The Delicate Balance: Acid-Alkaline Levels
A very important, but sometimes overlooked, element of managing diet for us autoimmune moms is the acid-alkaline balance. There will be more discussion on this in future posts written by our amazing functional nutrition author, but for now, I wanted to share the best infographic to use as a reference plus some other good articles.
Why is acid-alkaline balance important?
If your diet is too acidic (which you can test with pH strips, available at most pharmacies or online), then over time the body has to restore balance by taking minerals from your bones and/or other organs, since the minerals are not present in your diet. This puts stress on the body, which can lead to symptoms we are all familiar with – in fact, many of them are straight off of our autoimmune super symptoms list.
If I am too acidic, how do I fix the balance?
The most common-sense approach (I’m sure there are supplements and other things you could take) is to eat more alkaline foods and reduce your acidic foods. To search for more information, look for articles and books about the plant-based diet, which I think of as just another foundation block of the overall autoimmune diet we’re all striving to eat. There is a good book called The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Cambell II, MD. Their website has more information about the book and other good links and sources: The China Study Community. I have not personally read the book, but it is recommended by a dietitian friend who I trust very much.
Which foods are acidic and which are alkaline?
The best infographic I’ve found is the one below from Perque Integrative Health. I find myself constantly looking at this chart, and then coaching myself not to overdo on the things that I really want a lot of (coffee!!) on the acidic side. I’m so grateful for this clean, easy reminder of what’s what.
The autoimmune diet constantly overwhelms me, and I am still trying to find the right mix of foods that make me feel good and don’t cause my gut to flare up. I will admit that after I’m in a good groove for a while, I play a mental game with myself and re-enter some of the foods that I know cause problems, like gluten free grains, just to see if I can tolerate them now that my gut is better. So far, without fail my gut gets screwed up and then I get back on the wagon, but we all have to cheat a little now and then and not beat ourselves up.
At least this chart helps me know how to make sure that the acid-alkaline balance is not contributing to other GI symptoms. This diet stuff can be a full-time job… Best of luck and let us know in the comments if there are any other tricks you’ve learned for managing this balance!
About the Author
Katie Cleary is founder of AutoimmuneMom.com. She lives with three autoimmune conditions, her husband, kids and mini labradoodle dog in Austin, Texas.
This blog post was originally published by AutoimmuneMom.com, written by Katie Cleary, and first published on Sep 20, 2014.
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