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In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity on a scale of zero to fourteen, with zero being most acidic and fourteen being most alkaline. The way this chemistry plays out in our bodies is very important, since the levels can control everything from energy levels and happiness to physical appearance and digestive health.

When you have too much acid in the body, the condition is called acidosis. On the opposite side of the scale, alkalosis is a condition in which there is too much base in the body fluids. Acidosis can cause a host of health problems, including inflammation, dry skin, bleeding gums, brittle nails, thinning hair, irritability, fatigue, energy loss, joint pain and weakness, decreased immunity, psoriasis, yeast infections, kidney stones, liver congestion, and arterial damage.

Many experts believe there is a very strong link between the body’s pH levels and disease, or lack thereof. In 1933, a doctor named William Howard Hay published his book, “A New Health Era,” where he stated that all disease is caused by autotoxication, or self-poisoning, due to acid accumulation in the body.

Other medical professionals have expressed their agreement. In his book “Alkalize or Die,” Dr. Theodore A. Baroody wrote, “The countless names of illnesses do not really matter. What does matter is that they all come from the same root cause…too much tissue acid waste in the body!”

To stay in good health, the body should maintain a slightly alkaline balance, preferably between 7.30 – 7.45 on the pH spectrum. The trouble is, many of the popular foods in our American diet causes these levels to get out of whack, and thus, upsets our entire equilibrium and causes health problems.

“One of the biggest causalities of the SAD—standard American diet—is the toll it takes on the body, especially the digestive system, liver, and kidneys,” wrote Kris Carr, a New York Times best-selling author, speaker, and health advocate. “Inflammation, allergies, arthritis, skin problems, mood disorders, depression, constipation, bowel issues, stress (physical & mental) and chronic disease LOVE this diet.”

To balance those pH levels, the amount of acidic foods you eat should be balanced with alkaline foods. Food really is the best medicine! Carr writes, “By eating a more alkaline diet (leafy greens, wheatgrass, veggies, sprouts, avocados, juicing, green smoothies, soups) as opposed to an acidic diet (high in animal products, processed carbs, refined sugar, and booze, cigs and coffee), we flood our bodies with chlorophyll, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and oxygen. Healthy food creates healthy cells and healthy thoughts. Conversely, junk goes in and junk comes out.”

The best way to determine your body’s current pH level is via a home pH test, which you can find online for around $10 – 15. You can also speak to your doctor about pH level testing. In sum, though, keep your diet plant-based, and you’ll be on your way to keeping your body’s chemical levels in check the natural way.

For more tips, check out our recent post on the 5 best foods for balancing your body’s pH here.

Image source: Vinoth Chander/Flickr

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