Last Updated: December 21, 2017, 3:52 pm

Fit n’ Pretty: pH levels secret to healthier living


If you’re like me, you vaguely remember learning about pH levels in middle school while you passed notes and daydreamed about marrying the cute guy sitting behind you.

But maybe we should have paid better attention to our science teachers. Maintaining a healthy pH level within our bodies can maximize overall health, assist in repelling disease, and help maintain a healthy weight.

So let’s recap this whole pH thing. Power of hydrogen, otherwise called pH, is a measurement of the hydrogen ion concentration. The pH scale measures acidity and alkaline levels ranging from zero to 14, with zero to six being acidic, seven being neutral, and eight to 14 being alkaline. The optimal level for our bodies is near or slightly above level seven.

If your body is too acidic, it can be more susceptible to infections, mental illness and allergies. Cancer can’t survive in alkaline environments but thrives in acidic ones. According to, hair, skin and nails can also be weakened, and the body can become unable to absorb minerals, according to

Finding your body’s pH level is the first step. I bought pH test strips at Natural Grocers, located at 624 W. Telegraph St. You can test your urine or saliva. I chose to test my saliva because urine weirds me out.

After dipping my test strip into a spoonful of my saliva, I compared the color of my test strip to the color decoder on the back of the test strip package. My pH levels were at 6.8. That number was OK, but it’s not ideal. So I committed to consuming a low-acid, high-alkaline diet for the next three days to see if I could achieve a pH level at a seven or above. 

A plethora of foods and beverages many Americans consume are highly acidic. Red meats, shell fish, most animal-derived dairy products, coffee, alcohol, soda and fast food are all acidic and directly cause acidic levels to rise. High-alkaline foods can help offset the acidity of these products and are made up of most raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, pH water and whey protein. You can find a detailed list of acidic and alkaline foods at

I’ll give it to you straight: I’m slightly addicted to coffee, and I’m a big red meat fan. However, I decided to cut those highly acidic things out for three days and replace them with pH water, mineral water with a pH of nine, loads of fresh vegetables and fruits, raw nuts, and whey protein smoothies.

The biggest factor for success when trying a high-alkaline and low-acid diet is preparation. I made sure I had raw nuts and fruits on hand at all times. Eating mostly fruits and vegetables leaves you feeling hungry more often, so it’s best to always have a good snack within arm’s reach. I also made sure I was eating things I looked forward to eating, like strawberry-banana-whey protein smoothies, grilled zucchini, and colorful, fresh salads.

I felt vibrant and energetic during the three days, and I found it fun to experiment with fruits and vegetables I wouldn’t have consumed before. I tried new things like baked butternut squash and sprout and nut salads. Eating a low-acid, high-alkaline diet tends to result in eating more nutritious foods that support a healthy weight.

At the end of the three days, I tested my saliva again and found that my pH level had risen to 7.2, which is an ideal number.

According to, the body is able to utilize and absorb minerals and nutrients only when its pH is at a healthy level.

The low-acid, high-alkaline diet helped me be more aware of my body and how the food I put into it directly affects the way my body functions. I will continue to be conscious of the acidic foods I’m consuming and incorporate more raw, alkaline-rich foods into my day-to-day life. It’s an empowering thing to discover you can change your health by methodically selecting foods to consume.