In part 2 of this topic, Karen Fischer from her book The Healthy Skin Diet discusses how to measure body acidity or alkalinity and importantly how to shift the balance from acid to a more alkaline system.

How is body acidity or alkalinity measured?

Your body has a natural acid and alkaline balance which is measured by the traditional pH scale (pH literally means ‘potential for hydrogen’). For example, a pH of 1.0 is completely acid and a pH of 14 is all alkaline, and 7.0 is neutral. The pH of a substance is determined by how many hydrogen ions are in a substance. All acids in the body give off hydrogen ions as they dissolve in water.

Now, for the body to remain alive and well the blood needs to be slightly alkaline — at a pH of 7.365 to be precise. If your blood pH becomes slightly acidic your blood would burn holes in your blood vessels. As you can imagine, you can’t feel healthy if you have holes in your veins. In fact, if the blood pH was to vary by about one-tenth, your body’s biomechanical function would fail and you’d die. However the body, being the wise thing that it is, has many back-up plans to ensure the blood’s pH balance is maintained:

1. The body uses its alkaline reserves such as alkaline minerals to keep the blood pH at the correct level. If you keep having an acid lifestyle, these stores run out and your body needs to go to back-up plan number 2 …

2. Back-up plan number 2 involves quickly removing excess acids from your blood and storing them safely in your fat cells. Unfortunately, overweight people who have heaps of acid stored in their fat usually have an incredibly difficult time losing weight because their body will do everything to avoid the influx of acid that would be released during weight-loss. An acidic body holds onto excess weight, making dieting extremely difficult.

3. After your body uses up its alkaline reserves and after it has stored acids in your fat, what happens next? Back-up plan number 3: your body takes

Alkalinising

Alkalinising

alkaline minerals such as calcium from your bones. This is one of the reasons why people getosteoporosis and shrink as they get older. Their acid lifestyle is threatening to disrupt their blood pH and the body is protecting the blood by leeching calcium from their bones. Unfortunately the modern Western diet is excessively acidic. There are two ways you can find out how acidic you are.

Firstly (and this is the more accurate way), your doctor can test your blood pH with a simple blood test. You need to ask for this test specifically as it is not a routine blood test. A healthy pH reading for your blood is between 7.35 and 7.45; as you can see it’s a very narrow range.

Secondly, you can test your saliva or urine pH with pH strips that you can purchase from your local pharmacy. These pH strips are made of litmus paper, which changes colour when acidic or alkaline substances come into contact with it. Dr Guerrero, a famous American doctor who studied traditional Chinese medicine and is the author of In Balance for Life, recommends testing the urine rather than saliva as the kidneys are one of the body’s organs that eliminate acids. However the urine test is not as accurate as a blood test but it can reveal if you’re acidic and you can do the test daily. This is useful because acid and base (alkalinity) levels fluctuate daily. When your body’s pH is in balance, your urine pH will be between 7.0 and 7.5.5

Cross-check your results from the first blog by doing a pH urine test for five days in a row (to get a more accurate average). Do the urine test first thing in the morning, on rising.

What causes excess acidity in the body?

  • acid-forming foods, poor diet
  • stress (covered in Chapter 10)
  • coffee and other products containing caffeine
  • alcohol
  • smoking
  • chemicals
  • dehydration/not enough water
  • parasites (worms)
  • candida albicans
  • drugs, including prescriptive medications
  • constipation/poor bowel health.

Acid-forming foods

There are many types of acid-producing foods and the most common ones come from animal produce. Now these foods don’t seem acidic before you

Acidic when cooked, alkaline when raw

Acidic when cooked, alkaline when raw

pop them in your mouth — they contain some acids but they also form acids once they’re digested. Acid-forming foods are okay in moderation but when your body is continually trying to counteract an acidic state, acid can become poison to your system.

When you have an acidic system, your body will eventually tire of shunting calcium away from your bones and storing acid in your fat. And if you’re a thin person, with limited fat cells, then you’re in a worse predicament than an overweight person.

