I’ve been suffering from chronic sinus infections for about ten years now. I’m sure many of you can relate to this as I’ve realised how common this is! Based on my laboratory tests made in 2014 by Infectolab in Augsburg Germany, the tests indicated that I was also suffering from Chronic Chlamydia pneumonia lung infection. At the same time, I was taken a wide range of food allergy tests by Genova Diagnostics and the blood nutrition values by a Finnish Mineral Laboratory Mila (the website is only in Finnish). The conclusion was, very briefly, my nutrition components were all over the place!
My progressive physician’s order was a newly changed diet boosted with vitamins, minerals, good fats and efficient lactic acid bacteria. The downside was that I ended up eating six months three different antibiotics at the same time! The result… it’s the year 2016 and unfortunately, the chronic lung disease along with the symptomatic maxillary sinus still seems to exist. But the physicians advises weren’t a waste of time. I kept feeling better and better while my conscious diet was taking place more efficiently in my life. I kept reading more about nutrition, body functions, different diets and about the link between illnesses and our western lifestyle. I was fascinated! If I could basically have an influence on my DNA by changing my nutrition, or in the other words closing or opening the doors of bad genes or good genes, I could probably make a huge difference in the amount of free radicals and inflammation in my body.
But as I found out in the becoming years, it’s not easy to change one’s lifestyle and eating habits so dramatically. I was a real sugar addict! Not even really realising it back in those days. In our society, it is considered “normal” to buy a chocolate bar or two every day, eat cereal, bread and sweet yoghurt in the morning, pasta for lunch, bread with margarine with light cheese topping and sweet juice for a snack, potatoes and light calorie beef for dinner. A lot of trans fats, high in sugar, bad carbohydrates and all.
Stress and shallow breathing – By breathing deeper and more vigorously exhale, we can release CO2 from the lungs and decrease the acidity.
Finally, I came across a situation in my life where I got totally burned out. Life was taking me to a direction where I was desperate for more energy, brain functionality, self-esteem and overall health so that I could have continued on that road. But I had no energy at all. And no physician was able to help me any further. I was not willing to continue with the huge dose of antibiotics while they were ruining my intestinal gut system and causing more symptoms that there was, to begin with.
THE RIGHT TIME FOR THE RIGHT DIET
Somewhere I bumped into a body tissue pH-balance revealing article and it got my attention. I went straight to a pharmacy and bought a package of pH test strips. I learned that the body tissue pH-level has a great significance for our health versus sicknesses. For example bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungus as well as cancer cells need an acidic environment to flourish. Many other chronic illnesses require an acidic environment but also very common, everyday affection like a headache and receptivity for migraines, heartburn, intestinal symptoms, flatulence, skin problems and fatigue can all be signs of too much acidity in a body tissue. The whole immune system compromises.
The arterial blood pH-level is tightly regulated between 7,35 and 7,45, so even a small change in around the reference area shows severe interruption on the body acid-alkaline balance. I also discovered that the body tissue pH- balance can vary a lot more than the arterial blood pH, and this is something that those pharmacy test strips are meant to test for. The urine test can give you a rough estimate of your acids-alkaline balance and it can normally vary during the day from 5,5 to 8 (the pH scale runs from 0 to 14). You can also measure your pH with saliva when the great place to be is somewhere between 6,8-7,2. Optimally, the slightly alkaline (7 is considered neutral) is what we want. Our body develops acids all the time that needs to be neutralised. The body includes a number of organ systems that are adept at neutralising and eliminating excess acid, but there is a limit to how much acid even a healthy body can cope with effectively. We can support this body’s own neutralising system by the food choices we make. The result of alkaline food will show in urine or saliva slowly, and it might take even up to six months to see any results. At first, you might experience increased acid level of your urine, however, which is a sign that your kidneys are doing their job – ridding you of excess acid. Sometimes the damage of chronic acidity is so severe, that the damage might be irreversible.
WHAT CAUSES ACIDITY IN OUR BODY?
Many things (listed below) can cause excess acidity in our body. What comes to nutrition, the basic idea is that the foods you eat can alter the acidity or alkalinity (the pH value) of your body. When your body burns food, it actually leaves a residue. As it turns out this can be either acidic or alkaline (or neutral). Food components that leave an acidic trace include protein, phosphate and sulphur, while alkaline components include calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The worst enemy for our body pH-balance seems to be sugar and the nutrients that turn into sugar, like all carbohydrates – whole grain or not.
It is important for body cells to maintain a high level of cellular energy to attain, and maintain, optimum health through an alkaline medium. Acidified body cells become weak and lead to various unhealthy and low-grade body tissue conditions and diseases, such as low-grade acidosis, chronic acidosis, nutrient deficiencies, bone diseases, arthritis, muscular weakness and diseases, organic ligament damage, cancer, strokes, heart disease, colon disease, and a host of digestive problems that rob you of the energy your body cells require.
