Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Beyond Diet: Acid-Alkaline Balance, Part 3

In previous posts, I've written about the importance of eating plenty of alkalizing foods, like fresh vegetables, and avoiding foods that acidify us, like sweets. But diet isn't the only thing that affects the body's acid-alkaline balance. Too much stress, for instance, can make your pH more acidic; getting plenty of exercise can help alkalize your body.

How does this work? In the case of stress, the acidity comes from the release of fight-or-flight hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Our bodies need these substances to function properly, but if we're always stressed and releasing too much cortisol and adrenaline, it can lead to chronic acidosis over time.

A good basic antidote to this is deep breathing. This aids relaxation, stems further fight or flight reactions, and helps to counter the acidifying effects of previous stress. Deep breathing delivers more oxygen to the blood, which helps to alkalize it.

Exercise, too, oxygenates the blood and thus helps alkalize our bodies, especially aerobic exercise as it generates deeper breathing. In addition, exercise helps pH by stimulating lymph movement and sweating, which increases the movement of acid wastes out of the body. However, some authors warn against exercising too much, since excess exercise can acidify the body by creating more lactic acid than our systems can remove at one time.

Massage, saunas, and baking soda baths can also help restore acid-alkaline balance. So can fostering a positive outlook. Michelle Schoffro Cook, for instance, recommends keeping a gratitude journal to help your outlook. Write down a few things you're grateful for each day, she suggests. As she says in her book, The Ultimate pH Solution: "By focusing your attention on the positive aspects of your life, you'll be helping to restore hormonal balance to your body, which in turn helps restore alkaline balance."

That sounds good to me. I've kept a gratitude journal on and off for years, and after reading Cook's statement, I'm inspired to write in mine more often.

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