Acidic and Alkaline Food Consumption for Healthy Living

All food digested in our bodies metabolizes, or burns down into a residue which can be neutral, acidic, or alkaline, depending on the content of the original food. Scientific research emphasizes the importance of balancing pH levels to maintain good health, proper immune system function and to avoid many diseases.

The pH is the measurement of the substance’s acidity and alkalinity. The normal pH of the human blood is between 7.35 and 7.45. A blood pH below 7 is considered acidic whereas a pH above 7 provides an alkaline blood chemistry.

Our body manages the acid load by excreting it through normal channels of elimination, and by buffering the acid with minerals borrowed from our bones. When the body accumulates excess acid and the elimination system can no longer get rid of it, our body will store the acid waste in our tissues, joints and muscles. Symptoms of an overly acid pH include joint and muscle pain, osteoporosis, low energy, digestive problems such as indigestion and acid reflux, colds, flu, allergies, hormone imbalances and immune system dysfunction.

In general, animal foods such as meat, eggs, dairy, processed and refined foods, yeast products, fermented foods, grains, artificial sweeteners, some fruits, and sugars are acidifying, as well as alcohol, coffee, chocolate, black tea, and sodas.

Acid forming foods will speed up aging causing a rapid decline in the cardiovascular system. Oxidative stress is known to be linked to over 200 diseases. Consuming acidic foods causes free radical cell damage in the body. Prevention is the key in slowing down the aging process and disease manifestation. Balancing your pH via diet helps to lower cholesterol and reduce stress along with improving the functioning of the immune system.

Vegetables are alkalizing. A few non-sweet citrus fruits are also basic or alkalizing to the body, as are sprouted seeds, nuts, and grains. In general, grains are acidifying, though a few (millet, quinoa, buckwheat, and spelt) are only very mildly so. Raw foods are more alkalizing, while cooked food is more acidifying.

To maintain a balanced pH in your blood and tissues, your diet should consist of at least 70 to 80 percent basic foods – that is, no more than 20 to 30 percent acidifying foods. To accomplish this, eat two alkaline foods for each acidic food you eat (see accompanying chart) and you will soon be feeling and looking great as well as on the road to a healthy old age.

acid Alk chart

References:

http://ezinearticles.com/?Alkaline-Foods-Vs-Acidic-Foods,-Which-Are-The-Best?&id=6084798
http://wakeupgethealthy.wordpress.com/alkaline-food-vs-acidic-food/
Natural Cowgirl, 6/25/2013, pH – Get Yours Balanced for Better Health!

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Does consumption of carbonated beverages affect bone health?

Currently, about 30% of the beverages Americans consume are carbonated beverages.  This level of consumption surpasses that of all other beverages, including milk, coffee, and water. This percentage has been steadily rising since the 1970’s, and has serious potential to affect our health.  It is widely accepted that increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is related to America’s rising obesity rates. It has also been said that drinking carbonated beverages reduces bone mineral density and decreases calcium absorption.

The Framingham study, performed in 2006, investigated the relationship between carbonated beverage consumption and bone mineral density.  They found that drinking cola every day resulted in a significant increase in bone fractures in girls younger than 17.  A positive relationship between reduced bone mineral content and carbonated beverage consumption in teenage girls has also been found, especially if the girls are physically active.  Other studies have found a similar relationship between cola consumption and bone density in young men.

While these studies have focused on the consumption of all carbonated beverages, cola beverages have been the most implicated.  It is believed that drinking high amounts of cola may limit calcium absorption because of its high phosphorous content.  This may not be the case for other carbonated beverages that do not contain high levels of phosphorous (all non-cola flavored sodas, as well as carbonated flavored waters).  The consumption of caffeine has also been associated with the reduction of bone mineral density, and may contribute to these findings.  Caffeine can be found in Coke, Diet Coke, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Tab, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, and Sunkist.  If you’d like to know the amount of caffeine in your soft drink, check the nutritional label.

It is also possible that consumption of carbonated soft drinks replaces the consumption of milk, limiting calcium intake.  This might be a problem especially for children and teenagers, for we build 85-90% of our bone before the age of 20.  Maximizing peak bone mass during childhood and adolescence is important for preventing osteoporosis.  Replacing milk with soft drinks of any kind might interfere with this.

Considering this evidence, it is important to reduce or eliminate the number of carbonated beverages we drink on a daily basis, especially if we drink lots of cola.  Be sure to encourage the consumption of milk and water in children and adolescents in place of soda whenever possible.

References:

Kinney MA. (2002) Does consumption of cola beverages cause bone fractures in children? Mayo Clin Proc; 77:1005-1006

Tucker KL, Morita K, Qiao N, Hannan MT, Cupples LA and Kiel DP.(2006) Colas, but not other carbonated beverages, are associated with low bone mineral density in older women: the Framingham Osteoporosis Study.  Am J Clin Nutr. 84;936-42

Kristensen M, Jensen M, Kudsk J, Henriksen M and Mulgaard C. (2005) Short-term effects on bone turnover of replacing milk with cola beverages: a 10-day interventional study in young men.  Osteoporosis Int 16: 1803-1808