We chat with a naturopath to understand more about our body’s pH levels

Forever our go-to for everything happening in the wellness world, this time we’re questioning Kim Wessels, head naturopath at Huckleberry, about our body’s pH levels and how we should be looking after them.

What is the ideal pH level our bodies should be?
Our ideal pH is slightly alkaline (Above 7 on the pH scale) and sits between 7.3-7.45, rising and falling slightly throughout the day.

What is alkalinization?
It’s really the process of establishing alkalinity by way of homeostasis – our body is naturally programmed to correct any states of disease or imbalance in pH, and for the most part, it does this every hour of every day. 

How often should we be testing our pH levels?
If you have decided to have a more acid/alkaline diet, you can test daily or 2-3 times per week to monitor your progress, although testing 3-4 times per day may be required for those with particular health issues. Testing at the same time each day provides more consistent results, while some studies suggest also that you test 2 hours after meals and to be aware that your pH can be more acidic first thing in the morning.

How do we test our pH levels?
pH test strips are readily available at health food stores and they allow you to test either saliva or urine.

Why do we need to be more alkaline?
There are many factors that can disrupt our pH and push it down. Exposure to stress, unhealthy diet, poor oxygen levels and sleep, ill health and dysfunctional detoxification are a few factors than can topple this balance causing excessive acidity in our body fluids and tissues – commonly called acidosis.  

What are the negative effects of an unbalanced pH level in the body?
An imbalance in pH equals an unbalanced you – your body will attempt to right the imbalance and use up the nutrients you need most to maintain a good pH. Lowered nutrient levels can impact mood, energy levels, immunity, digestion, detoxification, organ function and so much more that happens behind the scenes. That’s why it’s important to avoid prolonged states of acidosis, or the less common alkalosis. The key is the balance.

How can we reduce the acidity in our bodies?
Many factors affect pH but this can be minimised and realigned by such things as getting sufficient sleep, eating well and staying healthy and minimising exposure to pollutions like radiation, electromagnetic frequencies, chemical, noise and air. Doing daily meditation and breathing exercises definitely help, as does getting daily exercise — but be sure not to overdo it.

What is an alkaline diet?
An alkaline diet consists primarily of alkaline foods, and those who wish to try it should be eating meals and snacks that are an 80:20 ratio of alkaline to acid. If you need somewhere to start, look at what foods you eat now that are acidic and commit to halving your intake of a key one — it might be sugar, coffee or processed foods.  

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