Getting to Grips with the Acid/Alkaline Balance - Apple Cider Vinegar for Health and Beauty: Recipes for Weight Loss, Clear Skin, Superior Health, and Much More—the Natural Way (2015)

Apple Cider Vinegar for Health and Beauty: Recipes for Weight Loss, Clear Skin, Superior Health, and Much More—the Natural Way (2015)

Getting to Grips with the Acid/Alkaline Balance

Whether a substance is an acid or an alkaline base is one of its most basic properties. In most reactions and processes that occur in animals and plants, acids and alkalines are formed to balance each other out.

Many physicians and nutrition researchers promote theories related in some way to the acid/alkaline balance in our bodies. The foremost of these being Elson Hass along with James Balch and his wife Phyllis Balch. However, although they all agree that the acid/alkaline balance is very important to maintaining good health, they do not agree on whether the human body’s natural/best state is to be slightly acid or slightly alkaline. Doctor DeForest Clinton (D.C.) Jarvis, who was practicing medicine more than a hundred years ago, was particularly interested in the acid/alkaline balance in the human body and how apple cider vinegar was able to help achieve such a balance.

The basic premise of the acid/alkaline theory states that when foods are ingested and metabolized in our bodies they create either an acid or an alkaline ash. The pH measurement or the level of acidity or alkalinity of the ash does not necessarily correspond to whether the food itself is considered highly acidic or not. An example of this is lemons; they are acidic when we eat them but the ash they leave behind after being digested is alkaline. Diets high in refined carbohydrates, wheat, fats, and meat are considered to increase the body’s acidity. In this state the human body is more susceptible to illness and many chronic ailments such as frequent colds, infections, congestion, and migraines. Alkaline-producing foods include fruits and vegetables, but since most people eating a western diet tend to eat too few of these, the problem of over-acidity is much more prevalent than over-alkalinity.

Acids are not all bad though; they are essential for digestion. Hydrochloric acid combines with enzymes in our stomachs to break down protein in the foods we eat. As we age, we tend towards producing less hydrochloric acid than we need to digest proteins completely. It is thought that getting indigestion might be as much a problem of having too little stomach acid as having too much. This is why it is suggested that you take a little apple cider vinegar before you eat. The apple cider vinegar promotes acidity in the stomach and aids digestion, enabling you to obtain all the nutrition available from the food you eat. In addition to this, apple cider vinegar contains tartaric acid and malic acid. These acids deter the growth of disease-promoting bacteria in the digestive tract and also food-borne pathogens, thus promoting good long-term health.

Fruits and vegetables are good sources of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium. They are important because they bind with acids and neutralize them. They are therefore an important part of maintaining the acid/alkaline balance of the body at a health-promoting level. Apple cider vinegar can help in maintaining the acid/alkaline level by supplementing our supply of these alkalizing minerals and as has already been noted, it is especially high in potassium.

A healthy acid/alkaline balance is not only important to our digestive system. Vinegar has been used for a very long time in douches as an effective remedy for vaginitis and yeast infections. Apple cider vinegar has also been used as a remedy for many skin problems. This is because the pH of apple cider vinegar is very close to the pH of human skin, in that it tends to be slightly acidic.

Acids also have strong preservative abilities. This is because most bacteria and molds cannot survive in a highly acidic environment. This is why vinegar and other naturally occurring acids have been used through the ages to preserve food. The most widespread examples of this are pickling and canning. Apple cider vinegar is particularly popular for pickling as it adds a delicious fruity flavor to relishes, pickles, and other preserves.