Diet & Exercise: Why an acid-alkaline balance is important to our health

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, August 3, 2017

So many folks these days are trying to get fit and stay healthy, but there’s one aspect many overlook: body pH.

The pH scale measures the amount of acid in our bodies. Technically speaking, pH stands for “potential hydrogen,” and the pH scale ranges from 1 to 14. Anything below 7 is considered an acid, and anything above 7 is alkaline.

An acid is a substance that releases hydrogen ions, and an alkaline substance removes hydrogen ions. Our stomachs need to be more on the acidic side, but otherwise, the more acidic our bodies are, the more diseased they become.

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When our cells undergo respiration, i.e., everyday living, they give off acids. Our bodies do use some of these acids for fuel, but the rest of these acids can actually be bad for us. Too much acid in our bodies is called acidosis. An acid-alkaline balance is important, because all bodily functions, including digestion, respiration, and metabolism work best at particular pH levels.

The body does have ways of trying to deal with acidosis. One way is to store the excess acid in fat cells. The problem with this is that the body will tend to increase its fat stores.

Another way the body tries to handle too much acid, is to use calcium as a buffer. The problem with this is that the body will sometimes pull calcium from its bones, thereby making them weaker.

One of the best ways to alkalize your body is through proper use of your diet. Some examples of alkalizing foods include, peppers, carrots, pineapple, eggs, squash, most spices, cherries, cucumber, apples, cantaloupe, asparagus, and almonds. Some examples of acidifying foods include, corn, beef, tuna, most oils, lamb, alcohol, and turkey.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should never eat foods that are acidifying, as many of these have nutrients we need. I am suggesting to choose more alkalizing ones. In my opinion, the ideal diet would consist of 75 percent alkalizing foods, and 25 percent acidifying foods. Be careful though. Some foods that are acidic when you eat them are actually alkalizing once they are digested. For example, lemons and oranges are alkaline foods. Also, apple cider vinegar turns alkaline once it’s digested.

Conversely, distilled vinegar stays acidic in our bodies. In fact, consuming lemons and apple cider vinegar are two of the best ways to alkalize your body. This might seem confusing since we all know both lemons and cider vinegar are acidic, but once digested turn totally alkaline. Garlic is great, too.

Fitness or nutrition question? Email me at or text 864-494-6215. David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and personal trainer for 29 years.