In today’s fast-paced life, maintaining a proper diet that keeps you healthy and energized has become more just a mere necessity. The acid-ash hypothesis states that acidic diets have an overall negative effect on the human body. From chronic pain to kidney stones, studies show that an acid-rich diet is indeed detrimental to a healthy body. Consequently, the alkaline diet has come to limelight recently. Let’s take a deeper look into the matter and find out what should be done for a healthy living.
The pH Story
The pH value is a measurement of how acidic or basic a substance is. Calculated on a scale of 1 to 14, a pH below 7 means the item is acidic, above 7 till 14 means it is basic and 7 means it is neutral. The human body too has different pH levels: some parts are more acidic, others are more alkaline. The blood pH is slightly basic. The optimal range is between pH 7.35 to 7.45. The stomach has a pH around 3.5 due to the secretion of hydrochloric acid that helps to breakdown food and to kill bacteria.
If the blood pH level falls out of the normal limits even minutely in either direction, it will drastically impair metabolism and can prove to be fatal. Too much alkalinity causes alkalosis while too much acidity causes acidosis. The kind of food we consume usually affects the overall pH of the human body.
Dangers of Acidic Food
The body’s buffering system can regulate the pH of the bloodstream effectively through a process called acid-base homeostasis. The involved mechanisms: renal compensation and respiratory compensation make it very difficult for a person’s diet to influence the pH level. However, excess consumption of highly acidic foods can lower the blood pH, especially if you already have preexisting disease states such as ketoacidosis which is caused by diabetes, and excess intake of alcohol.
Acidosis is the condition where the body becomes too much acidic. Under a mild condition, it raises the free radical content in the body, thus, reducing cellular energy. In such an environment, your body becomes more susceptible to viral and bacterial attacks. It increases your cortisol levels, thereby causing stress and harming your sleep pattern. Shallow breathing, muscle twitching, headaches, confusion, and nausea are among other symptoms. Below a pH level of 7, severe acidosis occurs. If left untreated, it can result in coma and subsequent death.
Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or simply acid reflux is a medical situation where acid splashes up into the esophagus from the stomach and causes heartburn. The sphincters are a band of muscles in the esophagus that under normal condition closes to prevent the backflow of acid. Acidic food like fatty food, alcohol and other caffeinated beverages relax the sphincter, thereby triggering acid reflux.
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, found out that high-acid diet enhances the chances of chronic kidney ailments and kidney failure. The food intake greatly determines the pH of human urine. If the urine has an acidic pH, it can lead to uric acid or kidney stones.
Low Bone Density
The amount of calcium lost through urine increases on overconsumption of acid forming foods as calcium, an alkalizing element leaches out of the bones and tries to neutralize the excess acid in the blood. This diminishes bone density and leads to conditions like osteoporosis.
The high acid content in the body can alter growth hormone levels, reduce muscle mass, and increase body fat. Acidic foods are also known to aggravate canker sores and promote enamel erosion.
Are all Acidic Food that Bad?
The following food items are high in acidic content and, therefore, their intake should be limited:
• Red meat (pork, beef, lamb)
• Carbonated Sodas and sweetened beverages
• Ultra-processed foods like frozen dinner
• Dairy products
• Refined sugar
• High protein foods and supplements
A better alternative is a low-acid or alkalizing diet. Plant-based protein such as beans and legumes, fruits and vegetables are base-forming foods and are known to counter the effect of excess acid and keep your body healthy. Citrus fruits like lemon, orange, grapefruit, etc. although contain acids, on metabolism act as alkaline substances.
They are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. So, even if the benefits are not related to the reduction of pH level in the blood, increasing their intake will result in overall better health.
If you are one of those people suffering from gastric problems like acidity and consumption of acidic foods causes you pain and discomfort, turn to Gas-o-fast for instant relief.
With excellent digestive properties of jeera and ajwain, Gas-o-fast works upon the acids at their source, thus serving as an effective cure for acidity, indigestion, belching, and bloating and other symptoms of acid reflux.