Where is your acid being stored? As you can imagine, skinny people can get sick very, very quickly. This means that Skinny-Minnies need to be extra healthy to feel great and have beautiful skin. You can probably guess most of the common acid-forming foods as they’re also the usual ‘offending’ foods that already have bad reputations, such as sugar, white flour products, foods high in saturated fats and damaged (trans) fats, meat, dairy, soft drinks, chips and alcohol. But what you may find surprising is that when you chomp on a piece of fruit, it creates acid during digestion. This is because most fruits have an extremely high sugar content. Yes, these are natural sugars but they promote acidity and they provide a quick and easy meal for thriving microbes.

Acid-forming foods — the worst offenders

  • vinegar
  • liquor/spirits/whiskey
  • pork
  • beef
  • processed fruit juice
  • yellow cheese
  • milk kefir
  • yoghurt sweetened with fruit
  • sugar & artificial sweetener
  • carp
  • processed meat/ham/devon
  • crayfish
  • herring
  • salmon
  • lobster
  • mackerel
  • black tea
  • artificial sweeteners
  • sugar
  • chocolate/cocoa
  • coffee
  • milk
  • soft drinks
  • tap water
  • wine
  • hydrogenated fats
  • peanut & walnut oils
  • commercially made tomato sauce
  • pickles & mustard
  • processed table salt
  • chickpeas
  • peanuts
  • hazelnuts
  • pecans
  • sunflower seeds
  • walnuts
  • pstachios
  • blackcurrants
  • kiwi fruit
  • mandarins
  • oranges
  • pineapple
  • milled
  • white rice
  • white flour products
  • white/yeast breads

Acid-forming foods — the milder ones

  • Beer
  • Wholegrains, wholewheat
  • Amaranth
  • Brown rice
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Qunoa
  • Spelt
  • Soft cheeses
  • Eggs (whole)
  • plain organic yoghurt
  • chicken
  • flounder
  • lamb
  • oysters
  • kidney beans
  • Trout
  • sole
  • lentils
  • peas
  • cashews
  • coconut
  • pine nuts
  • sesame seeds
  • apples
  • fresh apricots
  • blueberries
  • cherries
  • figs
  • grapes
  • mangoes
  • watermelon, melon
  • pears
  • plums
  • pomegranates
  • strawberries
  • most dried fruits
  • carbonated mineral water
  • (heated) cold pressed oils
  • organic mustard

READER QUESTION

Q ‘I’ve heard that acid-forming foods are bad for me. Do I have to totally avoid them to be healthy?’

A No! The foods and liquids that exert the strongest acid-producing effect can be enjoyed in moderation. However, during the Healthy Skin Diet these substances will be strictly limited to no more than three serves per day. Two serves is two glasses of alcohol or one coffee and salmon or chickpeas for dinner. Keep your animal protein serves small — about the size of the palm of your hand — especially if you’re eating meat.

Keep it in balance aiming for a 50:50 ratio of acidic to alkaline forming foods.

Foods that are mildly alkalising:

  • Asparagus
  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • Onions, shallots
  • radishes
  • endives
  • turnips
  • egg yolk
  • whey (fresh)
  • brazil nuts
  • avocado
  • bananas
  • grapefruit
  • tomatoes (uncooked)
  • dates
  • raisins
  • almond milk
  • herbal teas
  • natural mineral water (non-carbonated)
  • spring or filtered water
  • butter, buttermilk
  • cold pressed olive oil (unheated)
  • herbs & spices
  • sea salt (unrefined)

Foods that are strongly alkalising:

  • Most vegetables
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Artichoke
  • Beets, beet greens
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Dandelion greens
  • Green beans
  • Cabbage
  • Lettuce (not iceberg)
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Capsicum
  • Yams
  • Zucchini
  • Almonds
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Freshly made vegetable juice
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Green drinks: chlorophyll, wheat grass

Remember: keep it in balance aiming for a 50:50 ratio of acidic to alkaline forming foods.

Related Articles:

Improve your blood alkalinity and detoxification with Chlorophyll

Aging – does diet really make a difference?

Lemon Meringue Detox

Our first Blog!! The healthy skin diet

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