The Importance of Acid/Alkaline Balance
by Megan Forbes, Registered Dietician

You might ask the question what is pH balance and why is it important to the body? How do you know when you are out of balance? Well, some symptoms are headache, nausea, dizziness, and muscle pain. Your body is constantly trying to keep all systems in balance; itís able to compensate for too much acid or too much base most of the time. Yet, over time an acidic diet and lifestyle can change how a person feels on a daily basis. Maintaining a healthy pH balance is important for everyone, but itís especially critical for athletes and the prevention of osteoporosis.
    There are three mechanisms that affect the pH of your blood. They are: chemical buffers (potassium, sodium, etc.), pulmonary ventilation (breathing), and kidney function. With increased acidity, hyperventilation occurs.
    Most people have an acidic pH. This can be due to having too much sodium and too little potassium, eating packaged foods with sugar and salt, insufficient balance of a diet with fruits and vegetables, and imposing excess stress on the body. There are many ways you can alter your pH balance. One of the best ways for anyone to balance the bodyís stress is to eat a diet with alkaline-based foods. These foods are primarily fruits and vegetables. Another great way to reduce your bodyís stress and acidity is to slow down the breathing. This can be done through massage, yoga, or meditation.
    With long-term acidity, calcium and nitrogen loss happens. The body tries to reduce acidity by releasing minerals from bones and muscle. When this is done over time, your chances for osteoporosis increase and muscle recovery decreases.
    For the winter months you may try eating more root vegetables or soups (see Minestrone recipe below) to get your vegetable quota, or try making your own applesauce with cooked apples and plenty of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Root vegetables such as beets, parsnips, carrots, celery root, rutabaga and various herbs can be roasted with olive oil for a great meal or side dish.
    Trying to keep everything in balance is always difficult, but something to strive for. Keep in mind where your bodyís stress level is and adjust your diet accordingly. Happy living. Cont'd...