All the following can cause excessive acidity in our body:
- too acid nutrition (especially sugar and grain products)
- excess animal meats in the diet (from non-grass fed sources)
- poor chewing and eating habits
- processed and refined foods
- lack of exercise
- chronic stress
- overuse of alcohol and drugs
- carbonated beverages
- pollution and toxins
- antibiotic overuse
- exposure to chemicals and hormones (from foods, beauty products, household cleaners etc.)
In long-term acidic environment in the body tissue, normal cell structure and function are damaged.
BODY BUFFERING AGAINST THE EXCESS ACIDITY
The body includes a number of organ systems that are adept at neutralising and eliminating excess acid, but there is a limit to how much acid even a healthy body can cope with effectively. It takes years for the body to develop an acidic environment because of this “body buffering” (like calcium). People don’t realise what’s going on in their body until the buffering comes to an end. The Austrian professor Ebbinger has revealed in his studies that around 35 years of age, people reach the end of the buffering and our body starts to show symptoms one way or another. Ebbinger calls this state a pre-state of most of the diseases. The years go by and the more acidic the body gets, the more we receive all kind of diagnosis of different illnesses. Here comes along a wide scale of chronic inflammation diseases like mine.
Enzymes, especially food enzymes, are greatly affected by the pH balance levels in the human blood and body tissue. Their enzymatic functions, or lack thereof, will determine the state of health or disease that your blood and body tissue will or can possess. Acidified body cells rob you of the macro-mineral such as magnesium, required for ultimate muscle function and support that is needed for optimum strength, and calcium for skeletal support, so you won’t develop chronic back problems or herniated discs, or any chronic bone condition that may hinder superior athletic and/or non-athletic performance. If minerals such as the calcium required for strong bones are missing it can lead to bone diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer.
Our body bones work as a calcium warehouse for us but they have another important role as a blood and body tissue pH-balancer. When the body is even a little bit too acidic the bones starts to “release” calcium (a more alkaline substance) to correct the imbalance and that might cause osteoporosis in the long run. Calcium tablets don’t seem to be the answer but instead the right alkaline based diet that brings the body pH back to normal. So the best way to fight against osteoporosis is to add a lot of dark green leafy veggies into our diet (the deeper the colour, the richer with nutrients)!
Human tissue – muscles, organs, fascia, cells and blood simply break down faster in acidic conditions – broken down tissue dies and becomes toxic waste.
To understand a little more the issue, we must consider that the pH balance of our body plays a very important role in health.
What are the effects of tissue acidity on health?
- Allergies, asthma and congestion
- Frequent colds
- Joint and muscle pain
- Skin problems
- Weight gain
Over the long term, acidosis can lead to:
- Heart disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
When Dr Robert Young revealed his breakthrough research on an alkaline pH and its effects on all disease it sent ripples through the medical community.
BACK TO MY OWN INSIGHT
After I had gone to the pharmacy and bought the pH test strips, I performed the test the next morning (the best time to do the test is before breakfast) and I was shocked! My pH was so acid that the colour scale on the stripe package didn’t even have such a colour tone. It was just a wet paper. Just to check if the stripes even worked (as I was convinced that they didn’t) I asked my husband and my 8-year-old daughter to make the same test (my 10-year-old son thought it was way too gross and didn’t want to participate in such a nonsense). For my surprise, my spouse and daughter had an excellent result what comes to the colour scale. So I had the lowest pH on the scale 5,6 or less (day and night, it didn’t change). This happened around six months ago and until this day I have managed to increase the pH up to 6,2 but it still persistently stays too acidic.
Eating specific foods that make your body more alkaline can, on the other hand, protect against illnesses, as well as shed pounds. Fruits and vegetables are at the core of this diet. For example, extremely alkaline foods are lemons and watermelon (with their electrolytic properties and pH level of 9). Outside the body, lemon juice is acidic (pH is below 7). Inside the body, however, when lemon juice has been fully metabolised and its minerals are dissociated in the bloodstream, its effect is very alkalizing and therefore raises the pH of body tissue.
Since alkaline-forming foods are anti-inflammatory foods, consuming an alkaline diet gives your body a chance to achieve normal leptin levels and feel satisfied from eating a number of calories you really need. Good news for weight control.
