Acid-base balance: Don’t get too acidic!

By Edwin
Acid-base balance: Don't get too acidic!

Our body is a marvel, dear readers. I find the finely balanced systems that collectively form our organism fascinating, orchestrating our daily (survival) life quietly and invisibly. One example is the body’s acid-base balance. It continuously monitors the blood pH, ensuring it stays between 7.35 and 7.45.

A pH value between 0 and 7 is considered acidic, while between 7 and 14 is alkaline. Even slight deviations can lead to severe organ damage, which is why the body has various buffering systems in the blood, metabolism, and respiration.

The Impact of Acidic and Alkaline Foods

Diet significantly influences the acid-base balance: the digestion of certain foods generates acids that need to be neutralized. However, eating acidic fruits like lemons does not create an acid surplus. On the contrary, many foods that taste sour have an alkalizing effect in the body, such as fruits, vinegar, and fermented dairy products. The acids in these foods are converted by the body into carbon dioxide and water, partly eliminated through breathing.

Conversely, when breaking down sulfur and phosphorus-containing compounds found in protein-rich foods, fixed acids are produced, not eliminated by respiration. These fixed acids are present in all protein-rich foods, especially meat, fish, and cheese. These acids need to be neutralized before excretion to prevent cell damage. For this, the body uses alkaline substances and minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. However, when there’s an excess of acid, these minerals often prove insufficient to neutralize such large amounts of acid. In such cases, the body extracts essential minerals from bones, teeth, hair, and other organs, leading to issues.

In cases of chronic acidosis, the body not only utilizes excessive endogenous minerals but also results in acid deposits in the connective tissue and fat cells over time. These crystallized residues accumulate in joints, muscles, organs, and blood vessels. The consequences of these processes can be devastating. Diseases such as osteoporosis, cavities, hair loss, rheumatism, and gout are among the outcomes, as are clogged blood vessels that promote atherosclerosis and hypertension. Additionally, these acids play a role in the formation of kidney, gallbladder, and bladder stones.

Acidic foods are rarely acid-forming; they often belong to alkaline-forming foods.

Acid-Base Balance: Obesity due to Acidosis?

Another effect of an overly acidic diet: the body cannot eliminate all acids and stores them in fatty and connective tissues. As long as the body is acidic, sustainable weight loss is infrequent: the toxins are securely enclosed within fat cells, protecting them from breakdown. Moreover, toxins hinder the production of hormones in the thyroid gland, responsible for fat burning.

If permanent weight loss seems unachievable, examining the acid-base balance might be necessary.

Nutrition for a Healthy Acid-Base Balance

Alkaline-forming foods primarily include fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Acid-forming foods consist of fish, meat, white flour products, and products containing added sulfur or phosphorus for preservation, such as processed meats and cola. Coffee and black tea also contribute to acidity.

The healthiest approach is to maintain a slightly alkaline diet. This provides the body with all the minerals, vitality, and nutrients necessary for a balanced acid-base equilibrium. Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables – ideally five handfuls daily – into your diet is a good start!

Fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs are essential components for a healthy acid-base balance.
Best Tips for a Healthy Acid-Base Balance
Drink plenty of water
Avoid fruit juices, iced teas, and sodas
Consume at least three, preferably five handfuls of fruits and vegetables per day
Prefer potatoes over pasta as a side dish. “Zoodles” made from vegetables are also a good alternative
Eat dairy products daily. They contain calcium and protein, aiding the body in neutralizing acids
Reduce intake of processed meats, meat, and fish
Limit consumption of baked goods made from white flour
Use salt sparingly, as it decreases the pH level.

The body’s acid-base balance is continuously monitored and regulated. A too acidic blood pH can lead to organ damage.

Foods can be categorized as acid-forming or alkaline-forming. The more acid-forming foods we consume, the harder it becomes for the body to break down these acids. In the worst-case scenario, the body stores these acids, leading to diseases. Therefore, the healthiest approach is to maintain a slightly alkaline diet. The most crucial alkaline-forming foods are fruits, vegetables, and herbs.