Considered a fad by some and a saving grace for others, alkaline water has been getting attention for the last few years. But knowing if it should be a part of your diet can be tricky. And what is alkaline water, anyways?
What is Alkaline?
The terms alkaline and acidic describe how many hydrogen ions a solution has. A solution with more hydrogen ions is acidic while a solution with fewer hydrogen ions is alkaline.
A solution is classified as alkaline or acidic by using the pH scale which ranges from 0-14. A neutral pH is 7 and anything with a pH over 7 as alkaline and anything with a pH below 7 as acidic.
Alkaline & Acid in the Body
The human body is at its best when the blood’s pH is balanced at 7.39, or slightly alkaline (Vasey, p.11). The pH range for a healthy body is small — from 7.36 to 7.42 pH, — as anything outside of this can lead to health problems.
Both alkaline and acidic solutions occur naturally in the human body. Acids are found naturally in the body with one of the most powerful acids being found in the stomach. Stomach acid ranges from 1.5 and 3.5 on the pH scale and is used to break down food to prepare it to enter the bloodstream and fuel our bodies.
Just because the stomach’s strong acid breaks down the food doesn’t mean that food is automatically acidic. Food comes with its own properties and can be broken down into acidic or alkaline solutions.
Acidosis is a condition in which there is too much acid while the opposite can cause alkalosis. Consuming acidic food over time can lead to health problems such as acid reflux.
Many North American diets cater heavily to acidic foods and can experience heartburn. Commonly described as heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD for short, happens when stomach acid makes its way into the esophagus. The stomach’s thick lining can handle the acid but causes a burning sensation in the esophagus.
Additionally, as acid builds up, it can affect other parts of the body such as bones as the acid moves throughout your bloodstream and aggravate and even cause bone diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis.
Whether someone is experiencing some of these disease or want to prevent them, incorporating more alkaline foods and liquids into the diet can help balance an acidic diet.
Our bodies are 70 percent water (Vasey, 122). It’s no secret that drinking water can have significant health benefits. These benefits are compounded by healthy lifestyle changes.
Drinking alkalized water can be especially effective in balancing too much acid in the body as it is directly absorbed into the bloodstream. Additionally, staying hydrated helps the body eliminate acids naturally through sweat (Vasey, 125).
Preventative health has been one of the top methods for staying healthy. Taking steps to take care of your body and help it function at its best can have a tremendous effect on your health today and over time.