How to Balance pH in the Body for Vitality and Health

There are many different branches of eastern health that have defined the root cause of illness. Even in the west now, we have come to find that the body when in balance is in perfect health, and when out of balance, is in a state of dis-ease.

There is a central theme that has survived thousands of years: when we are in harmony within our bodies and with our environment, we are in tune with the positive, healing life force that is all around us.

In Ayurveda, this is the concept of the three doshas (pitta, vata, and kapha). In traditional Chinese medicine, it is the concept of ying-yang.

I recently came across a medical practitioner (Dr. Theodore A. Baroody) whose book bridged  western medical research with these ancient Eastern systems of medicine. It provided a beautiful symmetry between the known effectiveness of these ancient systems and the western science-accepted indicator used to explain the healing process

The main concept among these health systems is the same: imbalances or disharmony in the mind, body, and spirit leads to illness and disease.

Dr. Baroody saw that the body’s imbalance was directly related to and could be measured and manipulated by the body’s pH levels.

He analyzed how different foods, emotions, and spiritual practices could have different affects on the pH levels in the body. This makes sense because we know that everything we do has a biochemical trace effect. For example, the process of neurotransmitters and chemical reactions in the brain that occur when we express emotions, eat food, or even pray.

When there is acid build up in the tissues, organs, or weaker points in our body (maybe due to previous injuries, areas of physical overuse, or depending on our diet– organs that are being overworked), our body is unable to clear them out. It continues to get weaker in these areas over time if we don’t provide it with the proper diet (alkaline-forming) needed to regain balance. Our bodies normally maintain balance by implementing bicarbonate ions from reserve, which once released into the blood stream can be used to neutralize the body pH levels.  But this reserve of ions is limited and once depleted,  results in illness or even death.  

So how do you know if your body is out of balance?

There are different symptoms associated with different levels of acidity. Many are similar to the common symptoms of imbalance found in traditional Ayurveda or Chines medicine. Read the full list here.

A few examples of beginning symptoms are acne, agitation, muscular pain, cold hands and feet, low energy, food allergies, hyperactivity, panic attacks, menstrual cramping, bloating, heartburn, constipation, headaches, rapid or irregular heartbeat, white coated tongue (like the tongue scraping residue of alma in Ayurveda), weight gain, difficulty getting up in the morning, excess head mucous (stuffiness).

Intermediate symptoms include cold sores, depression, memory loss, loss of concentration, migraines, insomnia, asthma, ear aches, hives, viral infections (cold, flu), bacterial infections (staph, strep), fungal infections (candida albicans, athlete’s foot, vaginal), urinary tract infections. And advanced symptoms include Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer.

We often hear about studies linking acid-like diets or specific acidic foods to these diseases. We also read often in the news and the latest health research how yoga, meditation, and a healthy, balanced diet can help many people to improve or even overcome their disease.

I come from the public health field. I have studied diabetes, obesity, and cancer. I have had a mother go through breast cancer, and a father suffer from a heart attack. I see chronic illness in nearly all of my relatives. I myself have struggled with food allergies, asthma, and constant viral and bacterial attacks growing up. I know that people in society are struggling with their health. They seem to be fighting an uphill battle. There remains controversy over accurate, research-based health recommendations and big industries often don’t want to inform what’s best to the public. 


During my own personal search for perfect health, I have turned to raw food diets, juicing and cleanses,  practiced ayurveda, conscious mindful eating, and practiced strict vegan and gluten free diets. The good news is that these have all worked for me, but I wanted to find the common denominator that I could easily share with friends and family to help them find health. And finally, there is a scientific explanation they can all relate to, that can be found at the deepest level of the ion. And it can explain why and how it is really all connected and answers some common questions like why doesn’t calorie counting work? Or how did I lose 10 pounds just from quitting drinking coffee?

This pH level is the signal, the indicator of a diet out of whack. It is the way that the ions of our food, the chemical reactions in our brain and body (mind and spirit), are all represented at the energetic level in our bodies. 

How do you measure pH level?

It is hard to test pH levels accurately due to the nature in which they are tested.  They usually capture only one point (often inaccurate point) during the day’s fluctuations. And they are unable to test the acid levels in the tissues where the actual toxic build up is located.  

