Your diet, your lifestyle, your stress level, infections, and pollution, all of these factors have a direct effect on your acid-base balance. Your overall health depends on your body’s ability to maintain this acid-base balance, which is constantly being thrown into chaos, especially with the modern diet’s highly-acidic foods.
Baouw’s nutritionist, Benoit Nave, covers 5 main points about acid-base balance.
- What is acid-base balance?
Acid-base balance is the degree of acidity or alkalinity in the body. Determined by the body’s pH levels (blood pH, urine pH), the right acid-base balance is in a relatively narrow range and directly influenced by our lifestyle (diet, sports).
The ideal acid-base balance: a blood pH level above 7 (between 7.32 and 7.42); a urine pH level between 6.5 and 7.2.
- How do you change your diet to achieve a healthy acid-base balance?
For your body to reach a healthy acid-base balance, you should eat mostly alkaline-based foods: primarily fruits and vegetables (with few rare exceptions, like plums), aromatic herbs, dried fruit, spices. This is why Baouw bars are chock full of this good stuff. Avoid eating more acidic foods such as refined sugars, processed foods, and meat (especially red meat). To maintain the right acid-base balance, we made the deliberate choice not to put cereals in our bars. Your Baouw bars are alkaline to provide a “buffer” against the acidification your body goes through during intense physical effort. The acid-base balance is heavily affected by athletic activity.
- What are the risks when your acid-base levels are off balance?
The main risk is demineralization. When you have a chronic acid-base imbalance, when you are constantly in a state of acidosis, the body will draw on its mineral reserves such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium, all neutralizing molecules.
The risk is greater for athletes, because mineral balance is important for muscular contraction. A body in a state of acidosis will more easily cramp up or experience painful muscle contractions.
- How do you mitigate acidosis in addition to reestablishing balance in your diet?
To measure your acid-base balance and determine if your body is in a state of acidosis, you need to conduct a urine test in the morning with a pH strip (easy to use). If your urine is acidic, you need to try to change what you eat. By eating more alkaline foots, you can reestablish balance. If pH levels are between 5.5 and 6, you can buffer the acidity with mineral salts in the form of citric acids, to provide a boost to your body.
- Since sports and athletic activity have an acidifying effect on the body, how do you maintain the right acid-base balance if you are really active?
Be careful, we have to distinguish between different types of sports, especially with regard to intensity. A more intense effort will have an acidifying effect, whereas a more moderate or “gentler” sport will have a positive effect on alkalinity. The very active athlete can buffer this effect by avoiding acidic foods. To hydrate, drinking a bicarbonate-rich mineral water (like Saint-Yorre) works well. Baouw products are made with fruits, vegetables, oilseeds, nuts, plants, and spices that provide the right acid-base balance, so using them in the recovery phase is a good idea for a healthy body, regardless of whether or not you are an athlete.
A little bit of water with lemon juice in the morning, before eating, should set you on the right path for a healthy acid-base balance. That’s right, contrary to what you may think, these healthy fruits are high in alkaline and not acidic.
The best foods for an acid-base balance
- Bananas, carrots, fennel, celery, avocados
- Green vegetables
- Raisins, dried figs
- Vegetable protein (tofu, beans)
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Vegetable oils (sesame, olive, canola, walnut…)
- Water rich in magnesium, calcium, and potassium
Enemies for maintaining a healthy acid-base balance
- Tomatoes, spinach (do not stop eating these vegetables, just balance them out with other, more alkaline foods)
- Processed sweet drinks
- Yogurt and fromage blanc
- Pork cold cuts
- Ketchup and mayonnaise
Friendly daily foods and drinks to maintain the right acid-base balance
- Red wine, more alkaline, instead of beer, which acidifies
- Green tea instead of black tea or coffee
- Aromatic spices to season foods instead of salt and sugar (thyme, coriander, mint, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper…)
- Raisins instead of peanuts
Sports, a key ally for maintaining a healthy acid-base balance
This is especially true if you play sports outdoors, and moderate to low-intensity sports help us to reestablish the body’s acid-base balance. How? Due to the diuretic effect and through breathing. Also, sports help to reduce stress, which plays a major role in throwing off our acid-base balance.
Intense athletic efforts or an extremely active lifestyle can negatively affect your acid-base balance: it is important to compensate by eating foods that will buffer against acidification.
Reestablishing your acid-base balance
- Avoid eating cereals and refined sugars (white bread) as much as possible,
- Do not eat too much salt,
- Eat Baouw bars! For their oilseeds, nuts, quinoa, spices, and all the other ingredients that maintain the right acid-base balance!