What’s all this about alkalizing foods and acid/base balance?

I wonder about this kind of stuff, too.  Recently, I’ve had some digestive difficulty and I went off gluten.  Being off gluten has been great, and I’ve had odd and unexpected benefits from it (such as I don’t get tartar on my teeth anymore and I have experienced a significant reduction in car-sickness, which has been the bane of my traveling existence for decades).  However, it hasn’t solved the digestive difficulties as much as I would have liked, though it has helped.  I started keeping a food diary and I’m narrowing in on what some of the issues are, but something that is standing out to me is the balance between acid-forming and alkaline forming foods.  I found these sites that have extensive lists of foods in each category and more information about the acid/alkaline diet problem.

I have seen plenty of information online about alkalizing water, so it made me test my own water at home.  I got a very basic pH kit, which I’m not sure is great, and it looks like my water is 5.5, which is really acidic (for water).  I’ve run a few preliminary tests on myself, drinking water that I’ve made more alkaline on my own with a tiny pinch of baking soda.  I don’t have a whole lot of data yet, but it feels like drinking the alkaline water an hour or two after a meal helps, though I have a long way to go before I even choose the controls that I want to test against, let alone do all the trials that will give me some useful information.

Alkalizing water filters pop up quite a bit when you research this kind of thing online and I am unsure of my stance on them.  First, I’ll need to do a bit more research on the effect of trying to achieve balance through diet, and only if it truly proves helpful can I begin to evaluate tools (if they are even necessary).  My initial thought is that the acid/base balance is very important in terms of digestion and health, that it can be manipulated within healthy limits with diet (including water), and that I need a hell of a lot better pH kit.  I’ll let you know what I find when I have data from some sort of controlled trial on myself.

UPDATE: 4/3/11 – I just found out about doctors who specialize in functional medicine.  If you think you have a problem with acid/alkaline balance, read up on this branch of medicine.


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