It is easier for people to gauge the pH levels of their lifestyle diet on their own, and practice a pH alkalizing diet 80% of the time. This is the 80-20 rule often found in nature, where if you do something 80%, it is the maximum level of effectiveness. 

So what does a pH balancing diet look like? 

Remember, we are talking both body and mind. This is why it is called a lifestyle diet.

I have included a list of the most alkalizing foods (balance pH), most acid-forming foods, and a few other tips regarding exercise and emotions. If you want to see a full, complete list,  read a copy of Dr. Baroody’s book: Alkalize or Die. But his general rules are that naturally sweet tends to be more alkaline; raw, fresh, or chemical-free dried foods are more alkaline than cooked, frozen or canned; and food with chemicals, processed with preservatives like sulphur, or prepared with sugar are more acidic.

Note: a * indicates the most xx for its category.

  • Alkaline Forming Fruits and Juices: Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas (speckled), berries (except blue), cantaloupe*, carob, citron, currants, dates*, figs*, grapes, grapefruit, guavas, kiwis, kumquats, lemons**, limes*, mangoes*, melons**, nectarines, papaya, passion fruit, pears, persimmons, pineapple, raisins, tangerines, watermelons**. 
  • Alkaline Forming Vegetables and Juices: Asparagus*, carrots, celery, swiss chard, dandelion greens, endive, escarole, kelp*, kudzu root*, leaf lettuce (not iceburg), parsley* (also great for kidney purification), seaweed*, spinach, watercress, wheat grass juice.
  • Acid-Forming Grains: Wheat* (whole and bleached), white rice* (also no substantial food value), oats, basmati rice, brown rice, and buckwheat. There are no substantially helpful alkaline-forming grains. But there are starches like arrowroot flour, granola, essene bread (sprouted crushed rye), and potatoes that are alkaline. All baked or processed flour (any type like rice, wheat, or rye  products like pastries, pastas, breads, cereals, crackers, etc. are acidic.
  • Beans: Generally in the middle, more neutral area, the highest alkaline being fresh peas, green beans, lima beans, and snap beans.
  • Nuts and seeds that are alkaline are almonds, alfalfa*, chia*, sesame, and coconut.
  • Meat are always acid forming. Additional animal products like cheese, eggs, or yogurt are less but still acidic. However, raw goats milk is an exception.  Wherever possible, fresh, organic, and no added sugar.
  • Oils: Buy the freshest, cold-pressed, and untreated oils as processed oil can be rancid and is linked to the hardening of arteries. Most are neutral or alkaline forming.
  • Alkaline Condiments or Spices: Cayenne pepper*, garlic, chives*, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, bay leaves*, cinnamon, coriander, cumin seed, curry powder, fennel seed, ginger, paprika, apple cider vinegar*, himalayan salt, and nutritional yeast.
  • Alkaline supplements: Bee pollen, royal jelly, all chlorophyll products (spirulina, algae, sun chlorella, barley greens, etc.)
  • Sugars: Processed sugars like high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners are extremely acidic. Honey* and brown rice syrup are alkaline.
  • Herbal teas are alkaline forming.
  • Coffee is extremely acidic, especially non-organic, processed coffee with artificial sweeteners and cream.
  • Alcohol, soft drinks, black tea, carbonated drinks, and caffeine drinks or processed fruit juices are all acidic.
  • Also acid forming: Drugs, tobacco products and chemical body products like shampoo, lotion, or makeup. (A good replacement for lotions and conditioner is coconut oil.)

A “Sweeter” Life = a sweeter lifestyle diet:

This research also shows how negative emotions and traumas, stress, over-exercising, and unhealthy, processed or acid-producing foods can all lead to an acidic pH level in the body that supports disease and physical decay.

This is also why it is important to maintain a positive outlook, not take diet too seriously, learn to relax, and be accepting of yourself.  You can also incorporate activities that will help you to maintain balance mentally and spiritually like yoga, homeopathy, massage, herbs, color and music therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and sunshine!

The rest is up to you. Only you will truly know what lifestyle diet will fit your needs best.

Below is a video of Dr. Baroody explaining the relationships between an alkaline (pH Balancing) diet and weight loss:

A special thank you to Dr. Theodore A. Broody for sharing your wisdom and healing methods with us all.

Source: Alkalize or Die: Superior Health Through Proper Alkaline-Acid Balance

Further Reading:


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