What do hormones, cheese, arthritis, osteoporosis and mood disorders have in common?

In The Chemistry of Coke, the impact of consuming an acidic soft drink was examined in relation to the pH of our blood.  To summarize, in order to maintain an acceptable pH of 7.40 our body learns how to neutralize the extra acidity by bringing in more basic substances.

In North America, our diet tends to be on the acidic side because we eat too much, proportionally, of foods that tend to be higher in acid.  Here is a rundown of “acidic” foods and beverages that tend to be over consumed:

pop

processed grains

meat (beef, chicken, turkey, ham, lamb, organ meat – including organic meat)

booze

coffee

black tea

cocoa

dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)

eggs

There are certain fruits and veggies that tend to be more acidic but in our society, these are likely not the culprits of acidity – it’s the list above.  In general, fruits and veggies are alkaline as are whole grains, and non-animal sources of protein like beans and tofu.

Our blood, tissues, and body systems function best at a neutral pH and when this doesn’t exist our health is compromised mainly due to reduced enzyme function and inflammation caused by the acidity.  Some common conditions associated with acidity include:

– higher than normal levels of cortisol (stress hormone)

– mood issues like depression

– cardiovascular disease

– osteoporosis

– diabetes (type II) with associated weight gain where there is fat accumulated around the midsection

– poor digestion

– lack of energy

– arthritis and joint issues with joint health

– weakened immune system

– hormone imbalances

– comprised bladder and kidney health

From a chemical standpoint, when we eat acidic food our body immediately recognizes the need to neutralise the acidity and calls in one of several buffer systems.  Some examples of buffers include bicarbonate, magnesium, potassium, and calcium – once they are used as neutralizing agents they’re eliminated through our urine.

Let’s use the example of bone health and calcium which is needed for the construction and maintenance of bones.  In fact 99% of calcium is stored in our bones.  When we eat too many acidic foods, calcium which is required as a buffer, is drawn from the bones.

It would be interesting to consider that taking more calcium is NOT the answer (note:  over calcification can negatively impact the absorption of other nutrients like magnesium, iron, and zinc and can interact with beta blockers which are often taken by people with compromised heart health).

Taking more calcium is sort of like symptom suppression and it might be interesting to try adjusting the diet to eliminate or reduce some of the more acidic foods and replacing them with more alkaline nutrients.  Removing acidic foods completely is not realistic or sustainable for most of us – but being aware of the quantity of these foods we put in our mouth is something of which to be aware.

For more information on the acid-alkaline guide to food selection check out the following books:

The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health: Restore Your Health by Creating pH Balance in Your Diet by C. Vasey

The Acid-Alkaline Food Guide: A Quick Reference to Foods & Their Effect on pH Levels by S. Brown and L. Trivieri

The Acid Alkaline Balance Diet, Second Edition: An Innovative Program that Detoxifies Your Body’s Acidic Waste to Prevent Disease
and Restore Overall Health by F. Kliment

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