Balance: we strive for it between work and play, hungry and full, hot and cold. You balance your checkbook and maybe your diet on a monthly, if not daily, basis. Balance not only keeps us standing upright, it keeps us sane and healthy: so much of what we do and how we feel on a daily basis depends on it.

The only problem is that most of us are so busy balancing things in our external lives; bringing balance to our internal systems isn’t on the forefront our minds. Though internal balance, or imbalance, may be the reason for our out of balance external selves. Like roots that either hold strong to the soil beneath the plant they firmly support or create weak foundations for their above ground halves as they struggle to extend down through rocky soil, balance inside the body can make or break the health and well-being of what you see above the surface.

The acid–alkaline balance within the body is one of the most essential and foundational to health. Just like other solutions, all body fluids have an optimal acid or alkaline (PH) level. Human blood should be slightly alkaline (between 7.35 and 7.45 where 7 is neutral, above 7 is alkaline and below 7 is acidic). Natural internal systems work to maintain PH at the optimal level for normal function. However, modern diet, digestion and lifestyle practices can skew the PH balance to harmful extremes, something that has been studied as the source of many degenerative illnesses.

Here’s how the PH of the fluids can get out of whack:

  • Our modern diets consist of highly acidic foods. Corn and corn based products, excess wheat, processed dairy, excess animal protein, sugar, coffee, soda, fried foods and alternative sweeteners, for example, are all highly acidifying foods.
  • When your body digests these acidifying foods the blood becomes more acidic.
  • A balanced diet with plenty of alkalizing foods, such as green vegetables, beans, lentils, herbs, nuts and seeds, will usually help keep the acidity of the blood at the optimal level.
  • Unfortunately, the modern diet often does not include enough of these alkalizing foods. This is compounded by the fact many industrially produced foods are not as nutrient dense and have chemical residues that are actually acidifying.
  • Other factors that contribute to a PH imbalance include stress and poor digestion and absorption of nutrients.

So, how does PH imbalance affect you?

  • When the body struggles to maintain its PH balance on its own, it will begin to draw minerals from the vital organs and bones. Bone loss, as well as decreased efficiency and compromised function of organs due to mineral loss  can result in a variety of symptoms and illnesses.
  • Mild acidosis, or an acid buildup in the body, can result in cardiovascular damage, weight gain, diabetes, bladder and kidney infections, immune deficiency, free radical damage, hormone imbalance, accelerated aging, osteoporosis, joint pain, muscle aches, decreased energy, slow digestion and metabolism and yeast or fungal growth in the body.

What does this mean for you?

  • Eat more fruits and veggies, especially those that are neutral ph or slightly alkaline to help restore the PH balance in your body. Surprisingly citrus, while very acidic on its own, is a great alkalizing food. Mangoes, papaya, melons, grapes, blueberries, apples and pears, as well as onions, parsley, raw greens, broccoli, garlic, squash, zucchini and sweet potato are all good alkalizing food choices.
  • Steer clear of processed foods, white flour, artificial sweeteners and excess amounts of dairy and meat products. Remember, it’s all about balance so a little bit of these foods in your diet is nothing to fret over. Just take manageable steps by eating less of theses foods over time.
  • Stop pounding down the coffee and swap a few of your daily cups for herbal or green tea or filtered water with a squeeze of lemon.
  • As far as grains go, whole grains like sprouted wheat, spelt and brown rice are only slightly acidifying so indulge in moderation. Amaranth, millet, wild rice and quinoa are mildly alkalizing and also have the benefit of being some of the healthiest grains available.

Customizing your weekly delivery from Grow Alabama to contain your favorite, healthy, alkalizing foods can make it easier to get your body back in balance. If you’ve stocked up on farm fresh greens, root vegetables and seasonal fruits, you’ll be less likely to grab a take out meal that tempts you after a long day at work but you know won’t be good for your body in the long run.

In your quest for balance, seek it inside and out and remember that balance is not just between work and play or hot and cold but between many things, which may need to be balanced on their own as well as with other systems they work in harmony with. When you have balance internally, you may attain balance externally, mentally, emotionally and physically.