I am always trying to learn more about ways in which we can become healthier and live disease free. Recently, I have been studying a lot about the pH of our bodies and how they effect health.
The pH of your body is the acid-base balance that the body likes to maintain. Alkalinity means that the body has pH higher that 7. The human body is sightly alkaline with a blood pH around 7.4.
If the body drops to a more acidic pH and is not returned to homeostasis through processes in the body, the cells of the body have a decreased ability to produce energy in the mitochondria.
Even a small shift towards being more acidic results in the impaired function of the electron transport chain which results in less energy production. This state of the body also results in a decreased supply of oxygen available which impairs the cells ability to repair and replenish themselves.
The low- oxygen environment associated with acidosis (a lower pH in the body) promotes growth of harmful microorganisms! The body’s immune system works the best in a narrow pH range. Acid- alkaline imbalances can weaken the body’s ability to ward off infectious microorganisms. The decreases oxygen state enables microorganisms that previously would not cause harm to become pathogenic.
As you can see, the body works the best in an alkaline state. Here are ways to promote this state and optimize your health.
Stress in the body results in an increased production of acid. This hyper-acidic environment results in many detrimental things: one of them being inflammation. Our bodies are so strong and can maintain homeostasis if the stress is managed and not too excessive. However, unmanaged, chronic stress is extremely detrimental. The hyper-acidic environment that too much stress causes, allows microorganisms to thrive.
To reduce stress I recommend removing tension from the body. Here are some tips to reduce stress:
- Long walk
- Take a break from social media/ your technology/ the TV
- Coloring (adult coloring books are amazing)
- Deep Breathing (check out Wim Hom Method)
- Call a friend
- Playing with animals
- Journaling (link to my favorite guided journal)
My last tip to reduce stress is to truly only focus on things you can control. Focusing all of your attention on becoming the healthiest person you can is one of the things you have a lot of control over. Quieting down your external environment will in return quiet down your internal environment.
While we have evolved several buffering systems to balance our pH when we consume acid-producing foods, eating too many and not enough alkaline-producing foods makes it even harder to achieve pH homeostasis. A quote from one of my favorite books, The Primal Blueprint , ” As you might guess, heavily processed foods, sugars, grains, deep-fried foods, alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, carbonated drinks and artificial sweeteners are acid-forming in the body, a precursor to many health problems and diseases. In contrast, by eating sufficient amounts of alkaline-forming foods- vegetables, local fruits, nuts, and seeds- you optimize your acid/base balance and improve metabolism to burn fat, build muscle, and reduce your susceptibility to environmental and dietary toxins.”
3. Appropriate exercise
Exercise impacts the body’s pH levels in various changes that can often be buffered by systems in the body. However, exercising at extremely high heart rate zones for extended periods of time results in a flood of stress hormones in to the bloodstream. I am not saying that high intensity exercise is bad, I think there is a time and place for it. However, if the goal is to reduce all stress and inflammation in the body and keep our bodies more alkaline, then optimal heart rate zones are 55-75% HR max. To make this easier, to ensure you are not in too high of a heart rate zone, make sure you can still speak sentences when you are exercising. I would suggest walking, hiking, cycling or just finding ways to move more often. Low-level exercise for longer duration promotes stronger capillaries (blood vessels) which provide oxygen and fuel to each muscle cell.
All in all, find things that make your body feel good and do more of those things. Most humans intuitively know that eating 10 cookies and drinking 3 beers does not make them feel good. Be smart with your decisions and focus on promoting optimal health!
Reach out if you would like a more personalized approach to this topic!
Stay fit, strong, healthy and happy !
Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson