It’s no doubt come to your attention over recent years that acidic foods and drinks have been getting something of a bad rap. Particularly for those looking out for the health of their teeth and gums, we’re now regularly being told to be careful when it comes to acid intake.
But what you might not know is…why? We’re told to limit acid where possible, but why is this the case? A new health fad with no real grounding? For the benefit of our everyday wellbeing? Or simply to sell more specialist products?
The answer – it’s more a case of the second of the two than the others…it’s all about health and wellbeing. There’s also a cosmetic side to the whole thing too. So whether you’re out to take care of your body or simply maximise the value of your next DIY teeth-whitening kit, you might want to read and heed this introductory guide.
We’ll also be sharing a list of some surprisingly acidic foods in our next post, so keep your eyes peeled for that too.
Acid, Alkaline, and Neutral Blood pH
Good health begins with a balanced diet. The more meticulously you provide your body with everything it needs to do what it does best, the better it’s able to do it. The problem being that quite often, modern diets don’t give the body what it needs, but instead revolve around what’s convenient, affordable or desirable at the time.
Everything that goes into your body has its own unique pH level. Human blood is typically between 7.35 and 7.45 on this scale. If it goes above 8 it’s considered to be too alkaline, while anything below 6 is too acidic. In both instances, you could be looking a quite serious and varied health issues, if the balance goes too far out of whack.
When the blood’s pH level isn’t neutral, it has a direct impact on the ability of blood cells to deliver oxygen to cells around the body. Something that’s clearly a bad thing for any number of reasons. If the cells around the body aren’t provided with plenty of oxygen, they can’t perform their respective functions. From energy production to digestion and so on, the whole body begins to suffer.
The higher the acidity of the blood, the worse the problem becomes.
High Acid Foods vs. Low Acid Foods
It’s important to acknowledge and accept the fact that avoiding acidic foods entirely just isn’t a plausible approach. The simple fact of the matter being that to cut out acidic foods entirely would be borderline impossible. Not only this, but you need a certain amount of acid in your diet to achieve dietary balance.
Instead, it’s a case of knowing where and how to draw the line. Most foods and drinks that make it into our diets these days are considered to be acidic – it’s up to you to ensure you enjoy them in moderation.
Experts advise sticking with a diet that features 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods, in order to preserve the body’s balance. Unfortunately, research suggests that the majority of modern diets are literally the reverse of this – 80% acidic foods and 20% alkaline. The problem being that in most instances, those concerned have no idea this is the case.
Nor do they realise the potential harms of an over-acidic diet.
What’s also interesting is the way in which the flavour of the food or drink in question isn’t actually a good indicator of its acidity or otherwise. In some instances, it’s pretty obvious when something has a lot of acid in it. A mouthful of lemon juice or vinegar illustrating the point quite well. Nevertheless, many foods and drinks leave behind large quantities of acid after being metabolised by the body.
Acids you can’t immediately detect and therefore don’t suspect.
There are different kinds of acids that can have different effects on the body. Some have an immediate and potentially detrimental impact on the teeth and gums, while others don’t pose a threat until the process of digestion takes place.
Some are acidic before, others are acidic after – all need to be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.
Effects on the Body
In terms of harsher acidic products that can harm the health of teeth and gums, the best defence of all is a good daily oral health and hygiene regime. A dentist recommended electric toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, mouthwash and quality floss – all perfect for keeping the teeth and gums healthy. Monitoring your intake of acidic foods and drinks can also help, as can chewing gum throughout the day to keep the mouth clean and fresh.
Deeper into our systems, when the blood’s pH level creeps into acidic territory, it can significantly elevate the risk of conditions like kidney stones and even certain types of cancers. It can also have a detrimental impact on liver function, while at the same time affecting bone health and energy production/distribution.
Digestive issues are perhaps the most common issues of all that accompany excess acid intake. Particularly for those who may be prone to indigestion in the first place, excess acid can cause a variety of painful problems. Acid reflux being one example – a condition caused by the body’s digestive system becoming unbalanced and resulting in the painful over-production of stomach acid.
Acidic Food Cravings
If all of the above wasn’t bad enough, we’re naturally programmed to crave acidic foods to a far greater extent than non-acidic foods. The reason being that if you’ve fallen into dietary habits where acidic foods/drinks are consumed in high quantities, you body will have become used to them…and will expect them.
Hence, you’ll find yourself craving them disproportionately, which of course doesn’t help matters.
As such, the best thing to do is to familiarise yourself with the most acidic foods you can eat, in order to consume them in moderation and achieve dietary balance. As mentioned, we’ll shortly be publishing a post detailing some of the more acidic foods in our diets – some of which may come as quite the surprise.
Stay tuned for more…!