I have very specific memories of being highly acidic prior to my diagnosis of heart disease.
I recall on a daily basis having issues with stomach acid and many nights literally waking up choking on acid reflux. I was chewing tums, drinking baking soda and googling all kinds of home remedies … one remedy was to drink a vinegar and mustard mix, not in the least bit enjoyable. I also would drink huge amounts of milk in an effort to quell the burn; I now understand that was the equivalent of adding gas to the fire.
I cannot possibly encompass all the benefits of maintaining a pH balanced body. Volumes have been written however we continue to simply look for a quick fix vs. understanding the mechanics of acid reflux.
Acid reflux is highly indicative serious health issues. A normal body operates in a highly oxygenated environment and in the year and half of eating a Plant Based diet I have not had one episode of acid reflux. This includes eating tomatoes, citrus, and spicy foods (cayenne, wasabi, horseradish, hot peppers, etc..) which are often included in the list of foods to avoid. I truly believe that animal protein and oil causes 99% of all heartburn episodes.
pH Balanced is a core concept of health and is widely ignored in our day-to-day lives. Most of us instantly seek instant relief and we are served up a plethora of drugs for acid reflux. Unfortunately , Plop, plop, fizz, fizz… is simply a band-aid for a much deeper issues. Although the drugs are highly effective in relieving symptoms in the short-term they are absolutely not preventative.
The term pH means “potential of hydrogen” and refers to the amount of hydrogen in a substance. A pH of 7 is considered neutral; anything below is acidic, while anything above a 7 is alkaline. The pH in your blood must remain within a very narrow range, between 7.35 and 7.45 or you become sick and can die. Both metabolic factors and respiratory factors control pH in your blood. Metabolic factors include the breakdown and elimination of waste products normally created by your body. Respiratory factors include the amount of carbon dioxide you elimination from the lungs when you breathe; excess carbon dioxide acidifies your blood.
When you eat too much sugar, processed foods, animal protein and caffeine, your body becomes too acidic. This acidic environment causes your cells to retain less oxygen than they would if you had an alkaline climate within your cells. Consequently, this acidic environment creates an optimal atmosphere for cancer cells to multiply and thrive. Therefore, by following an alkaline diet, you increase the oxygen levels in your cells, which ultimately inhibits the growth and development of cancer cells and might even “cure” your cancer. Cancer cannot survive in an oxygen rich environment.
Top Nine Causes of Acidity
Chocolate: Chocolate contains caffeine and other stimulants such as theobromine, which cause reflux. Chocolate is high in fat, and fat causes reflux.
Fried Food: Fried food is the single most recognized cause of reflux. It is also the food most often associated with heartburn, which is chest pain from esophageal reflux.
Deep-fried (or even not-so-deep-fried) foods are on the “bad list” because of their high fat content
Alcohol: Alcohol is believed to relax the valve at the bottom of the esophagus (where it joins the stomach), leading to reflux.
Dairy: All high-fat foods cause reflux
Meats: Acid reflux is caused by high-fat cuts of meat—beef, pork, lamb—which stay longer in the stomach and increase the chance of acid reflux.
Caffeine: Coffee is highly acidic and it can stimulate the hypersecretion of gastric acids. Decaffeinated coffee has been shown to increase acidity to a greater degree than either regular coffee or caffeine alone. Coffee tends to speed up the process of gastric emptying, which may result in highly acidic stomach contents passing into the small intestine more rapidly than normal. This may lead to injury of the intestinal tissue
Tobacco: Nicotine increases the production of stomach acid, harming the esophagus. Tobacco smoke seems to directly irritate the esophagus lining, reducing saliva production. This causes two problems. When you swallow, saliva helps push acid down, out of the esophagus and into the stomach. Saliva also contains bicarbonate, which is a mild acid neutralizer. So a reduction in saliva can make your acid reflux worse.
Stress: Although the relationship between stress and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux is still unclear, evidence suggests that anxiety, along with exhaustion resulting from sustained stress, are both associated with exacerbation of heartburn and esophageal reflux.
Soda: The bubbles of carbonation expand inside the stomach and the increased pressure contributes to reflux as well as draining affecting bicarbonate levels in the body. Sodas with caffeine are even worse.
We know that the most significant contributors to over-acidity in the body are acidifying foods such as meat, cheese, certain grains and processed foods, as well as lack of alkalinizing foods such as fruits or vegetables; stress and negative emotions; inflammatory conditions such as arthritis or injury; environmental toxins; pharmaceutical drugs; lack of exercise; dehydration and lack of fresh air. Less emphasis should be placed on acidifying foods such as dairy products, red meats, highly processed and fast foods, deep-fried foods and hydrolyzed oils.*
A diet that emphasizes alkalinizing foods is the best way to keep your blood pH in a healthy range. This includes eating fiber rich foods such as whole grains, such as amaranth, quinoa, spelt, rye; fresh fruits and vegetables; sea vegetables such as kelp; essential fatty acids, vitamins and plenty of water. Reducing stress and getting adequate rest are also important steps in maintaining a healthy pH balance. Drinking lots of water, exercise, positive attitudes and fresh air also all have an alkalinizing effect on the body.*
*REFERENCE: Minich D, Bland J. Acid-Alkaline Balance: Role in Chronic Disease and Detoxification. Alternative Therapies 2007; 13(4): 62-65