One of the reasons for eating right is to maintain the proper PH balance of your body.
we have a better shot at long-term health if our body’s pH is neutral or slightly alkaline. When we tilt toward greater acidity, which can be measured easily, we have a greater risk of developing osteoporosis, weak muscles, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and a host of other health problems.
The solution, according to scientists who have researched “chronic low-grade metabolic acidosis,” is eating a diet that yields more alkaline and less acid. Just what kind of diet is that? One that’s high in fruits and vegetables. That might not seem like a big surprise, except for a few unexpected twists and turns.
ACID YIELDING FOOD DEPLETE MINERALS
If the idea of balancing acid and alkaline foods seems a bit off the wall, it does have a somewhat checkered past. Most people, including physicians, aren’t familiar with the dangers of acidosis, except in the most extreme situations. Those include lactic acidosis, from overexercise; ketoacidosis, when diabetes start burning their own fat; and renal acidosis, which can be a sign of kidney failure.
The problem with acid-producing eating habits is very real. After digestion, all foods report to the kidneys as being either acidic or alkaline. The kidneys are responsible for fluid balance and maintaining a relatively neutral pH in the body.
That’s where things get interesting. When acid-yielding foods lower the body’s pH, the kidneys coordinate efforts to buffer that acidity. Bones release calcium and magnesium to reestablish alkalinity, and muscles are broken down to produce ammonia, which is strongly alkaline. By the time the response is all over, your bone minerals and broken down muscle get excreted in urine.
Long term, excess acidity leads to thinner bones and lower muscle mass, points out Anthony Sebastian, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco. These problems are compounded by normal aging, which increases acidosis, bone loss, and muscle wasting. Along the way, calcium and magnesium losses can equate to deficiencies, with many ramifications. Both minerals play essential roles in bone formation and normal heart rhythm. Low magnesium levels can cause muscle cramps, arrhythmias, and anxiety.
Recommendations, for Athletes include too many veggies to be a knockoff of the Atkins’ high-protein diet. (Eating very lean meats, reduces saturated fats amount to only 10 percent of calories.) Nor do you have to be a vegetarian to gain the alkalizing benefits of fruits and vegetables. “It takes about 35 percent of total calories as fruits and veggies to produce a net alkaline load,” he explains. “What’s so hard about one-third of your plate being veggies?”
Still, if you have visions of veggies coming out of your ears, the answer is really simple. Cut back on breads, pastas, and other grain-based foods, as well as “high-glycemic” foods such as potatoes. They’re all nutrient-poor foods, compared with protein and veggies.
I, myself, am a raw food eater so my protein comes from nuts, sprouts ( which you can see in the works next to the fruits in the bowl) and seeds.
How to test your own pH
You can test your own pH simply and inexpensively. All you need are some pH test strips. Tear off two three-inch strips. As you as you awaken, before you drink or eat anything, put some saliva on the test strip. Compare the color to a pH color chart that comes with the test strips. Next, measure the pH of your second urination of the morning. To do this, urinate on the strip or collect the urine in a plastic or glass (not paper) cup and dip the test strip. Again, compare the color to the pH color chart.
Gastric juice, thin, strongly acidic (pH varying from 1 to 3), almost colorless liquid secreted by the glands in the lining of the stomach. Its essential constituents are the digestive enzymes pepsin and rennin (see rennet), hydrochloric acid, and mucus. Pepsin converts proteins into simpler, more easily absorbed substances; it is aided in this by hydrochloric acid, which provides the acid environment in which pepsin is most effective. Rennin aids the digestion of milk proteins. Mucus secreted by the gastric glands helps protect the stomach lining from the action of gastric juice. Gastric secretion is stimulated by a number of hormones and chemical substances, by the presence of food in the stomach, and by a number of psychological factors, such as the smell of a favorite food. A decrease or total absence of gastric juice secretion may be a congenital abnormality or a concomitant of advanced age. Certain cells of the stomach lining secrete a substance known as intrinsic factor, which is necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12; absence of this substance results in pernicious anemia, or B12 deficiency (see vitamin).
Pepsin, enzyme produced in the mucosal lining of the stomach that acts to degrade protein. Pepsin is one of three principal protein-degrading, or proteolytic, enzymes in the digestive system, the other two being chymotrypsin and trypsin. The three enzymes were among the first to be isolated in crystalline form. During the process of digestion, these enzymes, each of which is particularly effective in severing links between particular types of amino acids, collaborate to break down dietary proteins to their components, i.e., peptides and amino acids, which can be readily absorbed by the intestinal lining. In the laboratory studies pepsin is most efficient in cleaving bonds involving the aromatic amino acids, phenylalanine, tryptophan, and tyrosine. Pepsin is synthesized in an inactive form by the stomach lining; hydrochloric acid, also produced by the gastric mucosa, is necessary to convert the inactive enzyme and to maintain the optimum acidity (pH 1-3) for pepsin function. Pepsin and other proteolytic enzymes are used in the laboratory analysis of various proteins; pepsin is also used in the preparation of cheese and other protein-containing foods.
An enzyme produced in the stomach to coagulate milk protein and delay its passage into the small intestine. The delay enables other enzymes to break the protein down into absorbable amino acids. Relatively large amounts of rennin are present in the gastric juice of infants, but it may be absent in adults. A derivative of rennin, rennet, is used in junket- and cheese-making. Some vegetarians (lacto-vegetarians) will eat dairy products but not other animal products. Cheese for these vegetarians is made using edible plant enzymes or genetically-engineered enzymes which have the same action as rennin. In fact, because they are cheaper, genetically-engineered enzymes are gradually replacing rennet in other cheese-making.
The very low pH (1-2) of the acid in the stomach is a very harsh environment, so most bacteria are killed off. The pH acts as a defense mechanism.
The enzyme protease works optimally at a low pH. This means the environment in the stomach is ideal for the break down of proteins to take place.
Mucus: The most abundant epithelial cells are mucous cells, which cover the entire lumenal surface and extend down into the glands as “mucous neck cells”. These cells secrete a bicarbonate-rich mucus that coats and lubricates the gastric surface, and serves an important role in protecting the epithelium from acid and other chemical insults.
Proteases: Pepsinogen, an inactive zymogen, is secreted into gastric juice from both mucous cells and chief cells. Once secreted, pepsinogen is activated by stomach acid into the active protease pepsin, which is largely responsible for the stomach’s ability to initiate digestion of proteins. In young animals, chief cells also secrete chymosin (rennin), a protease that coagulates milk protein allowing it to be retained more than briefly in the stomach.
Hormones: The principle hormone secreted from the gastric epithelium is gastrin, a peptide that is important in control of acid secretion and gastric motility.