Our body’s pH level plays a vital role in our overall health. We often hear “pH”, but how much do we really know about it? Well, in this article, you will understand what “pH” actually means and why we should maintain our pH balance in our body in menopause!
I will also discuss the possible risks of an acid-forming diet and the triggering factors of high acidity levels in the body. Lastly, I will share some proven ways to test and balance your pH levels! Let’s get it on!
What is “pH” or Acid-Alkaline Balance?
Perhaps, I’m not the only one who wonders what the letters “p” and “H” stand for. ?
pH is an abbreviation for “potential of hydrogen”. Letter “p” symbolizes the German word “potenz”, which means “power”, and “H” is the element symbol for hydrogen. Why is “H” capitalized? Well, I hope you didn’t miss your chemistry classes because all element symbols are capitalized since forever!
In definition, pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. It tells the amount of hydrogen ions present in a solution. So, pH only makes sense in an aqueous solution (in the presence of water). Many chemicals and liquids (like vegetable oil, gasoline or 100% alcohol) do not have pH values. Because again, if there’s no water, there’s no pH.
The same definition goes for our body! “pH balance” is also known as “acid-alkaline balance” or “acid-base balance”. Special thanks to the Danish biochemist Søren Peter Lauritz Sørensen for making things shorter for us and coined the “pH” symbol!
Now, what do pH levels tell us about our body?
We can assume that our body is acidic if it falls within 0-7. On the other hand, the body is alkaline or “basic” if it falls between 7-14. According to health experts, our body is at its best when our pH level falls at around pH 7.2.
Most of the time, our body does a great job of keeping its pH levels balanced. However, we currently live in a world that readily offers unhealthy foods and chemical-rich household products. We often forget to keep an eye on our system’s balance! Worse, we don’t even know how to achieve this balance or understand its significance to our overall wellness.
This leads us to our next discussion. Are you ready to discover the benefits pH balance in menopause? Because I totally am!
Why Do We Have to Maintain Acid-Alkaline Balance in Menopause?
On top of that, many doctors also stress the importance of a balanced pH level. Why? Because it helps protect us from the inside out. Health problems and chronic diseases cannot take root in a body whose pH is in balance!
So, what are the benefits of keeping our acid-alkaline levels balanced in menopause? By maintaining healthy pH levels, you are serving yourself with the following:
- Protection from heart disease
- Prevention of calcium accumulation in urine
- Reduced inflammation
- Lowered diabetes risk
- Prevention of osteoporosis and maintaining stronger bones
- Reduction in muscle wasting and spasms
- Better protection against vitamin D deficiency and related consequences
- Prevention of kidney-related conditions
- Regenerates cells
Now, you must be wondering… What are the symptoms that can help me know if I’m too acidic or too alkaline? Listen to this video from Dr. Eric Berg, so you’ll know what you’re saving yourself from if you keep your pH levels balanced. He will also give you helpful tips to check whether your body’s too acidic or too alkaline!
What Are the Possible Risks of an Acid-Forming Diet?
Today, most people consume an acidic diet and lacks necessary alkaline minerals (like potassium, magnesium and calcium). These minerals are necessary to sustain a healthy and balanced body! This is also the reason why people with an overly acidic pH balance are prone to diseases.
Many studies show that acidosis (an overly acidic body) can cause harmful bacteria, yeast, viruses and fungi to take over the body. If we don’t protect our body against them, they can lead to certain diseases — including diabetes, cancer and fatigue.
Also, the foods we eat in an acid-forming diet are not properly digested. Therefore, we don’t acquire the needed amounts of nutrients and fuel to strengthen our immune system! This also robs our body of energy resources. That’s why people who have an acidic diet are usually sluggish and suffer from chronic fatigue.
The excess acid that our body doesn’t need will eventually turn into poison in the form of uric acid crystals. These crystals will be deposited in joints and tissues, leading to painful arthritis and bursitis.
