Here’s How to Balance Your Body’s pH Levels (And, Yes, It Matters!)

Emmy Schneider-Green
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We wouldn’t blame you if the last time you thought about pH levels, acidity, and alkalinity was in middle school science class.

Unless you’re a fan of sipping alkaline water, the concept of pH levels, alkalinity, and acidity, and how they all work together to powerfully impact your health may very well have never even crossed your mind.

Although it goes unseen in the body, understanding and regulating your body’s pH is one of the most impactful things you can do for your overall health and wellbeing.

Understanding the process and how it plays out inside the body and in the way we feel requires a little trip back to the basics of middle school-level chemistry. But don’t worry if you’re a little rusty. No flashcards or pop quizzes necessary! And the basics are simple for anyone to wrap their heads around.
 
 

What Exactly Is Acidity and Alkalinity?

In a nutshell, every living thing from the soil a plant grows in to the human body requires a certain pH level. The more hydrogen any given substance has, the more acidic it becomes. And, therefore, its ranking is lower on the scale of acidic to alkaline.

This scale ranges from one to 14. Zero is highly acidic, 14 is as alkaline as it gets, and seven is neutral.

All living matters falls somewhere on this scale. Blood and body fluids will have a different pH level than lungs or inside the stomach. But before you think of our bodies and everything in them as prone to swinging all over the scale, the body’s pH levels don’t have that much variance.

There’s a small window or range we can fluctuate between and literally still stay alive. Though we can and do fluctuate.

In fact, a natural ebb and flow is part of life and can be triggered by all sorts of factors and processes. In other words, our body’s pH balance is not a totally stagnant matter.
 

 
 

What Changes Acidity and Alkalinity in the Body?

At this point you’re likely wondering: just what causes a change in our body’s acidity or alkalinity, and thus a change in our pH levels? Is this something we can control?

In short, yes, and many things!

Ever chug coffee in the a.m.? Pop a prescription medication? Have a long, stressful day at work or with the family? Have a cocktail or two in the evening to wind down? Or enjoy some eggs, dairy, or meat in any of your meals?

Who hasn’t?! But what you might not realize is these very common activities are just a few common behaviors that can alter our pH and ramp up our acidity levels.
 

Our body’s pH balance is not a totally stagnant matter.

 
When our bodies are working normally, we regulate our pH levels via three major methods: breathing, sweating, and through our kidneys. This combined system works behind the scenes to filter out excess acid and keep things in a normal range.

But if we’re stressed out, eating loads of acidifying foods (such as meat, dairy, processed snacks, or sugary junk), failing to hydrate ourselves properly, or something as simple as letting a stressful day (or week) at work get to us, then acidity levels start to rise despite our body’s best attempts.

Not-super-serious ways we can feel an increase of the body’s acidity would be symptoms like indigestions, nausea, belching, and feelings of hunger. And more serious consequences? There are now over 150 degenerative diseases linked to heightened acidity in the body. So this is definitely an issue worth caring about.
 
 

Do I Need to Be Alkaline?

In bodies with high levels of acid, serious illnesses have ideal circumstances to grow.

High systemic acid levels mean our bodies can’t use calcium effectively, blood oxygen levels aren’t maintained properly, the digestive and lymphatic systems are halted, and acidic blood doesn’t circulate properly in the body.

Everything from cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and many other common killers thrive in an acidic environment, and likewise, have a much harder time growing and spreading in healthier, alkaline bodies.

Before we get too doom and gloom though, we should all be encouraged by just how in control we actually are at the end of the day to adjust our body’s pH levels and keep them at an optical place for overall health.
 

 
 

So How Can I Become More Alkaline?

Many Americans live acid-forming lifestyles, be it from stress, emotions, the food we eat, or all of the above. But, ultimately, these are all things we can do something about. No need to blame genetics or family history. You’re in the driver seat!

The first and most obvious thing you can do today to create the healthiest pH balance possible in your body is eat plenty of alkalizing fruits and vegetables. Avoid common culprits of the Standard American Diet (SAD) such as processed junk, sugary treats and white carbs, fast food, and saturated fat-loaded meals.

If you avoid animal products like meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products, this can also help. Fruits and veggies are one of the main alkalizing foods. But less than 10% of Americans eat the recommended minimum of five servings per day.
 

Fruits and veggies are one of the main alkalizing foods.

 
With so many of us guzzling down soda and coffee and very little water, chronic dehydration is also a thing. And this also leads to increased acidity. Since soda and coffee both have very low pH levels (AKA an acidifying effect), you actually would have to drink even more water to counteract the bad effects of these drinks on the body.

Aim for half your body weight in ounces in water each day, at the minimum.

Think you may be dehydrated? Here are 7 Surprising Signs of Dehydration and 5 Tips to Prevent It
 
 

The Takeaway on Acidity and Alkalinity

If you needed yet another reason to pick up healthy habits you likely already know you should be doing – keeping stress at bay, drinking lots of good old fashioned H20, eating mostly plants – now you have another one!

With healthy pH levels being one of the most powerful things you can do to directly impact your overall wellbeing, there’s no need to wait to start living your healthiest, best life!

All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.

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Emmy Schneider-Green

Emmy is a passionate vegan foodie and fitness nut with a wanderlust spirit. When she’s not coaching her fitness and health clients or traveling around in her old renovated RV, she’s writing content on food, environmentalism, holistic health, and travel, or lifting weights, to show through bodybuilding the power of a plant-based diet and lifestyle.

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