for her guests and it would be rude not to join them? I served “healthy” coconut milk ice cream every night. It was both acidifying and feeding the yeast with the agave nectar sweetener.
In the summer, I like to make mocktails out of carbonated water, pomegranate juice, and lime with lots of ice. I have been guzzling the carbonated water without the juice for the past few weeks. What is the most acid forming food? Carbonated water at 3! If you add aspartame and other chemicals (i.e. diet soda) the pH drops to 2.5. One website I visited said that it would take 10 glasses of pH enhanced water with a pH of 10 to neutralize one glass of soda or carbonated water!
I’m drinking lemon water by the gallons now. Lemon water is very alkalinizing. I know lemons are acidic but they alkalinize the body. It is important to keep the charts handy. The actual pH of the food has little to do with its effect on the pH of the body.
Yep, I tilted the scales in the wrong direction and I am paying dearly to get myself back in balance. No more carbonated water, no more decaf coffee, no almond milk for a while, no grains, and minimal beans in the near future. Back to salad, salad, salad and vegetables from the Alkaline Foods chart. I bought pH paper from the health food store and test my pH morning and evening. It is slowly going back up. I am also doing a 14-day yeast cleanse supplement combo from Renew Life called CandiGone.
Pump UP the Greens!
The biggest alkalinizing foods are:
Here is where I would insert my Seven-Day Salad recipe to help you out, but you already know how to make a salad. Instead, here's a healthy alternative for chips and guacamole from The Ultimate pH Solution.
1 Pkg sprouted-grain or brown rice tortillas
Extra-virgin olive oil
Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tortillas in a single layer on baking sheets, brush with a small amount of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Break into chips and serve.
1 clove garlic
Large handful fresh cilantro
2 large tomatoes, quartered
Juice of 1 lime or lemon
Pinch Celtic sea slat or Himalayan salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
1. In a food processor, process garlic until finely minced. Add cilantro and process until coarsely chopped. Add tomatoes, lime juice, salt, and cayenne; pulse until coarsely chopped.
2. Transfer to a serving bowl, add avocado, and toss gently to combine.
I can’t overstate the importance of a balanced pH. It is a very significant indicator of poor health and impending disease. Check yours soon.
All the best,
Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.