Moreover, our body is basic (alkaline) by nature. So, when we adapt to an acidic diet, our body will drain the alkaline reserves from our bones and tissues. Once basic blood becomes acidic, it will also drain calcium from our bones, resulting in osteoporosis and other bone-related problems.
Lastly, high acid levels increase insulin resistance — a no-no in menopause! Listen to Dr. Susan Brown, a Medical Anthropologist and Certified Clinical Nutritionist, as she explains how acid load brings a negative impact on our body!
Triggering Factors of High Acidity Levels in the Body
Nowadays, we are more exposed to foods rich in saturated fat, simple sugars, sodium and other unhealthy chemicals. This can result in a diet that may induce metabolic acidosis.
But of course, it takes two to tango! No matter how much manufacturers try to make their products appealing, both in taste and in flavor, you’re still the one who calls the shot on what to eat!
Lifestyle and environmental factors may also trigger high acidity levels in our body:
- Eating processed and refined foods that are high in sodium, added sugar, refined grains or preservatives and hormones
- Eating meat from non-grass-fed sources
- Excess hormones from health and beauty products
- Lack of exercise or sedentary lifestyle
- Low intake of potassium, calcium and other alkaline minerals
- Low levels of fiber in the diet
- Pesticides and herbicides that remain on non-organic foods
- Chronic stress
- Alcohol use
- Certain drugs (specifically acetazolamide, opioids, sedatives and aspirin)
- Antibiotic overuse
- Poor chewing and eating habits
- Acidic drinking water
- Access to foods made from industrial farming or poor-quality topsoil
- Exposure to chemicals and radiation from household cleaners, building materials, computers, cell phones and microwaves
- Hormonal issues
- Kidney disease or kidney malfunction
- Poor digestion and gut health
- Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea
- Underlying medical conditions like lung diseases or damage, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, severe pneumonia, pulmonary edema and asthma
Hey, did that stress you out? I hope not! Don’t let that stress raise your acid levels, sweetie! Remember, our body always does its part in keeping our pH levels balanced. So, don’t let your body work too hard to achieve that balance! Help it out!
How to Balance Your pH Levels
The most effective way to support your body’s pH balance in menopause is to eat lots of nutrient-dense foods and limit your intake of processed foods!
As mentioned above, various factors affect how hard your body must work to maintain its appropriate pH level. Other lifestyle changes can also help restore balance! Now, go ahead and learn some excellent ways to keep your pH levels balanced!
1. Follow a Keto-Green Diet
Rather than going for a completely alkaline diet, it’s best to consider your diet’s overall effect. You see, everything in this world is all about balance! ☯️
Just because we are preventing high acidity, doesn’t mean we must aim for too much alkalinity. In fact, too much alkalinity, called “alkalosis”, also brings a fair share of disadvantages to the table.
The National Institutes of Health reports light-headedness, nausea and confusion as common alkalosis symptoms. Other symptoms for too much alkalinity are involuntary muscle twitching, sensations of numbness or tingling in the face, arms or legs, cramping and hypersensitive reflexes.
Now, it makes more sense why we need to aim for that “central number” on the pH scale, right?
One of the best ways to ensure you are eating a well-balanced meal is by following the Keto-Green diet. This way of eating aims for dietary and lifestyle strategies that help maintain our body’s fat-burning state, called “ketosis”.
Experts who promote the Keto-Green diet, like Dr. Anna Cabeca, recommend these food sources:
- Detoxifying veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sprouts, peppers, green beans, asparagus, leeks and other low-calorie greens
- Foods rich in protein: Eggs, poultry, grass-fed meat (in moderation), wild-caught fish (like salmon and mackerel) and shellfish
- Healthy fats: Coconut oil, MCT oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocados
Moreover, Dr. Eric Berg says that if we are insulin resistant, our body has a poor ability to absorb nutrients efficiently… and that’s a bad thing for the acid-alkaline balance we’re trying to achieve here! Understand more about the significance of eating a healthy keto diet in Dr. Berg’s video here!
