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Recent medical research has highlighted the importance of a notion hitherto not appreciated in its proper value, namely the acid-base balance of the organism. What exactly is it about? How to achieve this balance when our body tends by nature towards acidity and also nutrition and modern living conditions contribute to acidify it? All questions that every person concerned about their health will have to ask themselves sooner or later.
The pH is the measure of the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a liquid and is between 0 and 14. From 0 to 7, we speak of decreasing acidity, to 7, of neutrality, from 7 to 14, of increasing alkalinity.
In all living organisms any major and sudden changes in pH values can be deleterious. There are therefore a number of protection systems, called buffer systems, whose role is to avoid these variations.
A physiological process
As for pH variations, blood is the most protected tissue: its pH remains stable between 7.36 and 7.42 (in the same way as the pH of other physiological liquids: sweat, tears, lymph, etc. .). In fact the blood pH can vary only within narrow limits; if they are exceeded, severe metabolic and consciousness disorders may occur.
Instead, our body has a natural tendency to acidity, since, due to its functioning, it continuously produces acid waste. The latter are mainly eliminated through the kidneys and lungs. When the function of these organs is reduced or when, under the influence of multiple acidifying factors, the production of acids is too large, the waste is expelled into the connective tissue to maintain the blood pH at its normal value. Thus begins the dreaded process of acidification that can lead to chronic tissue acidosis.
A certain number of symptoms manifest and settle progressively in the body overloaded with acid waste. The main ones are: fatigue (especially morning and postprandial), unregulated appetite with bulimia crisis, bad breath, gastric hyperacidity, constipation, migraines, excessive perspiration, predisposition to colds, chronic neck pain, sinusitis and bronchitis as well as leucorrhoea (white discharge). In addition, chronic acidosis accelerates the aging process and constitutes the favorable ground for the onset of numerous diseases, including kidney and bladder diseases, rheumatism, diabetes, Basedow’s disease (hyperthyroidism) and even cancer.
You can easily detect tissue acidosis by measuring the pH of urine using a strip of test paper. It is imperative to repeat this measure three times a day for one or two weeks. If the measured values are always or very often lower than 7, this unfailingly means that the body is overloaded with acid metabolic waste.
The role of nutrition
Nutrition plays a primary role in the prevention and correction of acidosis. In fact, the combustion of food can produce acid or alkaline waste. A distinction is therefore made between “acidifying” foods and “alkalizing” or “basic” foods.
Maintaining the acid-base balance should be part of the hygiene of daily life.
The most acidifying foods are refined sugar and sweets, white flour and its derivatives, hydrogenated fats, refined oils, fatty broths, alcohol, coffee and tea. Meat, fish, egg white, strong and fermented cheeses and legumes are also suppliers of acids, but to a lesser extent.
Alkalizing or base-generating foods are: vegetables (except artichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, onions and leeks), vegetable juices and broths, fruit and its juice (except apricots, oranges and plums), dried fruit, aromatic herbs, potatoes, almonds, avocado, olives, soy and its derivatives, milk, yogurt, fresh cheeses, egg yolk and herbal teas . There are also foods in acid-base balance such as wholemeal cereals, wholemeal bread and pasta, wheat germ, oleaginous fruits (with the exception of peanuts), raw and cold pressed oils, raw and fresh butter, raw sugar.
The role of life hygiene
Since the acid metabolites are eliminated through the kidneys and lungs, accelerating the respiratory rate and stimulating diuresis, physical activity, especially outdoors, effectively contributes to restoring balance. Since they promote oxygenation, stays in the mountains also favorably influence the body’s pH.
The tendency to acidosis instead increases during any chronic or infectious disease, in situations of intense stress and in the case of taking analgesics (aspirin and its derivatives, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and morphine).
The role of alkalizing supplements
As we have seen, the correction of this disorder requires a change in eating habits and an improvement in hygiene of life. When these measures are insufficient, as generally occurs in the case of chronic diseases, alkalizing supplements will be used during the treatment, i.e. mixtures of basic salts, in the form of powder, tablets or capsules, available in pharmacies and in grocery shop. It should be noted that one of these products is of particular interest from a dietary point of view, since it associates spirulina, an algae exceptionally rich in complete proteins, vitamins, minerals and trace elements, with alkalizing salts.
Restoring the disturbed balance helps to prevent and cure many diseases.
If you want to deepen your knowledge on this topic, we recommend the monograph of Dr. Philippe-Gaston Besson “Acid-base: a vital dynamic” or a new publication by Bé Mäder and Erica Banziger “Health – a question of acid-base balance” (ref. ISBN 2-9700192-5-6).
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