“One of the first considerations in an alkaline diet, which includes more fruits and vegetables, is to know what type of soil they were grown in since this may significantly influence the mineral content.” – A 2012 review published in the Journal of Environmental Health
- Examples of Alkaline Vegetables: Beets, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Kale, Lettuce, Onions, Peas, Peppers, Spinach, Asparagus, Bok Choy, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Green Beans, Squash, Zucchini
- Examples of Root Vegetables: Beets, Carrots, Jicama, Radishes, Rutabaga, Potatoes, Turnips, Yams
- Examples of Alkalizing Fruits: Apple, Banana, Berries, Cantaloupe, Grapes, Melon, Lemon, Orange, Peach, Pear, Watermelon, Avocado, Coconut (fresh), Figs, Lemon, Lime, Sour Cherries, Tomato
- Nuts, Seeds and Oils: Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Chestnuts, Coconut Oil, Flax Seeds, Flax Seed Oil, Olive Oil, Pine Nuts, Sesame Seeds, Sesame Oil, Soy Nuts, Sprouted Seeds of Alfalfa, Radish, and Chia
- Spices and Seasonings: Chilli Pepper, Cinnamon, Curry, Ginger, Herbs (all), Miso, Sea Salt, Tamari
- Other: Stevia, Apple Cider Vinegar, Baking Soda, Blackstrap Molasses, Grasses (Wheat, Barley, Kamut, Alfalfa, etc.)
Alkalizing water is great for hydrating but remember not to drink it with meal. The food needs the stomach acids to digest the food properly! It’s important to drink the alkalizing water or carbonated beverages between the meals. The alkalizing food instead is turning alkalizing later in the gut.
If you keep shifting your blood pH over and over, you can cause long-lasting acidity in your tissues. Depending on our diet, the alkaline needed is around 4-20 times larger than received acids. For example, to neutralise a glass of cola with a pH of 2.5, it would take 32 glasses of alkaline water with a pH of 10.
Extremely Acidic Foods: Sugar (white), Brown Sugar, Table Salt (refined and iodized), Artificial Sweeteners, Beef, Beer, Breads, Carbonated Soft Drinks, Cereals (refined), Chocolate, Coffee, Cream of Wheat (unrefined), Custard (with white sugar), Deer, Lamb, Pork, Poultry, Seafood, Flour (white, wheat), Fruit Juices With Sugar, Jams, Jellies, Maple Syrup (processed), Molasses (sulphured), Pasta (white), Pastries and Cakes, Pickles (commercial), Tea (black), White Bread, White Vinegar (processed), Whole Wheat Foods, Wine, and Yogurt (sweetened)
- Moderately Acidic Foods: Bananas (green), Barley (rye), Blueberries, Bran, Butter (processed), Cereals (unrefined), Cheeses, Crackers (unrefined rye, rice and wheat), Cranberries, Dried Beans (mung, adzuki, pinto, kidney, garbanzo), Dry Coconut, Egg Whites, Eggs Whole (cooked hard), Fructose, Goat’s Milk (homogenized), Honey (pasteurized), Ketchup, Maple Syrup (unprocessed), Milk (homogenized), Molasses (unsulfured and organic), Mustard, Oats (rye, organic), Olives (pickled), Pasta (whole grain), Pastry (whole grain and honey), Plums, Popcorn (with salt and/or butter), Prunes, Rice (basmati and brown), Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower), Soy sauce, and Wheat Bread (sprouted organic)
- Other: Cigarettes and Tobacco, Liquor, Aspirin, Chemicals, Drugs, Medicinal Drugs, Psychedelic, Herbicides, Pesticides
Most acidifying drinks:
Beer: pH 2.5
Coca-Cola: pH 2
Coffee: pH 4
Find a very detailed list of acid and alkaline food under this link.
MY FINDING FOR ACID-ALKALIC FOOD
I remember Charlotte Gerson (daughter of the great physician Max Gerson – Gerson Therapy) saying something like this: “There’s no such thing as a disease in an overall healthy body. When the body heals, everything heals!” I kind of see the pH-balance as an indicator of overall health and it’s one way to look at the whole enchilada, the big picture of health and nutrition. If my pH-balance some day show good numbers, I might be free from my allergies and lung symptoms. At least I have something to measure my progressing, so I’ll be using the pH test strips every now and then to see how I’m doing.
“Cancer and an alkaline body are often brought up in the same sentence. The question that always follows is can cancer survive in an alkaline environment?”
Buclin T., Cosma M., Appenzeller M., Jacquet A. F., Décosterd L. A., Biollaz J., Burckhardt P. Diet acids and alkalis influence calcium retention in bone. Osteoporosis International 2001; 12(6):493-499.
Note! I’m a Nutritional Therapist, not a doctor or a nutritionist, and I have learned my way through the hard way: by studying, experimenting, reading and investigating. All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The Healing Foodie is not responsible for errors or omissions.