The trouble with pH level

Chemical substances can be put into 3 categories, with acidic and basic being two extremes, just like hot and cold are used to refer to temperature. When a substance is neither acidic nor basic, we say it is neutral.

Understanding PH in the Body

pH is the measurement of how acidic or basic a substance is. For example, the pH level of pure water is 7, which is considered neutral because it represents the exact middle of the acidic to basic range. Anything with a pH of less than 7 is acidic, while having a pH above 7 makes that substance basic. pH values can range from 0 to 14, and each pH value under 7 is 10 times more acidic than the immediately previous value. The same is true for values above 7, only we usually call them alkaline (another way of saying basic). So a substance with a pH of 9 is 10 times more alkaline than a substance with a pH of 8.

Humans encounter acidic and alkaline substances in their daily lives all the time. Ammonia and detergents are considered alkaline, while vinegar and lemon juice are acidic. Basic chemistry tells us that combining alkaline and acidic substances will cancel out many of their extreme effects, though the extent at which that happens depends on how much of each substance is used. Neutral substances, however, can be made more alkaline or more acidic when combined with an acid or a base.

Is your diet too acidic? Cancer thrives in acidic environments

According to several laboratory studies, cancerous cells thrive in acidic environments, while they do not fare as well in alkaline conditions. Based on these findings, many natural doctors believe that controlling the intake of acidic foods can help decrease the overall acidity of the body and promote a healthy internal environment, free of cancerous cells.

In the book “Hidden Truth of Cancer”, Japanese doctor Keiichi Morishita explains that cancerous cells result from acidic deposits within the body. While normal cells die in acidic environments, abnormal cells can survive and become malignant. These malignant cells will then start growing indefinitely, becoming cancer.

Foods that can alkalize the body include a variety of specialist green powders, fruits, nuts, legumes and green vegetables, such as celery, lettuce, eggplant, spinach, tomatoes, parsley, avocado, seaweed, bananas, grapes, pears, peaches, bee pollen, probiotic beverages, almonds and chestnuts.

Conversely, foods that increase internal acidity include olives, blueberries, cranberries, grain products, beans, lentils, dairy, meat, sugar, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.

How to reduce the acidity of foods

Acidic foods don’t only affect the body on a microscopic level, they can also aggravate conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (or heartburn). However, thanks to a few chemistry tricks, there are ways to reduce the acidity of foods even when naturally acidic ingredients are used. One simple way is adding a pinch of baking soda to foods while cooking, which will reduce acidity without altering the flavor of the meal.

Cooking foods for shorter periods of time and consuming more raw or semi-raw fruits and vegetables can help lower overall acid intake. Prolonged cooking, however, concentrates the acid in foods by eliminating water.

As we’ve previously established, acid and base substances tend to cancel each other out. Adding more alkalizing ingredients into your diet will counter the effects of the acidic foods you are eating. For example, if you are preparing beans or fish, adding carrots and greens to the mix will lower the overall acidity of the dish.

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