Article provided Amazing Grass
Living organisms rely on a careful balance of acids and bases, known as pH level. The pH scale ranges from 1(acidic) to 14 (basic) with a 7 being completely neutral. Healthy biological performance for humans requires a blood pH level of about 7.4, which is considered “slightly basic”. Having a slightly basic pH is commonly referred to as being alkaline. The human body is a master at regulating its optimal pH and will do so automatically. This natural correction doesn’t come without a cost and decreasing the work required to balance the pH is beneficial for many reasons.
The foods we eat, amount of physical stress, and even the water we drink affect our body and have either acidic or alkaline effects on our pH. Physical exercise and a long-term diet rich in foods with a high PRAL (potential renal acid load) will increase the body’s net acid load. Diets rich in Green SuperFoods and leafy green vegetables can reduce the body’s net acidic load and help balance the effects of poor dieting and physical stress.
The PRAL score of foods is their ranking of Potential Renal Acidic Load. This is used to determine if a food has alkalizing or acidic effects on the body. A positive score means the food is acidic and a negative score means that the food is alkaline. For a list of PRAL foods and their score, look at the table below.
The human diet has changed significantly due to the agricultural revolution and industrialization over the last 200 years. The change has gone from a hunter-gatherer diet rich in naturally occurring fruits and vegetables (low to negative PRAL score) to diets rich in processed foods, grains, and protein (high PRAL score). This change associated with a common 21st century diet leaves our body predisposed to a lower pH (higher acidity). The human body is remarkable at maintaining an ideal pH, and a diet that is rich in high PRAL score foods will not cause a complete shift to the low pH end of the scale. However, this beneficial regulation does not come without a price. Diets with high acidic loads and not enough low/negative PRAL scoring foods (like Green SuperFoods and leafy green vegetables) can lead to bone disease, kidney stones, muscle loss, and impaired organ function.
Essential minerals that help balance our pH are stored as salts in our bones, teeth, and muscles. As a response to this increased acidic load, our body will pull these salts out of reserves into our blood to help reach an ideal pH. Over time, net loss of these essential salts from bones and teeth can cause serious health risks. The effects of balancing the pH ultimately lead to high salt concentrations in the kidneys and urine. Increased amounts of calcium, phosphates, and citrate paired with high acidity can lead to kidney stones. By properly supplementing high PRAL Scoring foods with greens or a greens supplement you can lower the net acidic load, minimize the depletion of these salts and combat bone loss.
Balancing a diet with alkalizing foods can reduce these risks and even reverse them. Alkaline rich foods and diets are high in calcium and potassium which are the major elements effecting the bodies pH. Eliminating the deficit associated with acidic diets can restore and prevent elimination from bone, teeth, and muscle. Correction of acidosis has also shown to improve the production in growth hormone and osteocalcin, which is associated with improved body composition, memory and cognition. Furthermore, maintaining a proper pH allows the body to function properly. A poorly regulated pH will lead to acidosis that can cause impaired organ function and lead to serious physical harm.
How to increase the body’s pH/ alkalinity
As mentioned previously, diets rich in leafy green vegetables are proven to have alkalizing effects on the body’s acidic load. Leafy green vegetables are high in potassium and calcium which help regulate pH and boast very low PRAL scores. Naturally increasing the availability of essential minerals is the most beneficial way to increase the pH and ameliorate the effects of a highly acidic diet. Getting leafy greens in diet isn’t always easy. For those who cannot or choose not to add more leafy greens into their diet can benefit from a greens supplement, which are a cost effective and easy alternative. Green supplements, like SuperFood powders, do not require meal preparation or time, and can be consumed practically anywhere. For more information on how to achieve the recommended daily dosage of greens please refer to http://blog.naturalpartners.com/the-amazing-truth-behind-green-veggie-consumption/.
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Resources/ Citations
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