Recently, someone asked what’s the buzz with alkalinity and is it really worth drinking alkaline water. Since the answer is not super simple, we decided to write a blog about it.
In short we know drinking alkaline water is good for our health, however it is far more important to have a lifestyle that encourages alkalinity rather than relying on alkaline water alone. So lets break down this health trend.
To explain why people are drinking alkaline water we first need to discuss the body’s pH level. The pH scale runs from 0 to 14. A substance closer to 0 would be very acidic, and a substance closer to 14 would be alkaline. For example we know that lemon juice is acidic with a pH of 2, and bleach is an alkaline substance with a pH of 12. Right in the middle of this scale would be a neutral substance like normal drinking water with a pH of 7.
The human body likes to remain at a pH between 7.35 and 7.45, which is slightly alkaline. However, the Standard American Diet (aka SAD) makes it difficult to stay alkaline because it is often high in acid forming foods (or foods that produce acidic substances through digestion). These foods in excess decrease the body’s pH level and create an acidic internal environment. Eating too much of the following can cause induced low-grade metabolic acidosis:
- Refined grains
- Sugary & processed foods
Now there’s no need to go cold turkey on acidic forming foods, but many researchers say eating too many acid forming foods are a factor of chronic inflammation in the body; which is the root of many diseases.
Some problems associated with an acidic pH level of the body include:
- Gastric reflux
- Heart disease
- Kidney stones
- Risk of type 2 diabetes
- Risk of hypertension
- Reduced bone mineral density
- Loss of muscle mass
What’s the solution?
To keep your body’s pH in check you have to provide it with a balance between acid forming foods and alkalizing foods (foods that release alkaline substances during digestion).
Did you know most regular bottled water on the market does not contain a lot of minerals and are actually on the acidic side of the pH scale ? Or that the World Health Organization warns people against drinking water with low mineral content regularly? That’s why so many are turning to alkaline water which sits at a pH of 7.5-9+.
Natural alkaline water is sourced from water that flows down mountain streams where it collects minerals such as calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium. These minerals are known to be alkaline substances, and are also called electrolytes. Even though more research is needed on the benefits of drinking alkaline water we do know a few health benefits. One study found that alkaline water may be beneficial for those with high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Another study found that alkaline water can help those with acid reflux.
Keep in mind that diet isn’t the only source of low grade acidosis, exercise actually causes the body to make an acid called lactic acid. Your muscles create this substance during intense physical activity which adds to the feeling of fatigue. Replacing your electrolytes (aka minerals) through water, or sports drinks is good for rehydration, blood pressure and overall exercise performance. No wonder alkaline water is all the rage with players in the NBA, some athletes are getting cases of this water delivered to their home!
Here is a list of some of the best alkaline waters on the market:
- Fiji Water
- Crystal geyser
It’s important to note that most of these come in plastic water bottles; therefore we recommend investing in a glass water bottle that filters and alkalizes the water for you, such as this one. Or better yet purchase an alkaline water filter for your house.
As previously discussed, drinking alkaline water alone will not have a huge impact on your health. We must shift away from a Standard American Diet and follow an alkaline diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Here is a list of the best alkaline forming foods:
- Fruit & vegetables
- Beans & lentils
- Nuts & legumes
- Herbs & spices
- Green tea
- Coconut water
- Cold pressed green juices
- Chlorophyll and Spirulina
If you want to monitor your alkalinity at home, you can with these test strips.
The big take away is diseases and inflammation thrive in acidic environments; therefore we want to focus on promoting alkalinity through a healthy diet and lifestyle.