A balanced pH level in the body equals good health. If you are too acidic or too alkaline it opens the body up to illness. Most people tend to suffer from acidosis (when your pH is too low) because of an imbalanced diet consisting mostly of acid-forming foods, such as sugar and coffee, as well as high levels of stress. Balancing your pH level is one of the simplest things you can do for your health; test your level regularly and accommodate it with the right foods.
pH (potential of hydrogen) is a measure of the hydrogen-ion concentration of a solution, or the ratio of acidity to alkalinity, with 0 being acid and 14 being alkaline. The middle range, 7, is neutral. The optimum level for a healthy body is 7.35 to 7.45, with numbers below 6.8 or above 7.8 indicating the possibility of disease because at high or low levels cells stop functioning optimally.
The lower the pH the more acidic and oxygen-depleted your blood is. Most people suffer from acidosis (as opposed to alkalosis) because of the diet they eat (or don't eat), which tends to be high in sugar, flour, coffee, and alcohol and low in vegetables. Emotional stress, toxins and too much or too little exercise can also result in acidosis. When the body is in a high-acid state, it can't heal itself; it can't absorb vitamins or minerals; cells can't repair themselves and tumor cells thrive; the body can't naturally detox; and fatigue is common.
The higher the pH the more alkaline and oxygen-rich your blood is. Alkalosis is not as common as acidosis but may occur after hyperventilation, vomiting or excessive use of bicarbonate of soda or other antacids. Urinary tract infections (bacteria in the bladder or urethra) occur when the body is too alkaline, so temporarily adopting an acidic diet helps because it prevents the bacteria from adhering to the bladder walls.
You can test your pH levels at home with test strips, or litmus paper, purchased at health food stores like Whole Foods Market for about $10 to $15. Test your saliva and your urine several times per day as your pH levels will vary from morning to night as well as after eating. Ideally you want to test one hour before a meal or two hours after. Saliva and urine test results will vary slightly, so just take the average.
To maintain your health you'll want to eat about 60 percent alkaline- and 40 percent acidic-producing foods; to restore your health you should start with 80 percent alkaline- and 20 percent acidic-producing foods.
Foods that raise your body pH (i.e., are alkaline-producing), from highest to lowest are vegetable juice, parsley, raw spinach, broccoli, celery, garlic, barley, dried figs, raisins, herb teas, lemon water, stevia, carrots, green and lima beans, beets, lettuce, carob, dates, grapes, papaya, kiwi, berries, apples, pears, hazelnuts, almonds, green tea, maple syrup, squash, asparagus, tomato, mushrooms, onions, cabbage, peas, cauliflower, olives, coconut, oranges, cherries, pineapple, peaches, avocados, lentils, quinoa, goat milk and cheese, chestnuts, brazil nuts, flax seeds, olive oil, ginger and raw honey.