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The pH Factor and Aging: achieving alkalinity can affect overall health


Aging is inevitable, and it begins at birth. In our 30s and 40s, however, the aging process tends to accelerate, and the effects of time become more visible. Younger people have a larger reserve of resources within their bodies to enable them to rebound when they detour from good health habits. Unfortunately, age diminishes that reserve and as we get older, we need to make self-care a priority. In order to age gracefully, it is important to strive for a body that is internally alkaline. The body functions optimally with an internal pH of 7.4--slightly alkaline. After 40, the internal natural buffering pH capacity decreases, and the body becomes progressively acidic. This metabolic acidosis leads to enhanced skin aging as well as problems with internal organs due to acid build up and inflammation. In order to neutralize these acids, the body uses the tissues' mineral sources. When tissue sources are depleted, the body then takes minerals from the bones, which leads to osteoporosis.

A healthy lifestyle can help us attain optimal alkalinity. I remind my patients that graceful aging starts with diet. In pursuit of alkalinity, it is important to stay away from acid-producing foods, such as sugar, carbonated soft drinks, and refined, processed foods. Coffee and alcohol should be consumed in moderation. A high-fiber diet rich in colorful and alkalinizing foods, such as those found in a Mediterranean diet, can help restore alkalinity to the body and improve the skin's function. Also rich in omega fatty acids, the Mediterranean diet includes foods such as halibut, salmon, olive oil, flax seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, and winter squash. Alkalinizing grains include oats, wild rice, and quinoa. Examples of alkalinizing fruits are apples, pears, berries, cantaloupe, and grapes. Water is also a key component, and alkalinizing green juices (which are mostly water) can help to correct internal pH.

In combination with a smart skin care regimen, avoiding cigarette smoke and other toxins, and stress reduction, an alkaline diet may help to slow the signs of aging. Stay tuned for a list of other foods classified as alkaline or acidic.

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