ESL Viewpoint

How Our Modern Diets Contribute to Fatigue, Disease, and Chronic Inflammation

Normal body function naturally produces acids. A healthy diet also produces alkaline which can neutralize those acids. However, abnormal cell metabolism is another matter; it produces too much acid which is a major reason our bodies are too acidic. Normal body cells produce energy through a process called oxygen respiration where fats and sugars react with oxygen. However, our average poor diets, buildup of toxins, and lack of exercise all combine to impair our bodies’ ability to produce energy through oxygen respiration. When this happens, our bodies resort to a less efficient way to produce energy called fermentation. Fermentation produces a lot of lactic acids and free radicals. Free radicals must be neutralized with antioxidants but due to a lack of these nutrients in our diets, these radicals cause inflammation. Lactic acid can be neutralized with alkaline minerals, but our diets lack alkalinizing minerals. So our bodies accumulate lactic acid and we become too acidic.

The shift from normal oxygen respiration to fermentation is a major factor in accelerated aging in people and is to blame for all kinds of diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. In fact, the primary cause of cancer is the loss of 60% or more of a cell’s oxygen respiration capacity. In essence, this loss of oxygen respiration feeds the cancer it created.

Aggravating this bad situation is that we consume too many acidic foods, such as sugar, carbonated drinks, salt, grains, dairy, and meat. In fact, Americans eat too much animal protein. When animal protein is metabolized, it creates strong acids. In fact, many modern American foods have an acidic effect on the body. As a result, most of us suffer from chronic, low-grade acidosis (See illustration above). Also, chronic stress creates acidity, and we live stressful lives. Allergic reactions create acidity, and most of us have allergies and food sensitivities, whether we know it or not. Chronic dehydration, chronic infections, most prescription drugs, and most environmental toxins create acidity.

To keep healthy the body needs to maintain a balance between acidity and alkalinity — a homeostasis. The body must neutralize excess acids, and usually, healthy bodies have alkaline reserves for that purpose. However, when fermentation and acid-forming diets lessen those reserves, the body starts alkalinizing calcium and magnesium from our bones. This can lead to osteoporosis. Acidosis creates free radicals which also damages our cell’s DNA, breaking down cell walls and causing cells not to produce energy the body needs. Even a small amount of acidity can cause fatigue and a feeling that is generally subpar. Pain is a symptom of acidity. When you feel pain your body is trying to tell you something.

It is fairly simple to reverse acidity in our diets. The chart illustrates which foods are acidic and which foods are alkaline. To even up alkaline with acid include more leafy green vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, kale, broccoli, as well as fruits. The wider the variety the better. Tap water is neutral but may have small levels of toxins; mineral water may be better since it has a slightly higher pH level than tap water and is available from many water distributors. Reduce your intake of food that is heavily processed since these foods are always acidic. Use recipes that call for basic ingredients; try to incorporate more fresh food and less canned or boxed food. Organic and locally-grown food, especially vegetables and fruit, tend to have far fewer toxins and many more nutrients due to the freshness of the food and higher quality farming practices.

Derived from © The Great American Health Hoax, by Raymond Francis. All rights reserved.

Vocabulary

alkaline: capable of neutralizing an acid; a substance having a base pH of greater than 7.

neutralize: to make something neutral, harmless.

metabolism: the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life.

fermentation: the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeast, or other micro-organisms.

lactic acid : an organic acid formed in sour milk and produced in the muscle tissues during strenuous exercise.

free radicals: an atom or molecule that bears an unpaired electron and is extremely reactive, capable of engaging in rapid chain reactions that destabilize other molecules and generate many more free radicals: in the body, deactivated by antioxidants and certain enzyme activities.

inflammation: a localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection.

acidosis: an excessively acid condition of the body fluids or tissues.

homeostasis: the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.

subpar: below average.

Icebreakers

Ruth Bader Ginsberg says she eats kale and trains to stay healthy. What do you do to stay healthy?