Now that you’ve grasped enough about the keto diet, here’s a great reference for an alkaline food list to complete our equation! This alkaline food list is from Dr. Susan Brown, the amazing woman we had in one of the videos above, who talked about insulin resistance as a potential risk of an acidic diet.
2. Stay Hydrated
But hey… before you chug that glass of water, make sure it’s a good one! Water might also be acidic and that’s not on our watch! Fortunately, making sure that your water’s alkaline status is not as tricky as a 4th-grade science experiment anymore!
All you need is a pitcher of water, one freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt. While it’s totally optional, adding salt has excellent health effects in mineralizing your water! Just mix all the ingredients and you now have a pitcher of thirst-quenching goodness!
If you simply want to test your water’s alkalinity, sit back because the next section is all about tests! Don’t worry, no one’s going to fail.
3. Take a pH Test!
You can obtain rough measurements of your body’s pH levels by using a pH test strip!
Typically, the test can be done by getting saliva or urine samples. A pH test strip is the easiest, low-cost and most convenient method of testing your pH levels. You can get it at your local pharmacy or online! The only thing about a pH test strip is that we may interpret our results subjectively. Test your body’s pH throughout the day to make sure you’re on the right track!
Saliva: To ensure accurate results, wait at least two hours after eating. Prepare your saliva by swallowing twice (to make sure your saliva is clean) and then applying fresh saliva to the test strips. Wait for a few seconds to observe the results.
Urine: Experts recommend testing your urine in the morning twice, as the first test is usually more acidic. The goal is to have a morning pH level between 6.5 to 7.5. Moreover, urine will generally be about .25 more acidic than your saliva. This is because more acids are excreted through the urinary system than through the mouth.
4. Make Time for “Stress Busters”
Keeping our stress levels low doesn’t only do us good for our pH balance. It also allows us to feel our best in menopause! Earlier, we’ve talked about “metabolic acidosis” and how eating a poor diet can induce the said condition! Now, let’s tack another triggering factor — stress.
I am a firm believer that our mind, emotions and body are all connected. Now, I am MORE convinced than ever that they do influence each other indeed! According to Dr. Susan Brown, stress worsens metabolic acidosis. She added that feelings of worry or fear trigger the production of “cortisol” — our stress hormones. Cortisol impacts our midlife health in ohhh so many ways! It can result in loss of minerals from our body and increased acid load!
On the other side of things, oxytocin, a hormone released when you hug, love someone, or have an orgasm, creates alkalizing benefits in the body! You see, it is vital to evaluate other aspects of your life too!
For me, alkalinity is not just a “status” nor a “diet”! When it comes to maintaining our acid-alkaline balance, healthy habits all add up! It’s about building a lifestyle that you will love and make you healthy for the rest of your life.
Now, you see how most of us overlooked the importance of a balanced pH in our body?
We use pH in our everyday lives — water purification, agriculture, medicine, chemistry, engineering, oceanography, biology and manufacturing industries. We see it every day in our fridge and kitchen, in our household cleaners, beauty products… literally almost everywhere!
Preventing unhealthy organisms from flourishing in our body, tissues and organs from becoming damaged and minerals from being depleted — these are our ultimate goals. I see no reason not to give our body the pH balance it needs. Do you?
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pH Definition and Equation in Chemistry (thoughtco.com)
Learn What pH Stands For and How the Term Originated (thoughtco.com)
Proper pH Balance: What It Is + 4 Steps to Achieve It – Dr. Axe (draxe.com)
Why An Alkaline Diet?— Better Bones
Alkaline Foods & The Alkaline for Life® Diet
Alkalosis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
Diet-induced metabolic acidosis – PubMed (nih.gov)
Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD: the natural bone health expert (betterbones.com)