Hearing the word “acid” evokes images of chemical skin burns, and liquids dissolving cans and various metals. It sounds like something we definitely want to stay away from!
That can be hard to do. Our body actually produces various acids every single day from the food we eat, from shallow breathing, from exercise (lactic acid) and from numerous other normal metabolic processes. Foods such as non-organic grain-fed meat, cheese, milk, grains and carbohydrates increase acid levels in the body. Medications, soda pop, processed meat and foods, artificial colours and flavours, and preservatives make us more acidic, too. Excess stress, inflammation in the body (such as arthritis) and lack of fresh air increase acidity even more!
Mind you, the effects are not quite as extreme as my first two examples, but acids in our body take their toll on our bones, teeth, muscles, joints, connective tissues, and various organs and systems. When we are too acidic, extra stress is placed on the body, which further aggravates various health issues. The body has to work overtime to reduce and buffer these extra acids. Our digestive system, lungs, liver and kidneys may all be taxed using their special mechanisms to buffer acidity in the body. When these systems are overloaded and acidity is still too high, calcium leaves our bones to buffer acidity in the bloodstream. This greatly reduces our bone integrity and increases our risk of fractures, osteopenia and osteoporosis. Excess acids can also deposit in the muscles, joints and connective tissue, increasing pain and inflammation, and contributing to arthritis, fibromyalgia, various chronic diseases, fatigue, generally feeling unwell and early aging.
You are probably now wondering how to decrease acid and increase alkalinity in the body to optimize your health!
First of all, we need to know just how acidic you actually are. Under the supervision of your Naturopathic Doctor, you can measure your urine and salivary pH at various times during the day to see how much acid you are exposed to and producing, as well how much acid your body is able to get rid of. This will give you a good yardstick to measure progress with your treatment plan.
To reduce acidity in the body, follow these 5 simple and easy tips. You may need to take alkalinizing minerals, herbs or nutrients to further reduce acidity, but be sure to discuss that with your Naturopathic Doctor before starting any natural prescriptions. The following 5 tips will get you well on your way to reducing acidity!
- Increase your consumption of spinach, potatoes, raisins, cauliflower, radishes, celery, eggplants, miso soup, dark leafy greens and berries. All fruits and vegetables are alkalinizing and buffer acidity in the body.
- Be sure to exhale fully to expel carbon dioxide from the lungs. If we are shallow breathing, then carbon dioxide is retained in the lungs and converted to an acid. Use your diaphragm and abdominal muscles to fully inhale and exhale. Count to 4 as you inhale, hold for 4 and then exhale fully for 4.
- Take Epsom salt baths. This helps to pull acids out of the body and introduce alkalinizing minerals into it.
- Eat less meat, cheese, processed foods, processed grains and carbohydrates. If you do eat something that is more acidic, be sure to get in dark leafy greens or other vegetables to counteract it.
- Ensure that your liver, kidneys, lungs and digestive system are working properly.It is advisable to see your Naturopathic Doctor to be put on specific drainage, detoxification and supportive remedies for these organs to function optimally.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.