Staying Healthy Means Keeping Your Blood In The Proper PH
|Staying Healthy Means Keeping Your Blood In The Proper PH||Darrell Miller||10/21/07|
October 21, 2007 07:04 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Staying Healthy Means Keeping Your Blood In The Proper PH
The blood should be electrolytically neutral, or very slightly alkaline. The proper pH for blood should be 7 or just above it, and many claim that it should be 7.35. In fact the truth is that your blood pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6. Outside these limits and you could have serious health problems, with your brain particularly being affected.
For those who have forgotten their school chemistry, pH is a measurement of the level of acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution. Anything over 7 is said to be alkaline, and below 7 is acidic. Where the pH has to be maintained at a certain level, a material called a buffer is used that counteracts the effects of other acids and alkalis to maintain the desired pH range. Buffers are very common in nature, as would be expected of life forms that depend upon water and aqueous solutions for their survival. Blood is an aqueous solution containing plasma, blood cells, nutrients and various other ingredients in both solution and dispersed solid form.
The human body possesses a very effective pH maintenance system that depends on various buffers, the kidneys and the lungs. Lets have a closer look at buffers and how they work. pH is, in fact, a measurement of the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) in a solution. The way a buffer works is to absorb or release H+ ions to keep the hydrogen ion concentration at a specific level. If there are too many H+ ions present in the blood, and it becomes too acidic, then the buffer will mop up the excess. If there are too few, and the blood becomes too alkaline, then the buffer will release more hydrogen ions into the blood. In this way the pH is maintained at the limits mentioned above.
Buffers in the human body include some forms of protein, phosphates and also hemoglobin. However, if the pH variations are more than just occasional, the buffers have a limited capability, and a more permanent solution is needed. If the blood is continually becoming too acidic, the bicarbonate ion is used to clear them up. Just as bicarbonate of soda is used to clear up excess acidity in your stomach that causes indigestion, so it can be used to clear up excess acidity in the blood. But how do we get the bicarbonate into the blood?
When the lungs inhale oxygen, they then exhale carbon dioxide. The bicarbonate ion, also called the hydrogen carbonate ion, is formed in the blood by dissolved carbon dioxide. The faster we breathe the more carbon dioxide we exhale and the less is left in the blood to form bicarbonate. The slower we breathe, the more carbon dioxide is available in the blood for bicarbonate. Thus, when our blood acidity increases we breathe slower, and when it decreases we breathe faster since less carbon dioxide is needed in the blood to form bicarbonate to neutralize the acid.
The kidneys also help to regulate the pH of the blood, although the biochemistry involved is fairly complex, and will not be covered here. It is enough to state that the body has a number of routes by which it can control the pH of the blood.
Current thinking is that alkaline and acidic foods should be balanced in your diet in order to place less of a strain on the body’s pH control systems. Since the blood pH must be slightly alkaline, then it might make sense to eat a slightly alkaline diet. However, it is not the actual food that matters, but what happens when the food is digested. Hence, orange juice is classed as an alkaline food even though it is high in citric acid and itself has a low pH. The same is true of lemons. They taste very sour, yet the result after digestion is alkaline. It is the end result that counts. After all, the stomach acid is very strong and very highly acidic, and eating slightly alkaline foods is not going to alter that. The digestive juices have to be highly acidic to break down the organic matter.
It had been calculated that a mix of around d 75% alkaline and 25% acidic food is a good combination of the two types to provide approximately the desired blood pH. Among the common acidic foods are meat, fish, poultry, plums, grains, eggs, wine, cheese and offal. The alkaline foods are most fruits and vegetables, orange and lemon juice, melons, potatoes and chocolate. Hence, it is possible to eat beef and chicken, and have the odd glass of wine so long as we eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. There is nothing at all unusual with that diet, and it underlines the importance of eating a healthy balanced diet. While more greens and whole foods are definitely healthier for you, you should not eat exclusively an alkaline diet.
If your blood pH is on the high side of the limit, then you can eat a bit more meat or fish, and if on the low side eat a more vegetarian style diet. It is important, however, that you eat healthily, irrespective of whether you are eating alkaline or acidic foods. Through history, the human race has adopted a more acidic diet than the ancient hunter gatherers. Grains are a relatively recent invention, introduced after the invention of stone tools to mill them, and dairy products are also relatively recent in terms of the whole of human history. Even the consumption of meat only began after mankind learned first how to trap and then developed tools to enable them to kill their prey.
Human biochemistry, then, has developed from a predominantly vegetarian diet. However, protein is still very important, and while protein intake is necessary, should comprise no more than 20% - 25% of your total food intake. The rest should comprise of mainly fruits and vegetables, with whole rather than refined or processes foods predominating. Sugar was not eaten in quantity until the industrial revolution.
Measuring the pH of your blood is easy to do. It is simply a matter of using pH paper strips and checking the color change with your blood. They are available at most pharmacies and health food stores. If your pH level varies from 7.4 or 7.5, then you should change your diet accordingly. Higher than this, then eat more acidic foods, and if lower you should eat more alkaline food. It is simple equation, and the changes you will have to make to your diet will be minimal. Some of these changes can be made by the use of supplements that are carefully balanced to maintain your blood in the proper pH.