Our internal biological environments are composed of complicated systems that are regulated primarily on the basis of pH or acid/ base makeup and temperature. All essential enzymatic and metabolic functions such as the Krebs cycle, which is how cells manage energy, can only function in optimal pH and temperature environments. Our internal temperatures remain relatively constant at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit unless we have a fever or are hypothermic. This leaves pH as the main regulating tool for our internal environment.
Importance of pH
The pH scale runs from 0-14 and is a measure of the acid/ base balance in liquid environments. A pH of 7 is considered neutral and an exact balance between acid and base components. Anything with a pH that is below 7 is considered to be acidic and anything with a pH above 7 is considered to be alkaline (or basic). Our bodies maintain a pH of about 7.35 which is slightly alkaline.
Most disease and illness is created and functions optimally in acidic environments. Our body’s ability to regulate itself and function properly breaks down when our internal environments are too acidic. Cancer and a huge host or other immune system malfunctions and degenerative diseases occur in acidic environments. Acidic environments are also optimal for promoting the growth of pathogenic microbes, fungi, parasites and viruses. Shifting towards a more alkaline environment when we are overly acidic is essential to restoring health and internal balance.
There are two main factors in our direct control that affect our internal pH. They are the foods we eat and our mental attitudes and emotions.
Foods We Eat
The things we put into our bodies have a huge impact on our health and wellbeing. They directly affect our internal pH balance. All meats and animal proteins such as eggs and milk products are acidic. These foods lower our pH to acidic levels and create optimal environments for the proliferation of disease and illness. Our bodies also have a limited ability to metabolize and digest animal proteins. If you eat a 16oz steak, the majority of that protein is left undigested. It will sit in your colon and bowels and rot creating an acidic environment in addition to indigestion and constipation. Since we live in a very wealthy society and can afford to consume meat 3 times a day, our bodies have become very acidic. Most grains and grain products are acidic as well. On the other side of the coin are foods that promote a more alkaline environment. These are the “healthy foods” that doctors and nutritionists tell us to consume and that we know we should consume more of. These foods include most fruits and vegetables (there are a few fruits and vegetables that are acidic), almonds and tofu. Below is a list of both acidic and alkaline foods.
|Acidic Foods||Alkaline Foods|
|– Corn, Lentils, Olives, Winter Squash||– All green vegetables (Spinach, Lettuce, Spirulina, Green Beans, etc)|
|– Blueberries, Canned or Glazed fruits, Cranberries, Currants, Plums, Prunes||– Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Chlorella, Mushrooms, Onions, Peppers, Tomatoes|
|– Animal Proteins, Milk and Dairy Products, Eggs, Animal Fats, Cashews
Legumes, Peanuts, Peanut Butter, Pecans
Tahini, Walnuts, Wheat, Wheat Products, Grains, Rice, Flour Products
|– Apple Apricot, Avocado, Banana, Berries, Blackberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, sour Coconut, fresh Currants, Dates, dried Figs, dried Grapes, Grapefruit, Honeydew Melon, Lemon, Lime, Muskmelons, Nectarine, Orange, Peach, Pear Pineapple, Raisins, Raspberries Rhubarb, Strawberries, Tangerine Tomato, Tropical Fruits, Umeboshi Plums, Watermelon|
|– Drugs, Alcohol, Caffeine, Tobacco, Ketchup, Mustard, Soft Drinks||– Some Alkalizing Minerals:Cesium: pH 14, Potassium: pH 14, Sodium: pH 14, Calcium: pH 12, Magnesium: pH 9|
Mental Attitudes and Emotions
Negative attitudes and emotions affect our internal pH levels because they are considered to be acidic. When we burden ourselves with negative attitudes we stimulate certain neurotransmitters that build up in the brain and eventually are metabolized into acids. Negative attitudes also stimulate the sympathetic nervous system.
Our autonomic nervous system is like the bridge between our energetic aspects (thoughts, emotions) and our physical bodies. It has two major components: sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system is the part of our nervous system that keeps us alert, active and in work mode. It is also responsible for the flight or fight response which is associated with stress, anxiety and depression. The parasympathetic nervous system is the rest and relaxation response. It’s the part of the nervous system we experience when we are calm, relaxed and at ease. These two aspects of our autonomic nervous system are supposed to be in balance and in harmony with one another. They are the rest/ work or yin/ yang aspects of ourselves. The cells of our body excrete toxins and waste material when the body is in a more parasympathetic state. When we are overly stressed and filled with negative emotions we are in a sympathetic state and hinder the cells ability to excrete waste products. Waste material and toxins are considered acidic and a build up them causes an overly acidic internal environment. Nicotine and caffeine stimulate the sympathetic nervous system in addition to being acidic themselves.
We can consciously stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system through proper breathing and relaxation exercises. Biofeedback is a tool used by natural health care practitioners to help people consciously affect and stimulate their parasympathetic nervous systems.
In order to restore balance to our bodies and achieve optimal health and wellness, we need to be very conscious of what we put in our bodies and the mental attitudes and emotions we promote. By eating more alkaline foods such as fruits and vegetables, promoting positive mental attitudes and consciously learning to relax, we can greatly affect our health in positive and affirming ways.
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