A variety of health problems can occur when the body is in an acidic state. When body fluids become too acidic, we enter a state of acidosis in which illness and disease can manifest. If you consume a Standard American Diet (SAD), lacking in vitamins and minerals which are found abundantly in raw fruits and vegetables, then your diet is likely too acidic for good health.
Most grains, dairy products, meats, seeds, legumes and nuts are acidic (with seeds, nuts and legumes being considerably less acidic than the animal-based products). Fruits and vegetables on the other hand are alkaline, given they are consumed raw. Cooking vegetables or fruit changes the way the body recognizes nutrients and so can have an acidic effect on the body.
How Acidic Foods Cause Chronic Disease
Here is how acidic foods affect the body, and why you should start eating alkaline!
Animal foods, which are highly acidic, contain saturated fat which has been strongly linked to Alzheimer’s risk, according to Dr. Neal Barnard, a clinical researcher and professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine. Consuming saturated fats contribute to the formation of beta amyloid plaques which create plaques in the brain, associated with neurological conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
When people consume a steady diet of high acid forming foods, calcium is leached out of the bones to maintain the body’s pH. This can lead to a host of problems, osteoporosis included. If the acidity level in the blood is too high, the body, as a natural defence, will start withdrawing from mineral reserves in our bones (aka. calcium), in order to buffer excess acidity. Over time (and as is the case with most individuals consuming a Standard American Diet), this will weaken the bones and increases the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Acidic foods are very mucus forming and can cause a variety of problems for the lungs. Mucus is created as a result of the body naturally defending itself against acids and other irritants and helps move them through and out of the body. If you continuously consume foods high in acid, the overproduction of mucus can occur causing a variety of problems. When we have a build-up of mucus in the body, the delicate bronchi in the lungs cannot expand and contract as fluidly as they would in a body with low mucoid levels. Coughing, breathing trouble, chest pain, chest discomfort, fatigue, and sinus problems all indicate a build-up of mucus in the lungs.
Nutrients in acidic foods are not as properly absorbed in the digestive system as are alkaline-forming foods like raw fruit and vegetables. As a result, some of this food is absorbed into your bloodstream as acidic waste, while the rest of the undigested food putrefies in the intestine, causing further acid release into the bloodstream. This can wreak havoc on the cardiovascular system by causing arterial inflammation and plaques, restricting blood flow and thus preventing vital nutrients and oxygen from reaching the cells in our body. The result, especially if these acid plaques break off and clog the bloodstream, can cause heart attacks, strokes, increased risk for cardiovascular disease and a host of other heart-related problems (pretty much any you can think of).
Liver, Pancreas & Kidneys
Highly alkaline glands like the pancreas and liver are most susceptible to acidic damage. Pancreatic juice has a pH between 7.8-8.0 and bile from the liver has a pH between 7.5-8.8. When we consistently consume a diet high in acidic foods, the acidity of the whole body becomes higher, resulting in pancreatic juices and bile that are higher in acid than normal. The higher acidity level of these juices and bile irritate and even destroy surrounding tissue of the pancreas and liver, causing inflammation, stones, ulcers and cancer.
If the liver isn’t functioning well, then the kidneys won’t either. Waste processed by the liver goes through your blood to your kidneys and out in your urine. Uric acid stones form when the urine is persistently acidic, which is a direct result of consuming foods that are too acidic. By consuming a diet that is more alkaline, you can help improve the functioning of your liver, which will directly improve how well your kidneys function.
As visited in the heart section, acidic or heavily processed foods cause an allergic response in the digestive system, and food cannot be properly absorbed. This causes nutrient deficiencies which can lead to a suppressed immune system and increased risk for disease and illness. Improper digestion also creates the perfect environment for un-healthy bacteria to thrive, and can result in over-growth of Candida in the body. Restoring the acid-alkaline (pH) balance in the digestive system is crucial, especially if you do not consume enough raw fruit and vegetables, because this will help increase digestive enzymes to help improve digestion. With standard cooked food diets, the enzymes are normally destroyed, however raw foods are in their most natural state, and provide us with all of the digestive enzymes our body requires.
Suffer from acid reflux? You may be consuming a diet that is highly acidic. Fried and processed junk foods, meat, dairy, eggs and refined sugar can affect the pH of our stomach and leave us feeling less than optimal. The human stomach is filled with a naturally-acidic liquid which activates digestive enzymes and helps them break down consumed foods. When we throw off the natural pH in the stomach by consuming animal products or processed foods, excess acid accumulates and can cause heartburn, bloating, excess gas, indigestion, nausea and uncomfortable fullness. You may also experience bad breath, hair loss, belching or nasal congestion as a result of high stomach acid.
If the organs in your body are compromised as a result of an acidic diet (especially those that help detox like the liver, kidneys and intestines), then your skin will directly reflect the damage inside. If our blood pH level is even slightly more acidic than it should be (as a result of consuming a Standard American Diet), and remains this way for more than a month or two, then it will lead to skin eruptions, eczema, all dermatitis types, rashes, acne and random breakouts. When our bodies remain in this acidic zone, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, yeast and fungi (aka. Candida), and can be the main trigger for any skin issue you might be experiencing.