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The body's pH level has a significant impact on our health. Ideally, the human body should be slightly alkaline; an overly acidic environment has been linked to greater risk of disease, lower energy levels, a decrease in the body's ability to absorb nutrients, weight gain, higher stress levels and a lower immune system. Despite this, foods that create acids in the body--such as processed foods, refined sugars, caffeine, alcohol, meat, and dairy--feature heavily in many of our diets. Making changes to what we eat every day can rebalance the body's pH level. This can greatly improve overall health now, as well as help protect from diseases such as diabetes, some cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis later on.
Foods that produce acids in the body do not need to be avoided entirely. Try to keep a ratio of alkaline to acidic foods of about 70-30. This will allow your body to maintain a healthy pH balance. Avoid sudden changes in your diet. Start with small changes and continue making changes as your body adjusts. Consult with your doctor before you begin a new diet.
A diet rich in vegetables is one of the easiest ways to quickly restore the body's pH balance. Green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale, arugula and green beans are among the most effective alkalizing foods. However, any fresh vegetable is a nutritious addition to an alkaline diet.
Beans and Legumes
It is important to soak beans and legumes before preparing them. This helps to trigger sprouting, which reduces acid levels. Legumes that have not been soaked are acid forming, and should be avoided when trying to balance the body's pH.
Many fruits alkalize in the body. However, some cause acidic reactions, including bananas, blueberries, cranberries, plums and any processed fruits, such as canned fruit, fruit juices and fruit snacks.
Drinking water is crucial to maintaining optimal pH levels. Try to drink at least eight 8-oz. glasses of water daily. Test the pH level of water that you drink regularly; some brands of bottled water can actually be slightly acidic. Water filters that produce alkaline water are available commercially and can be a good investment if you are trying to monitor your pH levels.
Herbs and Spices
All herbs are effective for restoring the body's pH balance. Certain spices, such as chili powder, ginger, mustard seed, curry powder and cinnamon, will also aid in balancing pH. Stevia is an herb that is used in natural sweeteners, and is an easy way to reduce your intake of acidic sweeteners such as sugar or chemical sweeteners.
Herbal teas, as well as green and white teas, are alkaline forming. Black tea should be avoided due to its caffeine content.
Foods to Avoid
To rebalance the body's pH level, reduce the following foods in your diet: red meats, milk, butter and cheese, refined grains such as white rice, white bread and pasta, alcohol (especially beer), sodas, processed foods and caffeine.