Friday, January 27, 2012

Acidic vs. alkaline

Often people that are battling cancer have heard or read that maintaining a healthy pH balance by eating a diet that promotes a slightly alkaline pH within the body MIGHT be good protection against cancer. Of course, there is always going to be opposing arguments that say that there is no evidence that a slightly alkaline diet is better. I guess the jury is still out on that one.

Here are what the proponents of eating a slightly more alkaline diet say...(Keep in mind that you should draw your own conclusions from this argument.) Studies have shown that in the test tube, cancer cells and tumors thrive and grow in a more acidic environment. When the level of acid is lowered, tumors grow much more slowly. If this behavior occurs in the test tube, it stands to reason that cancer cells in the body would also be detrimentally affected by an overall alkaline environment. It would also make sense that if the body’s pH is acidic, then the growth of cancer cells and tumors would be encouraged. By eating mostly foods that make the body’s pH more alkaline, there would be LESS of a chance for cancer cells to develop and grow. So, by adjusting the diet, it is actually possible to create a less hospitable environment for cancer cells, thus improving a person’s chances of experiencing good health.

Proponents of a more alkaline diet also believe that cancer cells do not grow well in the presence of oxygen. When oxygen levels are low, cancer cells have more of an opportunity to thrive and multiple. When body tissues have a high alkaline level, they are able to hold much more oxygen as compared to tissues with a high acid level. A high alkaline level within the body also makes it easier for cells to discard waste and toxins. As a result, tissues and cells within the body are more susceptible to damage and unhealthy conditions if the body’s pH is too acidic. By maintaining a slightly alkaline pH, you’ll be helping to protect your body’s cells in addition to discouraging the development and growth of cancerous cells.

Now here is what the opposition says about the alkaline/acidic balance and cancer...(from the source, Caring 4 Cancer: "It is true that cancer cells can create acid. This can make the small area in and around cancer cells more acidic. But this does not make the entire body more acidic. Even though cancer cells can create acid, this does not change the acid balance in the body as a whole. Furthermore, the body controls acid balance very tightly. Tiny changes in acidity can occur, but the body cannot become significantly more acidic without serious side effects and illness.

In other words, extra acid in the body does not cause cancer. It is just the opposite: cancer cells create extra acid. But remember that even though the small area around cancer cells can be acidic, this does not make the body more acidic as a whole."

HOWEVER, this same article also states that: "It certainly can’t hurt to focus on keeping the acid (or pH) balance in our body healthy. And fortunately, the exact same foods that fight cancer in other ways also happen to make the body less acidic.

The same foods that make the body less acidic also protect cells from damage, encourage damaged cells to die (rather than to keep multiplying), provide vital nutrients that control normal cell growth, and enhance cell-to-cell communication. In a nutshell, these same foods protect the body against many steps in the cancer process."

What are these cancer-fighting foods? Well, mostly plant-based foods--vegetables, fruits, legumes, etc. In general, these foods make the body less acidic and we already know that these foods provide more nutrients through vitamins and minerals than the other food groups. So, doesn't it make sense to adopt a mostly plant-based diet? Cutting down on dairy, animal proteins (meat, chicken, fish, etc), and also processed foods, refined sugar, alcohol, and additives/artificial sweetners (which all rank high on the acidic end of the scale) and making room for more fruits and vegetables seem to be a fail safe, common sense nutritional practice that will aide in not only fighting cancer, but prevent other health ailments and diseases.

At the end of the day, for me what makes sense is to eat as God intended us to eat. He gave us everything we need--plants and other "natural" food sources to help us thrive, prevent disease and be healthy. The foods that man has made--all the crap that fills the aisles of our grocery stores, the fast food chains, etc.--isn't how God intended us to eat. Does it mean we don't ever indulge? I don't believe so. I don't think that it will hurt us to OCCASIONALLY have a brownie sundae or a piece of cheesecake. Balance is good, moderation even more important, and eating primarily the foods that nourish our bodies, make us feel better, and keep us healthy is what the health authorities have been saying for years. It's not rocket science!

For a complete list on acidic and alkaline foods, visit this website:

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