Anything that contains a liquid, including the bloodstream, has a measurable pH level. This level, which determines the potential of hydrogen reactions, or the presence of oxygen, can have significant impacts on the human body. One of the most common, harmful impacts of an unbalanced pH is acidosis, or increased acidity in the bloodstream. Acidosis symptoms include headaches, fatigue, confusion, muscle weakness, diarrhea, arrhythmia, shortness of breath and coughing. Acidosis is caused by a diet high in acidic foods, such as animal protein, caffeine and processed foods. Fortunately, a diet high in the right alkaline foods can return pH levels to normal.
Measure your body's pH levels with litmus paper. Most hardware and chemical stores, pharmacies and online websites sell 400 sheets of litmus paper for less than $10. Because saliva pH levels are a good predictor of blood pH levels, you can wet the litmus paper with saliva to approximate the body's pH. Green shades, representing a pH between 6.0 and 7.5, indicate normal acidity/pH levels. Bluer shades indicate too much alkalinity (high pH levels) while yellow shades indicate too much acidity (low pH levels), tending toward acidosis.
In the case of high alkalinity, or high pH levels, eat foods that are acid-forming in the body. Although it is unlikely your bloodstream will be more alkaline in nature than acidic, it is possible. To counteract this, eat foods such as navy beans, pickles, canned fruit, white rice, pasta, beef, canned tuna, pork, peanuts, walnuts, coffee, beer, liquor and artificial sweeteners, which all increase acid concentrations in your body, according to research reported on Trans4mind, a website operated by British transformational psychologist Peter Schaefer.
With blood levels higher in acidity (lower pH levels), eat foods that are alkaline-forming in the body. In general, your diet should consist of 60 percent alkaline-forming foods and 40 percent acid-forming foods. Despite popular belief, most fruit that tastes acidic, such as limes and lemons. are actually alkaline-forming when digested by the body, according to a report on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website. Other alkaline-forming foods include vegetable juices, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, grapes, apples, raisins, oranges, peaches, strawberries, lemon water and stevia. Acidosis can strip the body of nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium, so balancing acidic pH levels is important to your health and well-being.
Although over-the-counter remedies such as Alka-Seltzer can lower acid levels in the stomach, they are for extreme cases of discomfort and not for pH-balancing purposes. Also, the Mayo Clinic reports that alkaline water provides no added benefit compared with regular tap water.