Interesting facts and tips concerning the endogenous regulatory system
The New Year has begun – a time for reflection and reorientation. Who doesn’t want to regain harmony with their inner flow and find themselves? Our soul strives for this inner harmony, which gives us peace and strength and helps us to endure life’s many challenges. We are also constantly striving for balance and harmony at the physical level. Not only at the turn of the year but also every second of every day. The acid-base balance is a prime example of this.
The acid-base balance: the dance of the ions
Our body is a true miracle into which nature has put a lot of effort. Millions of years of evolution have created a highly complex organism with perfectly coordinated metabolic processes. One of these sophisticated control systems is the acid-base balance, which continuously regulates ions in the body.
The acid-base balance is essential for the smooth operation of the body’s metabolic functions. We often hear about the ideal pH value (7.35 to 7.45), which is especially important in the blood. The blood pH value is thus in the slightly basic range. Because both acidic and basic substances are produced through nutrition and metabolism, the body’s various buffer systems are constantly neutralising excess acids and bases in order to maintain the ideal acid-base balance. The human body is also able to metabolise acids and excrete them via the lungs and kidneys.
Acidic – not a matter of taste
There are many lists of “acidic” and “basic” foods. However, not all of these can be trusted. Some are based on old, outdated knowledge. For example, the pH value of a particular food does not say anything about how it is ultimately metabolised in the body (i.e. whether it produces acidic or basic degradation products). The acid-base balance also has nothing to do with our sense of taste because sour-tasting foods are not necessarily acid-forming. For example, citrus fruits are considered base formers, while white bread, which is slightly sweet, is an acid former.
If you are looking to find your way in the acid-base jungle, you can use the PRAL (potential renal acid load) to better understand the food tables. The PRAL provide information about the renal acid excretion after consuming 100g of the a food.*** The higher the PRAL value, the higher the acid load. For example, meat, fish, cheese, and eggs have high positive values and thus shift the acid-base balance into the acidic range. Conversely, negative values indicate base formers. The “basic” foods primarily include various fruits and vegetables that supply the body with minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
The holiday season – a feat of strength
The buffer systems of our acid-base balance are quite challenged during the holidays. Not only meat and carbohydrates but also alcohol place high demands on our sophisticated regulation system. Both renal water and mineral excretion are increased. With the start of the New Year, many people hope to atone for their indulgences and get their nutrition back in order.
After the holidays, it’s all about the “base”
After the holidays, base-forming and antioxidant-rich foods such as vegetables, fruit, herbs, and algae are good for the body. Special dietary supplements (e.g. base powders) can provide the body with an extra portion of minerals. The trace element zinc is particular important in this context because it contributes to a normal acid-base metabolism. For a good start to the New Year, animal protein, sugar, white flour, high-fat foods, and ready-made products should also be reduced.
Further tips for a good balance in the New Year
• Start the day liberated. Oil pulling has a long tradition in Ayurvedic teaching. In addition to supporting oral hygiene, it is primarily intended to stimulate the cleansing of the body. Try it out and awaken a new feeling in your mouth.
• It’s important to drink the right fluids. Tap water supplies valuable minerals and facilitates the excretion of metabolic waste products via the kidneys. Unsweetened herbal teas or diluted vegetable juices can also be used.
• Just relax. Anger, time pressure, and stress not only burden the soul but also place a greater demand on the acid-base balance. Activities such as yoga, mediation, and various breathing and relaxation exercises (e.g. progressive muscle relaxation, autogenous training) as well as laughter not only have a relaxing effect on the soul but also reduce physical “acid stress”.
Get a jump start in the New Year. The entire body benefits from moderate exercise such as Nordic walking or ice skating. Exercise activates the metabolism and acid excretion (via the sweat glands in the skin) and reduces stress. Deep breathing also promotes the exhalation of carbon dioxide.