Growing up my friends and I used to swim in the pits around the area in which we lived. We were very outdoorsy and always found ourselves camping, fishing, and swimming in every pit or pond we could get to by bike or foot in the summers. I will never forget, one particular area outside of town that had two pits right next to each other. Even tough they were adjacent they were completely different. One was a regular pit, full of fish and every other creature you could imagine living in the water. The other was full of a blue/green colored water with no fish or living creature enjoying its existence. We discovered later that the pit was blue/green because of alkaline. This type of pit does not lend itself to being inhabited because of the alkaline levels. Organisms, animals, and even diseases find it difficult to grow in an alkaline environment. If you own a swimming pool, you understand what I am talking about. You check the chemicals to make sure they are balanced so you do not have anything unwanted growing in your lovely water on those hot summer days. 

Your body is no different! If your chemical composition becomes unbalanced, so does your health. Typically, when something affects our body or how it functions we call that DISEASE.  Think of your body as a swimming pool. A normal alkaline level should be around 7.36, which is considered neutral. In order to be slightly on the alkaline side you need to be above the 7.36 range. We are usually on the lower side of the 7.36 pH range and being lower would be acidic. Your medical doctor uses blood work to assess your health. Blood work usually has to be done at your local lab and your physician must interpret the results. I highly recommend you have your blood work done once a year at the very least. Blood work will give you definitive results regarding your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar to name a few. Alkaline testing, on the other hand, can give you an idea of how your overall health is related to the foods you are consuming, and you can perform this test yourself every day. Alkaline strips can be purchased online or at your local pharmacy. Testing your alkalinity on a regular basis can help you determine whether or not you are keeping your body in a slightly alkaline state. Our bodies function and feel the best when they are in slightly alkaline state, not an acidic one. 

If you are regularly in a slightly acidic state testing your alkalinity will help you see if adjustments are necessary in your diet. Our diets (BTW, I hate the word diet) tend to be more on the acidic side these days. The acidic nature of our food consumption stems from multiple sources: sugary beverages, caffeinated beverages, processed foods, meat, and the list goes on. It causes inflammation, fatigue, and acid indigestion just to name a few of the side effects.

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Have you ever wondered why a large number of television commercials target heart burn and acid indigestion? Have you wondered why energy drinks are a multi-billion dollar a year industry? Have you ever wondered why osteoporosis seems to be more prevalent than ever? Well, when you consume a predominately acidic diet you experience weight gain, increased chances of heart burn/acid reflux, energy drain, poor sleep, and possibly increase your chances of developing osteoporosis and other diseases.  A major problem that most of us overlook is our sleep patterns. Reduced quality sleep patterns can affect your cortisol levels. You need quality sleep in order to not put on those extra pounds around your mid section. Cortisol production will either go to your muscles during good sleep or belly fat during poor sleep. If you don’t feel rested in the morning and have a little muffin top around your mid-section, you may have a cortisol issue. This would be a good chance to visit with your physician about some further blood testing.

Your body wants to maintain homeostasis and operates at optimal levels when the pH levels are neutral or above. Our bodies are amazing and will do whatever necessary to maintain a neutral pH level. If you are highly acidic, your body may have to leach calcium from your bones to manage those acid levels. Long term, this could lead to osteoporosis. Your body wants to protect you, but you have to help. Your nutritional intake plays an integral part in how your body functions. You probably have heard the old saying, “food is medicine”.  Well, that saying could not be more true. In this world of processed convenience foods we all need to take a look at how what we eat on a daily basis affects our bodies. Take time to asses your body regularly. Consider the foods you consume, exercise regularly, and try the alkaline test. Take charge and be a proactive participant in your overall health and wellness.