Get that Healthy Balance !
Natural health and a preventative lifestyle is all about Balance. Balance of the healthy/unhealthy ; Balance of the carbohydrates/protein/fat ; Balance of the active/sedentary ; etc. However the vital balance that measures and manifests a lot of the physiological outcomes is the acid – alkaline balance.
Where does this understanding begin ?
It begins with our first few chemistry lab tutorials ! That’s where we learnt about pH or the potential of hydrogen; tinkering with those test tubes.
Our blood pH when measured has an optimal pH of around 7.35-7.45 for homeostasis*. This is to ensure that all vital functions occur normally and we experience natural health. Various factors can lead one to the acidic part of the spectrum. The very nature of urban lifestyles for one. Food, stress, water, the air we breathe, sleep cycles etc. all impact the same. When this acidic pH keeps on going up, the body starts becoming a platform for various disorders ranging from acne to cancer. Acidity too is an acidic pH of the gut.
No disease, including cancer can exist in an alkaline environment.
– Otto Warburg
(1931 Nobel Prize winner for cancer discovery)
On the other hand, a very high alkaline pH can cause alkalosis. Symptoms are nausea, vomiting and muscle irritability. And here’s where choosing the quality of food for balance truly helps.
What makes a food give an acidic or alkaline reaction in the body is its mineral content. The “acid minerals” are sulphur, phosphorus, bromine, fluorine, copper, silicon, iodine and choline, which predominate in meat, eggs, refined sugar and refined grain products. The “alkaline minerals” are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron, which predominate in virtually all fruits and vegetables and some nuts and seeds.
Ways to tackle –
Raw Vegetables and fruits sit right at the top of the ladder in the food chain for more alkalinity. When they are subjected to heat, i.e. cooked, there is an increasing build up of acid..
The alkaline list according to pH is:
|Watermelon, Limes, Grapefruit, Mangoes, Pineapple, Papayas, Oranges||Dates, Figs, Melons, Grapes, Papaya, Kiwi, Berries, Apples, Pears, Raisins,||Oranges, Bananas, Cherries, Peaches, Avocados, Apples,|
|Lemons, Amla,, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cucumber, Carrots||Okra, Beets, Celery, Lettuce, Sweet Potato, Peas||Tomatoes, Fresh Corn, Cabbage, Potato|
Amongst veggies, the best are all the green leafies due to their higher chlorophyll and fibre content. The highly alkaline ones are– Spinach, Amaranth (green math), Fenugreek leaves (methi), Dill leaves (shepu), Radish greens, Cauliflower greens, Turnip greens (shalgam ke patte), Mustard leaves (sarso), Colocasia leaves (Allu/Arbi leaves)
A word of caution…
Extreme practice to be highly acidic or highly alkaline is not advised. The body does need some acidic pH for the stomach digestion and various other metabolic functions. An 80% alkaline – 20% acid diet is most balanced.
Which side do the juicy red tomatoes fall on?
Tomatoes contain malic, oxalic and citric acid. When these two come in contact with the gastric juice of the stomach, its production increases rapidly. This increased acid travels up and irritates the gastric lining. However, this happens only for some individuals with a weak gut .According to top ayurvedic experts, raw tomatoes are a strict no-no as it disturbs the delicate balance/doshas of the body.
However one cannot deny in food science, the immense benefits of lycopene as an antioxidant, vitamin C and other nutrients. Recent research also suggests that Lycopene ironically increases when tomatoes are cooked* up to 80 degree, but deteriorates post 100 degree Celsius. Hence a mixture of raw and cooked tomatoes is advised in moderation as an ingredient/mono in a recipe but not as a daily staple.
So, let’s leave the acid to the labs and enjoy a fresh colourful alkaline platter.
Health and wellness,
*Homeostasis – the tendency of the body to maintain equilibrium between the various physiological processes.
*Disclaimer : This is a general advice based on experience and expertise. Any individual chronic condition may need review.