Acidosis: A Widespread Problem
Today the vast majority of the populace in Western (industrialized) nations suffers from problems caused by acidification, because both modern lifestyle and diet promote acidification of the body’s internal environment.
In general, the current standard diet is primarily composed of acidic or acidifying elements (proteins, cereals, sugars). Alkaline foods such as vegetables are eaten in much smaller quantities; their alkaline content is insufficient to neutralize surplus acids. Furthermore, the consumption of stimulants like tobacco, coffee, tea and alcohol, every one of which has an extremely acidifying effect on the body, has grown to enormous proportions.
Stress, nervous tension, noise, shortage of time, and other pressures are facts of life today and contribute to increasing the body’s acidification through the physiological disturbances they create.
Physical exercise, which can play an important role in maintaining acid-alkaline balance, is more often than not either insufficient or excessive. In both cases, acidification of the bodies internal environment is the result.
Of all the factors causing acidification, the most important is unquestionably food. The majority of acidosis sufferers can be treated simply by significantly reducing their consumption of acids and increasing their consumption of alkaline foods.
When the bodies internal environment becomes acidified, the body can fall ill in three different ways.
The first is connected to the activity of enzymes. Enzymes are the “worker drones” behind all the biochemical transformations that take place in the body and on which the proper functioning of the organs depend. Enzymes can perform their task correctly only in an environment with a clearly defined PH; otherwise their activity can be disrupted or even cease completely.
The second way the body becomes ill is due to the harsh, corrosive nature of acids present in excess amounts with the tissues. Before they are neutralized by alkaline substances, the acids irritate the organ with which they come in contact. Inflammation, sometimes quite painful, results, as well as lesions or hardening of the tissues. This primarily affects the organs charged with the elimination of the strong acids, such as the skin and kidneys. Many cases of eczema, hives, itching and red patches of skin are due to the irritation caused by excessively acidic sweat.
The third cause of suffering from excess acid is loss of minerals, since the body gives up alkaline minerals to neutralize acids. This demineralization can be quite significant and can affect any organ because alkaline minerals are stored in all the body’s tissues. The best-known consequences of demineralization are problems affecting the skeleton and teeth. Bones lose their calcium, and along with it their resistance and flexibility, to the point where they break far too easily, lose their density, wear away at the intervertebral disks and so forth. Teeth can also become more brittle because of mineral loss. They can chip, become over sensitive to hot and cold foods, or become more susceptible to cavities.
The brittleness caused by demineralization also weakens hair, which loses it shine and resilience and starts falling out in greater quantity.
Fingernails split and break under the slightest impact; skin dries and cracks or wrinkles; the gums become deformed and oversensitive and bleed easily.
The Fruit Solution
Every fruit is a complete entity in and of itself and should whenever possible be eaten in its entirety, skin seeds and all. Of course, apricot kernels and cherry stones are too large to be swallowed easily and too hard to be digested. But apple, orange and grape seeds, among others, contain elements that are of great benefit to the body and are useful to its metabolism of the fruit. Furthermore, the skin of fruits contains numerous minerals and enzymes that facilitate neutralization of the acid contained in the fruit pulp. It is thus a mistake to peel apples and pears and to get rid of the skins of figs, grapes, prunes and so forth. Only orange and citrus fruit peel, melon rind, and pomegranate skin should be thrown away, even if they have not been treated with pesticides and other chemicals.
Fresh fruits can be eaten as they are or shredded or chopped in a fresh fruit salad. Fresh fruits are naturally sweeter, so adding sugar should be avoided, because sugar is an acidifying agent. It is also best not to eat fruits along with cereal grains, for example in granola or muesli, because the combination of fresh fruit and cereal flakes is hard to digest and encourages fermentation, which is a great producer of acid toxins.
Cooking fruit does not reduce its acidity. When cooking compotes and pies, it is important to use ripe apples and not green apples that have fallen prematurely.
Shredding or slicing fruit makes it more alkaline, because the contact of the pulp with the air allows some more of its acid content to oxidize.
The only alkalizing fruit, the banana, is not easily digested by everyone. This is usually because it has been picked before it has become truly ripe. A ripe banana has very sweet, soft flesh. Its sugar content can be increased by mashing it into a puree with a fork or a spoon and allowing it to sit out in the air for ten or twelve minutes before eating it.
Dried fruits have lost the greater portion of their water content, and thus their juice, after having been set out to dry under the sun or in an oven. Dates are an exception; they are naturally low in water, and the way they appear in stores ready for consumption is exactly how they look when ripening on the tree.
Dried fruit is extremely concentrated, and some people have trouble digesting it. Soaking the fruit in water for twelve to twenty-four hours before eating it makes it more easily digestible. It can be eaten with or without its soaking liquid.
Choosing Your Fruits
Acidic Fruits: orange, tangerine, clementine, mandarin orange, grapefruit, strawberry, peach, apple, kiwi
Semi-Acidic Fruits: apricot, cherry, pear, plum, raspberry, blueberry, nectarine, grape, mango, papaya
Neutral Fruits: banana, date, fig, prune, dried fruit
Melon Family: cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew melon
Acid Removing: pineapple, lemon
When mixing fruits, you should try and only combine fruits from the acid and semi-acid group together and the semi-acid and the neutral fruits together. This way you will avoid creating extra acid in your body. The melon family should always be eaten alone and not mixed with other fruits.
Title: The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health
Author: Christopher Vasey, N.D