Lemons are acidic. Tums are safe. Acid reflux means I have too much acid in my system. And other misconceptions about the human acid-base balance.
Ok so we hear about the acid-base balance whenever discussion turns towards health but what exactly does it mean? Chronic acidosis is rampant in North America so of course we must discuss it and how to fix it? In reality the body is a pulley system up and down and all around the acid-base balance. A tightrope walk along the seventh line.
What is pH? What does it Mean for the Body?
pH refers to the number of hydrogen ions in a given fluid; the more hydrogen ions the more acidic a substance is.
It is measured on a scale of 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral; below 7 is acidic above 7 is basic. Oxygen rich blood sits between 7.365 and 7.45. The human body is a balancing act, different areas are acidic eg stomach and other are basic eg blood, but overall we are neutral. Optimum health sits at the very slightly alkaline level (pH of 7.3). Beyond that we experience a myriad of health problems ranging from every day acid reflux to diseases such as cancer.
Tums are Safe?
Tell anyone you have acid reflux and they hand you a roll of Tums or Rolaids or a bottle of Pepto-Bismol…Your doctor may prescribe something akin to Prevacid. While these and others are popped like candy the acid reflux problem is only rising. Leading us to believe that they do not help and in fact only add to the problem.
The stomach produces hydrochloric acid in order to break down the foods we consume. This acid is a must!! If there is not enough acid in the stomach food is not properly broken down and is left to ferment (is not properly expelled) forming gas and other acid reflux symptoms. We take something for this feeling but in reality the body has over produced thus we exacerbate the situation.
Next scenario we eat an abundance of acid forming foods thus the stomach is overrun, healthy bacteria die, the system goes into acid overload and we end up with acid reflux. Take that ant-acid and the body cannot digest at an optimal rate, fermentation. Thus we get into this over abundance/under production cycle and the body is unable to balance. Let’s break the merry-go-round!
Acidic Foods Vs Alkaline Foods and What They Mean For my Acid Reflux
Basically meat, grains and processed food create acid when digested.
Fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts turn alkaline when digested.
When we consume fruits and vegetables they digest and the stomach neutralizes, nutrients are absorbed at an optimal rate and the waste is eliminated. The perfect diet contains both acid and base producing foods so that they may cancel each other out. Think vinegar and baking soda; small reaction (digestion) then neutrality. Add too much of either one; you get a larger reaction with one substance left in excess. This excess is the acid reflux symptoms we feel.
Every morning upon waking level the playing field! Squeeze ½ lemon (or 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar) into a tall glass of water and drink at least 30 minutes before consuming any other food. Warning!! The first few times you do this the stomach will reel! It will NOT feel good but if you push through it you will feel better in the long run. For many people it helps to juice gingerroot (ginger calms the stomach while still alkaline) with the lemons.
Throughout the day cut back on processed food, reduce the amount of meat and wheat you consume. Most importantly add in more vegetation; especially the dark green leafy kind, nuts and root vegetables such as sweet potato, celeriac, rutabaga, parsnips etc.
The acid-base balance of the human body is a well conducted orchestra, provide the right musicians and the sound is perfectly balanced and beautiful. Mix things up a bit and the sound is anywhere from just okay to horrendously horrible, ears bleeding, get me outta here! So to help you find the balance you’re looking for to create that soothing melody here are my fav resources.
Information on side effects of common antacids
Check out the Prescription for Flavor Recipe of the Week by KooK Adam “Thai Curried Lentils with Cauliflower” perfectly balanced to help tame acid reflux not aggravate it 🙂
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