Today I’d like to talk about how the food you eat can not only impact how you feel today, but potentially have an impact on your life years from now.
If you are easily tired out or short of breath, or if you have trouble sleeping or concentrating, your food choices could be the culprit.
And if you know an older friend or relative who struggles with brittle bones and teeth, a lifetime’s worth of food choices could be at the root of the problem.
What many people don’t know is… the foods you eat could be causing your body to break down your bones, and sabotage your other body systems!
What?? How could that be?
Very simply, if you suffer from a condition called acidosis, it means your body is essentially “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul”. In other words, stealing critical nutrients from your bones in order to balance out what is missing from the rest of your body, thanks to your diet.
The results of this nutrient-borrowing include low energy, poor sleeping, and ultimately, brittle bones and teeth.
Most of the people in our community know how important it is to take care of themselves. If you’re reading this, you’re likely one of those extra-smart people too.
But just because you know what to do doesn’t make it easy to follow through. That’s why I’m here to support you in your quest to live a healthy, energetic lifestyle, so you’ll be able to stick around to enjoy doing fun things with your grandkids.
Look, I know there is a lot of misinformation out there about how to live a healthy life, and I want to set the record straight.
So let’s start by talking about how this thing called acidosis may subtly be making you dangerously susceptible to illness and disease. The side effects of a poor diet are insidious. I want to help you be able to take charge of your life and feel terrific!
That acidosis thing? Let me explain it as briefly as possible. You need to understand how it works, or you won’t get how important it is to solve this problem.
First, let’s talk about how you metabolize food. When you eat, you extract the energy – the calories – and burn that energy to support your activities. ALL your activities. Everything from thinking, to running, to laughing, to late afternoon trysts. You need energy for everything your body does.
When you slowly burn those foods, they actually leave an ash residue in your body, just as if you were burning logs in a wood fire.
This ash is either acidic or alkaline… or, less often, neutral. (Remember those high school chemistry experiments you swore you’d never need to know about later in life? Yeah, well… here’s the Cliff Notes version about the part that matters.)
So if you eat foods that are acidic, they leave acidic ash in your body. If you eat alkaline-forming foods, they leave alkaline ash (alkaline means “base”, like in chem class). Neutral ash doesn’t affect your body either way.
You can measure how acidic or alkaline your body is with a little test strip. The test strip measures the pH balance in your urine (pH means “potential of Hydrogen”).
Without getting into all the chemistry of hydrogen ions and things like that, the key concept to know is that there is a pH scale from 1 to 14. Water is 7, and considered neutral. Everything below 7 is acidic, and everything above 7 is alkaline.
Examples at the far ends of the spectrum include sulfuric acid, which has a pH of almost 0, and lye, which has a pH of almost 14. You can balance an acid by introducing a base (something very alkaline), and vice versa.
For people, a healthy blood pH is slightly alkaline, measuring 7.35 to 7.45. Even a small increase or decrease can profoundly affect your body’s cells.
That little test strip doesn’t measure your blood; it measures your urine, which indicates how hard your body is working to stabilize your blood pH.
You see, all the systems in your body have different levels of pH.
Urine and saliva pH change due to such things as the food you eat. Your body, especially the lungs and kidneys, work automatically to keep your blood pH in balance.
This happens because there are “buffering” mechanisms in blood. Without those mineral buffers, your blood pH would get way out of whack and you would become very sick.
If you suffer from acidosis, it means your blood pH is too acidic. Acidosis occurs when your kidneys and lungs can’t keep your body’s pH in balance (roughly 7.4 ).
The problem is that many of your body systems produce acid. Your lungs – by air exchange and removing carbon dioxide – and kidneys – by removing waste products and producing urine to keep the blood stable – can usually compensate for slight blood pH imbalances, but not if they are overwhelmed.
Your body will go to whatever lengths are necessary to keep that pH balanced, including wreaking havoc on other body systems (such as digestion, lymph, and cardiovascular) and tissues (such as muscles and bones).
If your blood becomes too acidic, your body will interrupt all other cellular activities and functions, including firing neurons in your brain, and making sure your heart beats regularly.
OK, I can see this is starting to get a little long.
For this week, just know that you need to have a balanced pH – slightly alkaline – in your blood, and your body will sacrifice other systems if necessary, to keep the pH balanced. You can test your urine to see if you’re on or off track.
What do you do if you’re off track? Well, that’s where your food choices come in. Be sure to look for my email next week, where I’ll share how you can manage your pH with your diet, which can help you feel dramatically more energized and healthier.
In the meantime, if you have some specific questions, please contact me here firstname.lastname@example.org , and I’ll be happy to speak with you!
About the Author:
Michael Houle is the Owner MUVEMENT a functional fitness and wellness Center located in Manchester, CT. Michael is a (FDN-P) Functional Diagnostic Nutrition practitioner as well as (CSCS) Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist.