In the skin care business, it is not unusual to talk about the pH of a product. The letters pH stand for potential hydrogen, as hydrogen is the element that controls the levels of either alkalinity or acidity in a formulation. Acidic products range from 0 – 6.9 and are often used to exfoliate or peel the skin; alkaline products range from 7.1 – 14 and can be used in cleansers or to neutralize acidity. Very often moisturizers are formulated to be neutral (a pH of 7) to bring the skin back into balance. Too much acid or alkalinity is irritating for the skin, so the pH is always carefully calibrated.

More recently, the principle of pH balancing has been applied to our bodies. This holistic approach believes that the foundation of healthy digestion is built on a simple eating system that maintains an ideal acid/alkaline (pH) balance in the body. Seventy per cent of the immune system is based in the abdomen and 90% of the tryptophan needed to make serotonin for the brain – essential to ensure we feel good – is made here. So in order to live a long and happy life it obviously pays to keep our abdomens happy!

How do we do that? The suggested pH ratio would be a diet of two-thirds alkaline and one-third acid-forming foods. This takes some adjustment. So, to take a step in the right direction, let’s outline a few alkaline foods that we can incorporate in greater quantities and some acidic foods we can eliminate.

Raw, green leafy vegetables like chard, kale and spinach are all excellent alkaline-rich foods. So are avocados, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, coconut, cherries, grapefruit, lemons and watermelon. A healthy way to start and end each day with an alkaline system for example, would be with a cup of warm water flavored with half a lemon.

Things to avoid would be white flour, coffee, red meat, too much alcohol and artificial sugar.

And how does all this reflect in the skin? Well, too much acidity triggers eczema, acne, boils, rosacea and wrinkles – so all of these conditions could be greatly improved by maintaining a more alkaline system. Obviously, exercise and relaxation are essential and drinking the right amount of water. Men need more water than women on a daily basis, but if you eat plenty of the above listed vegetables and two or three fresh fruits a day, you can fill half your required fluid quota easily.

There are several books that discuss this subject at great length. For recommended reading material and a list of nutritionists who recommend pH balancing contact us.