In recent years, many people have become interested in the alkaline diet. In response to this interest, a number of products have become available that are intended to create an alkaline body chemistry. Among other choices, you can find alkaline bottled water, alkaline water machines, and alkaline nutritional supplements, as well as books that tell you about alkalizing foods that you should eat more of, and acidifying foods that you should avoid.
But before you buy any of these products, you might want to know exactly what factors create an acid or alkaline body chemistry. As it turns out, there are at least 9 factors that can have an effect on your internal pH.
1. Genetics. Genes have a profound effect on many aspects of physical and mental health. Although little research has been conducted in this area, it seems likely that genetic factors help some people to eliminate acid more efficiently than others.
2. Kidney function. Because the kidneys are the body's primary organ for eliminating excess acid, impaired kidney function can cause your body to become too acidic. Some people have poor kidney function from birth, while in others it occurs due to disease or as the result of aging.
3. Illness. The connection between pH and health cuts both ways: Overacidity can make you more prone to illness, but illness also makes your body more acidic. If you are overcoming an illness, it is especially important to eat an alkalizing diet.
4. Smoking. Tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide, which is acid-forming.
5. Air pollution. Like cigarette smoke, polluted urban air contains carbon monoxide, which makes your body more acidic.
6. Altitude. Believe it or not, living at a high altitude makes your body more alkaline. But there's no need to head for the hills. Regardless of where you live, you can shift your body's acid-alkaline balance by changing a few easier-to-control factors.
7. Prescription and over-the-counter medications. Most medications have an acidifying effect on the body, including antibiotics, antihistamines, antiseptics, psychotropic drugs, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
8. Exercise. Exercise helps make your body more alkaline, because you expel carbon dioxide with every breath.
9. Foods and beverages. This is the most important factor, and it's something that you have complete control over, no matter where in the world you live. Coffee, meat, and processed foods make your body more acidic. Most fruits and vegetables make it more alkaline. Virtually anything you eat or drink has some effect on your internal pH.