by: Shaylyn Romney Garrett, HC, TNC
If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t thought about pH since your seventh grade
science class. But it turns out that pH has a lot to do with your overall health
and wellness, and can be an incredible tool for healing, especially when you’re
dealing with chronic illness.
pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of different substances and is recorded on
a scale of 0 to 14. The middle of that scale—with a measure of 7—is considered
neutral. Above 7 is considered alkaline, and below 7, acidic. When we’re measuring
the pH of the human body, generally we are looking to understand the acidity or
alkalinity of the blood, spinal fluid, saliva, and urine, but this can extend even to
intracellular fluid. Basically, all the various fluids that help your body perform vital
functions have a baseline pH. And the surprising reality is that the daily choices you
make about what to eat have a huge effect on what that pH is.
If you had to guess what the ideal pH would be for the human body, what do you think
it might be? More acidic? More alkaline? Or a nice, neutral 7? As it turns out, the
optimal pH is just slightly alkaline, between about 7.2 and 7.4. There are certain
parts of your body that are more acidic (such as the stomach, which needs acid to
break down food) but these areas are well contained and generally don’t influence
the rest of the body. The reason that the body should ideally be alkaline is that
parasites, viruses, bacteria, and even the mutated cells that cause cancer, all struggle
to get a foothold and replicate in an alkaline environment. This means that if you can
get and keep your body into an alkaline state, you will be effectively fighting off
chronic illness—and the bugs that cause and correlate with it—24 hours a day!
Testing Your pH
Testing pH in the human body is simple, effective, and inexpensive—using test strips
like the ones pictured here. These strips are available online and in most health food
stores. You simply place the strip in the stream of your urine or use it to swab your
saliva, wait a few seconds, and then compare the resulting color to the chart on the
package. The color will indicate what your pH is. The best time to test your pH is
about one hour before a meal or two hours after a meal. pH can and will vary a bit
throughout the day as your body performs different functions, but if you stay between
6.5 and 7.5 all day, you are falling within a healthy range. But if you’re consistently
6.5 or below, you’re acidic. Testing this periodically—even multiple times a day—can
give you a very useful measure of how your body is functioning when it comes to
fighting off disease, achieving detoxification, and even regulating pain.
Getting Your Body Alkaline
If you test your pH and find that you’re highly acidic (which is very common in people
struggling with chronic illness) try these strategies to get back to an ideal, alkaline
1. Greens, Greens, Greens!
By far the best way to get your body more alkaline is to dramatically increase the
amount of vegetables you are consuming, especially green vegetables. Plants are
the best source of lots of vital nutrients, including minerals, which play a huge
role in alkalinity. Of particular benefit are fresh sprouts. If for some reason you
struggle to eat green vegetables in their whole form, try adding a green smoothie
to your diet as a breakfast, lunch, or snack replacement. Another option is coldpressed
wheatgrass juice, which is like a shot of alkalinity. If fresh green juice
isn’t available to you, you can purchase a good quality organic greens powder,
which you can add to smoothies or mix into water or juice as a daily drink.
2. Mineral Supplements
In many ways, your pH is like a report card on how your body is managing its
mineral stores. For this reason, a good quality food-based mineral supplement can
often help. Look for a supplement that contains a combination of calcium,
magnesium, sodium, and potassium, which are your body’s main alkaline minerals.
When you don’t have enough of them in your system (and the vast majority of
Americans do not) you are very likely acidic. Combining this supplement with a
good quality trace mineral drop can be helpful as well. Trace minerals are
substances your body needs in very small amounts, but which are vital to countless
bodily functions, including maintaining alkalinity. Minerals are something your
body cannot manufacture on its own, so they have to come through your diet. If
you are testing acidic, start supplementing with minerals today.
3. Ditch the Acidifying Foods
Just as there are foods that help alkalize the body, there are also foods that
create acidity. (It’s important to keep in mind that we’re talking about the effect
certain foods have on the pH of your body, not the pH of the foods themselves.)
The biggest acidifying culprits are sugar, dairy, grains, fast food, processed foods,
and poor-quality vegetable oils. When you cut these out of your diet, it gives your
body a fighting chance to reestablish alkalinity and bounce back from illness. As
you make your food choices, just think, “Every food I put in my mouth will either
feed or fight my illness.” When it comes to pH, it’s really that straightforward. Eat
like your life depends upon it!
When we look at modern society as a whole, we see a great deal of chronic illness and
disease. One important contributing factor to this is that our typical diet of processed
foods is putting most of us into an acidic state. And our failure to eat our greens and
vegetables means our diets are missing the minerals that create alkalinity. According
to some studies, the average American measures just 5.5 on the pH scale, and cancer
patients often have a pH as low as 4.5. These levels are highly acidic—effectively a
breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, and parasites. No wonder we see so much
sickness in the world today!
Start right away to get your body into a more alkaline state. You’ll be supporting your body in fighting it off and getting you back to health and wellness.