Background to the series.
Sixteen years ago I had a series on radio called Turning Back the Clock, which I presented in response to listeners in their 50’s and 60’s looking for rejuvenation and tips on staying young. Like me they were exasperated by the claims of the cosmetic industry that the various ingredients in their products could knock ten years off their age. I was asked to design a diet that would help reverse the signs of aging and this developed into a weekly challenge that was undertaken by nearly 100 listeners. The series became a book in 2010.
I try to practice what I preach! And certainly so far I have managed to maintain healthy key indicators such as blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol without medication, much to the surprise of my doctor!
In my opinion the answer to turning back the clock by several years is to consider and address a number of factors which include physical, emotional and mental age markers.
Part one of the series can be found: Here
Anti-Aging and a healthy body requires the correct pH balance.
Health and energy and long life all begin with a correct pH balance. The pH balance refers to the acidity or alkalinity of every living organism. The scale for measuring this balance is called Potential for Hydrogen or pH balance and each system or organ has its optimum balance for health.
The scale goes from 0 to 14 with 7.0 being neutral with anything above 7 as alkaline and anything below 7 being acidic. Each step up or down is ten times the previous which means that even a change of .1 will have an effect on your body.
For example human blood stays in a very narrow pH range between 7.35 and 7.45. If the balance goes either side of this there will be varying symptoms of disease. In fact if the pH level drops too much below 6.8 or above 7.8 the heart can stop.
This illustrates how critical this level of acidity and alkalinity is for our health.
If you already have a health problem you are very likely to be acidic. Some of the early symptoms are:
- acid after eating
- panic attacks
- cold hands and feet
- food allergies
- mild headaches and fatigue.
More acute symptoms are
- cold sores,
- and urinary infections
N.B – Urine pH should be between 7.0 and 7.2. Under 5.3 you cannot absorb vitamins and minerals) which results in
- hair loss
- fungal infections,
- numbness and tingling.
Advanced symptoms are the diseases such as:
- Crohn’s disease,
- Peptic ulcers,
- Cancer (thrives in a balance of 4.5 to 5.0),
- Hodgkin’s Disease,
- Rheumatoid arthritis
For example, an aging problem that both men and women are likely to experience is osteoporosis. One of the primary causes of osteoporosis is a lifetime of eating too much daily protein and refined sugars.
This is very acid forming and necessitates the body continually pulling calcium from the bones to buffer this acidity. Animal protein is somewhat worse than vegetarian protein foods, but all exert an acidic effect. Eating a diet high in processed foods that contain a high sugar content also results in an increase in high acidity.
Too much acid will decrease the energy production in the cells and the ability to repair damaged cells. The body is unable to detox heavy metals and allows tumour cells to thrive. It will also cause a depressed immune system leaving the body wide open to infections.
As we age, we gradually dry up at the cellular level. As we get older cells get thicker. As a result the amounts of vital nutrients and oxygen brought into them declines while the amount of toxins and metabolic waste products increases. The end result is loss of youthful cell function and the start of degenerative diseases and a steady aging process.
What causes too much acid in the body?
An acidic balance occurs from eating an acid forming diet, stress, toxicity in our environment and lack of absorption of alkaline forming minerals. If the body cannot get enough alkaline forming minerals such as calcium from the diet it will borrow from our reserves, namely the calcium stored in the bones which leads to osteoporosis.
All food is burned to an ash in the body. Food ash is neutral, acid or alkaline depending on the mineral content of the food. To be considered alkaline forming the minerals sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium are predominant. If it is acidic forming the ash will contain sulphur, phosphorus and chlorine.
To be healthy the body needs to be in the ratio of 4 – 1. Four parts alkaline and one part acid.
Just because a food is acid to begin with does not mean that it is acidic forming once it has gone through the digestive process. For example, a lemon is citrus and acidic but the ash it produces is alkaline.
There are some physical causes for an acid build up in the stomach that can then lead to a disruption in the acid balances in other systems of the body. Eating too much at one time can result in inadequate processing in the stomach. We are all familiar with that overstuffed feeling that we get when we have eaten too much. If you eat too fast you can compound this problem and the stomach is simply not large enough nor can it produce sufficient processing power to deal with the amount of food in a short space of time.
We have also lost the art of relaxing after a meal, rushing around trying to cope with modern life does zero for the digestive process. I am sure that we can all remember when we were children that we were never allowed to swim or run around for at least two hours after a main meal. Digestion takes a great deal of energy and if you divert that energy towards vigorous exercise, food is not processed properly leading to stomach cramps and increased acidity.
Ironically, antacids that you take to reduce acidity in the stomach result in less stomach acid, which means food is not processed efficiently, particularly proteins and creating an acid imbalance. Other medications such as aspirin and other over the counter NSAIDS such as Advil or Ibuprofen. Most medications have an effect on the body and major organs and this includes the liver which has a vital role in the processing of acid based foods we consume. If it is compromised by the medication passing through our system it will result in an imbalance in our pH levels.
N.B. Please do not stop taking prescribed medication without consulting your doctor.
In next week’s post I will be sharing an eating plan which may help to restore an acidity/alkalinity balance if you are already experiencing some of the symptoms I have mentioned.
©Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021
I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.
If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will join me again next week for part three of this series and the eating plan to restore a healthy pH balance. Thanks Sally.