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Why You Need to Know About Your pH

To understand the importance of knowing the pH in your body, let’s start with some basic knowledge.

Potential hydrogen (pH) is a measurement of the concentration of hydrogen ions in your body. In other words, pH is the acid/alkaline balance. The total pH scale ranges from 1 to 14. In this scale, a pH less than 7 is considered acidic, 7 is considered neutral and above 7 is basic/alkaline.

There are different pH levels throughout your body. While blood values stay in a slightly alkaline pH range (7.35 to 7.45), the pH in your digestive tract varies greatly because you need different pH levels in order to carry out different chemical reactions that happen in your body. For example, your lower stomach’s pH is very acidic because you need that acidity to digest and process foods in order for them to be absorbed later in your intestines. In the intestines, a more alkaline pH is reached because there’s no more food processing and nutrient absorption begins.

To stay healthy, your blood needs to be slightly alkaline, with a pH between 7.3 and 7.45. If your pH is out of balance, you can’t absorb nutrients as effectively, resulting in lower energy and a depleted ability for your body to repair damaged cells.

Acidity is the most common form of pH imbalance, which can be caused by a poor diet, lack of exercise, too much exercise or chronic stress. Acidity can also be caused by a diet high in animal products (especially non-organic products) or a diet high in fast foods, which contain damaged Omega-6 fatty acids. And all that acidity can deplete your body of key health minerals like Potassium, Sodium, Calcium and Magnesium.

Acidic pH levels have been linked to chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, weakened immunity, chronic fatigue, slow metabolism, weight gain, slow digestion and other health issues.

If you want to know the pH in your body, you can use litmus paper to test your body fluids, saliva and urine. Litmus paper strips are inexpensive and you can purchase them online from your local pharmacy or health food store.

To test your saliva: Do it first thing in the morning. Before you brush your teeth, fill your mouth with saliva and swallow. Repeat, then spit on the strip. DO NOT lick or insert the litmus paper into your mouth because it contains chemicals that make the reaction possible. Repeat this process later in the day, two hours after eating, and track your results for a week.

To test your urine: Collect a sample in a glass container first thing in the morning and dip the strip into the container. Your first urine of the day will be slightly more acidic. Repeat the test later in the day after breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Match your strips to the associated color on the package to determine your body pH. Keep in mind that these types of home tests may not be 100% accurate, but they do give you a general idea, and it’s normal if the pH in your saliva stays between 7 and 7.4 all day and your urine pH fluctuates between 6 and 7.

If you find your pH is acidic after tracking your saliva and urine over the course of a week, you can:

Increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables (especially the dark leafy kind).

Add fresh lemon or lime to foods and drinks. (This is especially good when taken with a glass of warm water in the morning.)

Choose root vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, onions and leeks.

Limit your red meat intake to once a week.

Choose a plant-based diet rich in legumes, whole grains.

Buy organic products as much as possible. (This makes a big difference.)

Stay away from processed foods, refined sugars and flour, coffee and alcohol.

Practice mindful eating. Eat at a slow pace and breathe between bites.

Detox your body once or twice a year.

Balancing your pH is a great step toward better health through better diet.

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