Life is based on a balance between opposing forces. Good cannot exist without evil, day without night or awakening without rest. In the body, it is acidity and alkalinity that lead a permanent battle. The acid-base balance is a fundamental notion to be integrated into daily life in order to improve one’s lifestyle and above all to adapt one’s diet to the functioning of digestion.
Every fibre in the human body responds to this balance between acidity and alkalinity. The body can only tolerate very small variations in acidity levels. This degree is measured in pH, or hydrogen potential, using pH paper. Note that 6.9 is considered acidic and 7.1 is considered alkaline.
The pH of the blood
It is between 7.32 and 7.42. No life is possible outside of this rate, as any variation can lead to significant disturbance or even death. It should be noted, however, that excessive acidification is impossible, because the pH of the blood is maintained by the body by drawing the substances alkaline in the other organs, even if it means deficiency.
Take calcium, for example, which is an alkaline element. An average intake of 1.2 grams (1200 mg) is sufficient for an adult. When its level in the blood drops 3% below the ideal threshold, the body will look for calcium where it is sure to find it, for example in the bones, cartilage or teeth.
After a few years of excess acidity, the minerals extracted will be lacking in the organs, leading to demineralisation, which will cause disorders such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis or dental caries.
To stop demineralization and allow bone and cartilage to regenerate, the acid-base balance must be restored.
The urinary pH
It is between 6.5 and 7.5 for a person with a healthy lifestyle and a healthy body weight.
By testing your urine with pH paper, it’s easy to see if the body seeks to remove excess acid.
The morning urine pH (which corresponds to the second urine after getting up) should be between 5.5 and 6.5. A more acidic pH in the morning is normal, because the body concentrates the day’s acidifiers at night to eliminate them.
The urine pH at noon should be between 6.5 and 7. The evening urine pH should be between 7 and 7.5.
The pH of the skin
It’s hovering around 5.2. Its acidity is a natural barrier to protect possible intrusion of microbes, viruses…
How can the body be acidified ?
Through thoughts and emotions: negative thoughts, anger, violence, stress, overwork
- By fatigue: lack of sleep
- Lack of activity: poor oxygenation of the cells, lack of movement.
- By the excess of acidic or acidifying foods, such as refined sugars, meats, eggs…
- By an insufficient intake of alkaline foods, e.g. avocado, vegetables, vegetable proteins, etc.
- By overeating in general
Now that we understand what makes our bodies acidic, let’s look at what causes acid overload and the symptoms it causes.
When we eat meat, proteins are digested to be transformed into uric, phosphoric, sulphuric acid… and are eliminated by the kidneys.
Excessive meat consumption leads to so it’s a tough job removing the acids.
The resulting acid overload will be stored in the body in the joints, muscles, tissues… It will slowly clog the body, and the first symptoms of disorders will gradually appear.
Here are some examples of symptoms that can be attributed to acid overload. The list is far from being exhaustive as the number of symptoms is impressive:
- Rheumatism and joint and bone disorders
- Canker sores in the mouth and crack at the corner of the lips
- Gastric regurgitation and reflux, stomach ulcers
- Calculations and skin problems
- ENT disorders (sinusitis, bronchitis, ear infections…)
- Burning sensation and anal pruritus
- Muscle cramps
- Less effective immune system
- Chronic fatigue
- Depression, nervousness, irritability
- Heavy Limb Syndrome
Now that you are aware of the problems that can occur in case of acid overload, let’s take a look at the acid-base balance of digestion.
Acid-base balance of digestion
The digestion is done with a precise pH according to the function of the organs of the digestive tract. Some food is digested in the mouth, others in the stomach and so on. Each digestive organ has its own level of acidity or alkalinity needed to digest a particular food.
This is why the order and choice of food combinations are important.
The levels of pH
- Mouth (saliva): pH neutral from 7 to 8
- Stomach: pH 1.5 (at night) to 5 (at the beginning of the day)
- Gall bladder (bile): pH 7.6 to 8.6
- Small intestine: pH 6
- Large intestine: pH 8
Macro-nutrients, digestion and pH
Proteins are digested in a very acidic medium ranging from pH 2 to pH 4.
Starch and carbohydrates are digested in a basic medium ranging from pH 7 to pH 9.
Since certain categories of foods are digested in different environments, there are associations that are strongly discouraged. Because if you mix these foods during the same meal, some will have to “wait their turn” to be digested, which gives them time to ferment. Digestion then becomes longer and more difficult, and gas and bloating will result.
- Slow carbohydrates should not be combined with animal proteins: steak/chips, meat/pasta, meat/purée, rice-meat…
- Dairy products such as yoghurt, milk, cheese… do not mix well with bread.
- The consumption of meat at every meal is cultural, but totally unsuitable to the needs of the body. A regular consumption of meat combined with dairy products during the same period of time meal causes long-term disorders.
- Fruit should be eaten outside of meals.
- For children, starchy foods (rice, pasta, potatoes, etc.) should not be eaten with a dairy product and/or sweetened for dessert. This causes ENT problems, such as otitis.
How to restore the acid-base balance ?
Here are a few tips to restore the acid-base balance:
- Decrease acidifying foods and increase alkaline products (see the list below)
- Favour raw foods
To absorb a maximum of vitamins and mineral salts, which are destroyed during cooking.)
- Eat food in the right order
We will go from the most nutritious to the least nutritious starting with raw vegetables, then cooked and starchy and finally meat. This avoids fermentations, but also means that you can start eating meat only when you are close to satiety, so you can naturally reduce the quantities without going hungry or risking not finishing the most interesting foods in terms of vitality.
- Eat slowly, chew well
This makes the food more alkaline.
- Eat meals in calm and/or joy
The healthiest food in the world becomes poisonous if eaten at reluctantly or without pleasure.
- Do not force yourself
Use small portions and refill rather than wasting or forcing yourself to finish your plate.
- Don’t eat upset
It’s best to wait until you’re calmer or skip the meal.
- Cultivating positive thinking
We have all noticed that annoyances affect transit.
- Oxygenate to properly absorb nutrients
Nature walk, abdominal breathing exercises.
- Getting physical activity (adapted to your level and your desires)
Categorization of alkalinizing and acidifying foods
|Dry almond Fig|
|Leek (in both categories)|
|Chestnut (concentrated starch)|
|Potato (concentrated starch)|
|Jerusalem artichoke (concentrated starch)|
Pulses and cereals
|Complete barley||Dry bean|
|Human milk (lipids)||Butter (lipids)|
|Skimmed yogurt (lean protein)||Fresh cream (lipids)|
|Cow’s milk (lipids)|
|Egg (yolk)||Veal/beef meat|
My advices to keep a good acido-basic balance
Avoid industrial products to which sugars and fats have been added.
Avoid overly complicated food mixtures. Keep it simple: 75-80% starch and 20-25% protein at one meal and the opposite at the next. It’s much less heavy on the digestion.
Eat fruits outside of meals. If possible, move the dessert to the afternoon for a snack.
Honey is to be taken alone or in a warm drink.
Nibbling weakens the stomach by never leaving it empty and therefore at rest.
Cow’s milk should be limited and if possible eliminated. This milk is not adapted to the human organism, it is produced by the mother to fatten a baby calf of 360 kilos in one year. Furthermore, the processes used to make cows produce milk all year round are potentially toxic, as they rely on the use of antibiotics and hormone treatments, among other things.