What Is Alkalinity? The Wellness Buzzword Explained

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The more alkaline you are, the healthier you feel, say experts. So what are the foods, behaviors, and practices that make us that way? Our panel explains.

Alkalinity and health

Alkalinity is a hot topic within the wellness community right now. But what exactly is alkalinity? And why is it so important for your health?

Alkalinity—the opposite of acidity—refers to the pH level of any solution. The human body naturally has a level of around 7.4 on the pH scale. And the more alkaline you are, the healthier you feel. “When you are in an alkaline state, you're so healthy that normal cells will thrive and disease will not,” says Jeannette Graf, M.D., a New York dermatologist and author of Stop Aging, Start Living.

Unfortunately, the typical American diet (processed foods, triple-shot espressos, post-work cocktails) and daily stressors (long work hours to fighting with your significant other) can easily rocket us into a super acidic state—and poor health follows. “Acid in the body can start presenting as little health symptoms,” says Denise Mari, founder of Organic Avenue. “If these acid symptoms persist, they can become extremely degenerative," she says. Acidity, like its evil twin inflammation, is a more widely considered a precursor to many illnesses and diseases.

Alkalinity panel: Dr. Graf, Kris Carr, Denise Mari
Our alkalinity panel, from left: Dr. Graf, Kris Carr, and Denise Mari

The good news is, you can regulate your pH and rebalance your system by cutting down on acid-producing foods (think: caffeine, alcohol, soda, meat, dairy, salt, and sugar) and renewing your vows to vegetables, leafy green ones in particular.

Graf suggests eating a ratio of three alkalizing foods to every acidic one, as well as drinking plenty of water each day. Mari also recommends periodic cleanses, such as the raw-food- and juice-based programs she offers at Organic Avenue.

But it's not just diet that affects your pH, says Kris Carr, author of Crazy Sexy Diet. "Lack of exercise, anger, drugs, cigs, and stress can all make you acidic."

So try to chill out, and find time to meditate, slip away to yoga during the day, or just take a short walk outside on your lunch break, say experts. Your re-alkalized body will thank you. —Nina Pearlman

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