Benefits of a Balanced pH Level
By Christine Dreher, CCN, CCH
The evolution of our modern-day lifestyle continues to bring more challenges to our health and well-being. Most of our diets include so many refined, processed foods and sugar. Not to mention having to deal with the chemical pollutants in the air we breathe and the food we eat. I believe these factors and excessive stress are the main reasons that the occurrence of disease continues to escalate.
The Evolution of Disease
Disease is our body's way of telling us that something is out of balance. It is a cry for help. I believe that our bodies are capable of healing themselves when given the right tools, care and attention. The problem in our society is that we tend to address the symptoms of the imbalances, instead of treating the causes.
An example would be the overworked, stressed-out manager, plagued with afternoon fatigue (maybe due to depleted adrenal glands, hypoglycemia or candida), who rushes off for the "sugar fix" of a candy bar or coffee to keep going. This is like putting a 'band-aid' on a volcano. It may create a short-term remedy, but in the long run it makes matters worse. What started off as a small annoyance tends to escalate over time, requiring more drastic band-aids to quiet the uncomfortable symptoms. Eventually a small, annoying symptom can grow to become a chronic problem or disease.
So What Causes These Imbalances?
One of the major causes of an imbalanced system is the food in our pantries and refrigerators. The amount of processed and refined foods we consume has continued to increase over the last several decades including foods treated with preservatives, chemicals, pesticides and hormones. Not only are the chemicals creating havoc and toxicity in our systems, but the continual consumption of the processed and refined foods is also throwing off the delicate pH balance of our bodies.
What is the pH Balance of the Body?
The pH level is one of the most important balance systems of the body. The pH level is a measure of acidity or alkalinity, on a scale of zero to fourteen, with zero being most acid, fourteen being most alkaline and seven being mid-range. The pH levels of our bodies vary from one organ or system to the next.
For example, the stomach pH is much more acid than the intestinal pH because the stomach needs an acid environment (hydrochloric acid) to break down food for digestion. Whereas, the flora (good bacteria) of the small intestine need a more alkaline environment to assimilate and process the nutrients from the foods digested by the stomach.
How Does Eating affect our pH Level?
In my book, The Cleanse Cookbook, I write about the importance of maintaining a balanced pH level. In order to do this, we need to strive to eat about 75% alkaline-forming foods. The average all-American diet consists of about 80% acid-forming foods! Because processed and refined foods are extremely acidic to our systems, the body creates a buffering system (a chemical process to protect the body from being harmed by the acids), which is a protective mucous substance. This buffering process requires the use of many nutrients from the body, including electrolyte minerals (organic potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium, to name a few). Electrolyte minerals are not minerals from the ground. They are minerals from plant sources that have gone through the process of photosynthesis.
Why are Electrolyte Minerals Important for our Bodies?
Electrolyte minerals are vital to the metabolic functions of our body systems. When we have a sufficient reserve of electrolyte minerals, the buffering process (the cushioning and removing of unwanted acids from our systems), is not a problem. When we are young, we usually have sufficient reserves. Over time, the electrolyte mineral reserves can become depleted by ingesting too many processed and refined acid-forming foods, or from excessive mental or emotional stress. When we run short of electrolyte minerals, our body is no longer able to maintain an efficient homeostasis (a state of equilibrium).
The body has a hierarchy of priorities for survival. Second only to breathing and sustaining our heartbeat, the most important metabolic function that our bodies perform is maintaining a specific pH. The most important pH level that the body must regulate is the blood's pH level. The body's blood pH level must be maintained at 7.4 (slightly alkaline). If it varies more than a point, death can result from a coma or a seizure. In order to maintain the blood's critical pH balance, the body will compromise less important functions. Once the electrolyte reserves become depleted, the body begins to rob these electrolytes from the various organs and systems of the body to maintain the blood's pH level. This is where the imbalance begins.
For example: when the body becomes depleted of organic sodium (an essential electrolyte mineral, not table salt), the body may not be able to manufacture enough hydrochloric acid in the stomach. This can create an imbalanced digestive system, where foods are not being digested properly.
These imbalances can be aggravated further because our body systems will generally deplete electrolytes from the weakest areas first. So if someone already has a weakened body system, the further depletion of electrolyte minerals will cause a greater imbalance and more dysfunction. When our bodies become too depleted, overall functioning becomes weakened, affecting the immune system and the body's ability to fight off bacterial and viral infections.
The Good News
We can begin to reverse this depletion process by replenishing the electrolyte minerals in our bodies. By eating more pH-alkaline forming foods (fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fresh juices, sprouted seeds, alkaline grains), we can begin to replenish our reserve supply of electrolyte minerals. I also recommend a natural goat whey mineral powder by Mt. Capra because it is a natural source of electrolyte minerals and can help with acidic conditions.
pH Testing Tools
In my book The Cleanse Cookbook, I teach you how to use pH papers. pH papers are specially coated papers that come on a roll or in strips that you may have seen in your school chemistry classes. You can use them to measure the saliva and urine pH levels of your body. Three of these tests are explained in my book. They measure not only your pH levels, but can determine if you are deficient in electrolyte minerals.
The pH papers can be a very effective tool for monitoring our pH balance system. pH testing also provides us with a way to take a more proactive role in our health. We can detect and correct the pH imbalances and electrolyte deficiencies in our systems before they manifest as symptoms of disease. As a cleanse coach, I have seen dramatic health improvements in so many people who simply get their pH levels balanced and their electrolytes replenished. The pH tests are easy, quick and painless. All you need are the correct pH papers and the instructions for interpreting your results. You will need pH papers that measure between 5.5 and 8.0 for proper testing.
By working on our pH balance, we can achieve greater health and well-being. Information about the Cleanse Cookbook, pH papers and Capra Mineral Goat Whey are available on our website. Feel free to browse our archive of health and nutrition newsletters for more articles to improve your health and vibrant energy...
Christine Dreher, CCN, CCH is a Clinical Nutritionist, Herbalist, Author, President & Founder of Christine's Cleanse Corner, Inc., that specializes in nutritional and health education. For more information, call 858-673-0224.