Proper pH balance, where the body is neither too alkaline nor acidic, is essential for optimal health. Improper pH balance levels can make a woman more susceptible to menstrual cramping, vaginal infections, viral illnesses, wrinkles, sensitive skin, acne and tissue inflammation. In addition, unbalanced pH levels can contribute to osteoporosis-related bone fractures, Alzheimer’s disease and inflammatory conditions such as stroke, impaired thinking and even a heart attack. You must make lifelong adjustments to your lifestyle and diet to help prevent these side effects and properly balance your pH levels.
Defining pH Levels
The body needs to maintain a slightly acidic environment to protect itself against toxins and bacteria. Acid also helps the digestive system run properly. According to Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook in the book "The Ultimate pH Solution," there is not one correct pH reading for the entire body, but the human skin should have a pH of 5.5, saliva 6.5, the digestive tract around 1.5 and the blood 7.35. A doctor can test your pH levels, or you can test yourself at home with a saliva or urine pH test. These are available over-the-counter at drug and health food stores.
Adding More Fruits and Vegetables
Eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables can help naturally balance your pH levels. Dark, leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach are highly alkalizing, meaning that they help neutralize acid. In addition, brightly colored and pigmented fruits and vegetables like beets and raspberries are alkaline and can help balance pH levels. Root vegetables like onions and sweet potatoes contain inulin, a type of prebiotic -- a promoter of healthy bacteria -- that can help balance pH levels.
Modifying Your Meat Intake
Animal proteins, like red meat, are typically acidic and can affect the body’s pH levels. Balance your pH levels by eating a variety of vegetable proteins such as whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Nonmeat proteins tend to be easier for the body to digest and use. Limit your animal proteins to only 4 ounces per meal. Avoid highly acidic proteins like pork, veal, organ meats and shellfish.
Boosting Your Vitamins
Take a multivitamin, which can help fill in nutritional gaps and ensure that your body has all the nutrients it needs to help offset a high or low pH balance. Choose a multivitamin that has all the essential minerals and vitamins and is easily absorbed by the body, such as a chewable or powder multivitamin. A vitamin that contains probiotics can also help restore pH levels by regulating healthy bacteria levels in the body.
- Women to Women: Digestion & GI Health -- The Truth About pH Balance
- The Ultimate pH Solution; Michelle Schoffro Cook