What!? For those of you that have forgotten your old school chemistry, pH is a measure of the acid alkaline balance and goes from 0 to 14 with 0 being the most acidic, 14 the most alkaline and 7 being neutral. Our bodies operate best when they are slightly alkaline, at around 7.4.
In traditional Chinese understanding balance is represented by the yin yang symbol where yin (white) is both counterbalanced externally with yang (black)and also internally with the dot of white in the black and vice versa. Yang is considered male, black, right and acid whilst yin is female, white, left and alkaline.
Using this analogy we can see that it is important to balance the yin and yang aspects of our lives externally. We need a life/work balance where there is time for work, time for play and exercise, time outside in nature, time to rest and recharge etc. Too much stress is very acidic to the body, however too little motivation and we can slip away to the yin, alkaline side of the spectrum and become lethargic. Sometimes people swing wildly between the two, following frantic stress and activity with a period where they feel they can hardly move.
What we eat is an important contribution to maintaining essential balance for overall wellbeing. However many foods we eat are acid producing. This means our bodies are constantly struggling to maintain the balance needed to operate at optimum efficiency. If our diet is too acid the body is forced to use resources in the body to counteract this, and borrows minerals such as calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium from vital organs and bones. This causes strain on the body and yet can go undetected for many years.
Processed foods, meat, alcohol, tea, coffee, refined sugar, aspirin, chemicals, medicinal and recreational drugs, pesticides herbicides and tobacco are all acid producing in the body. Alkalising foods include most fruits and vegetables, almonds, chestnuts, millet, tempeh, fermented tofu, cinnamon, ginger, herbs, sea salt, blackstrap molasses and miso. Interestingly lemons, which are acid to the taste, are highly alkalising to the body.
So your 5 a day really is important to keep your pH in balance whilst the extremely alkalising effect of lemons in the body adds a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘go suck a lemon’!