Home' Nova West : February 2010 Contents JEREMY HILL
WE ALL strive to achieve balance in our
lives, juggling work with play, fresh food
with fast food, being social with quiet time,
exercising with kicking back, and so on.
Balance is good for us on many levels
and this includes our biochemistry, with
accumulating evidence suggesting that
balancing your body's acidity to alkalinity
levels (measured by the logarithmic pH
scale) can drastically improve many aspects
of your health.
The pH scale ranges from zero to 14,
with a slightly alkaline 7.4 (just above neutral
seven) being the healthy optimal, while
below seven is increasingly acidic. Anything
below 6.5 is considered problematic to
health, and easily induced by an eating
pattern rich in sugars, grains, dairy and
meats. This is why a typical modern Western
diet is generally considered acid forming.
Alternatively, numbers above seven are
increasingly alkaline and tend to be seen
in those who favour more of a pre-
agricultural, or Palaeolithic diet with far
more emphasis on the alkalising foods such
as fruit, vegetables and legumes, which
would serve to counteract an acidic load.
Having a predominantly acidic system
created in your body when you eat either
an excess of acid-forming foods or an
inadequate amount of alkaline foods,
has been shown to destabilise the bodily
chemistry to such an extent that suggested
links include a wide array of disorders,
including an increased risk of heart disease,
cancer, allergies, fatigue, neurological
problems, premature ageing and difficulty in
losing excessive weight.
An acknowledged consequence of
being too acidic is that your bones have
a tendency to dissolve minerals such as
calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium
and the acid-buffering bicarbonate out of
their structures in an attempt to address
the acidic load in the blood. In the long-
term, this can weaken the bones and
increases the risk of osteoporosis and
Research published in the New
England Journal of Medicine back in
1994 showed a significant reduction can
be achieved in bone breakdown and an
increase in the formation of bone when
the excess acid load, or subliminal acidosis,
was adjusted through the simple use of the
alkalising agent, potassium bicarbonate.
As noted recently in an editorial for the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
foods were much richer in potassium in
the Palaeolithic or Stone Age diet than they
are today. The Palaeolithic dietary approach
is proving popular among many healthy
eating aficionados and diet researchers
alike. This diet seems to be providing us
with a terrific framework for an alkaline
diet and a healthy lifestyle to boot.
As well as having a better diet, the
estimated daily activity levels of Stone Age
people far exceeded our own, burning at
least 2 to 6 times more calories a day than
that of the average modern movement
pattern. They also consumed significantly
more fibre and potassium-rich fruits and
vegetables and virtually no grains or dairy.
You might be surprised to hear that their
diets also tended to be higher in both
protein and total caloric load than the
current modern diets. The acid-forming
nature of meats, cheeses and eggs is
certainly not a valid reason to avoid these
valuable foods. Instead, the answer lies in
increasing the base or alkaline load of your
diet, which can easily be achieved by eating
more fruits and vegetables. Many people
also choose to improve their alkalinity by
supplementing with powdered green algae
super foods such as spirulina and chlorella.
On the food front, don't be fooled into
avoiding acidic foods such as tomatoes,
oranges and lemons, for while these foods
are acidic by nature, they are not acid
forming within the body. Lemon juice is a
terrific example. Despite its actual acidity
being a fairly low pH of 2.3 (stomach acid
is about 1.5), lemon juice is used by some
folk as an alkalising agent due to its citric
acid content actually having the ability to
induce an alkalising effect within the body.
Potassium citrate is a supplement which
combines the alkalising effect of citric acid
and with another strongly alkalising agent,
potassium, to create a very effective method
for rapidly and positively affecting pH.
Adding the conditionally essential amino
acid glutamine is also often helpful,
particularly when an acidic system is
inducing muscle breakdown. Additional
glutamine may have a muscle sparing
effect, as it is able to be converted into
acid-buffering ammonia in the kidneys.
One of the first steps in any course
of action is, of course, to find out if you
actually need to do anything at all, and this
involves testing and monitoring. By testing
the acidity of your first morning urine over
a period of weeks through the use of pH
strips, you can quickly gain an objective
reference as a starting point. You can then
monitor how your pH responds as you adjust
your health through various dietary, lifestyle
and supplemental interventions.
Remember, creating an alkaline diet
is not about cutting out all acid-forming
foods, but rather merely limiting them and
paying more attention to having adequate
alkaline foods in your diet. Mum sure knew
what she was talking about when she said,
"Eat your veggies."
Jeremy Hill (Diploma of Natural Therapy)
is a Qualified Naturopath
"This (Stone Age) diet seems to be providing us with a terrific
framework for an alkaline diet and a healthy lifestyle to boot."
A Balancing Act
© NOVA FEBRUARY 2010
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