Published On: Thu, Jan 28th, 2016

Maintaining a balanced body

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Pharm. (Sir) Atueyi

Pharm. (Sir) Atueyi

Balance is an essential part of life. Acrobats are experts on balancing and can walk on a rope many feet high. Your car will have smooth movement on the road when the wheels are balanced. And unless you balance a mathematical or chemical equation, you cannot arrive at the solution.

Your life needs a balance also. To live successfully, you need a balance of your physical, spiritual, social, psychological, emotional, intellectual, economical, recreational aspects of life. For instance, one who does not maintain a good balance between work and rest can easily wreck his or her God-given body. Proverbs 23:4 warns, Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.

The body needs a balance in a lot of things to maintain health. Too much of even something good is bad. That is why a balanced diet is always emphasised. The body needs carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils, vitamins and minerals, Deficiency of any of results in ill health.

One area of balance that is vital but often neglected is acidic/alkaline balance, which is essential for good health. The human body is alkaline (around pH 7.4). God has designed the body to be maintained around this pH for proper functioning. Making the body more acidic (pH below 7.4) or more alkaline (pH above 7.4) throws it out of balance with undesirable consequences.

Unfortunately, many people do this out of ignorance but cannot escape the consequences. If someone offers you diluted sulphuric acid as a herbal medicine and you drink it, your tongue, mouth, throat etc must be burnt – regardless of the fact that you took it in ignorance.

The commonest way we disrupt the acidic/alkaline balance of the body is through food and drinks. The body is designed to consume predominantly alkaline foods to maintain alkaline environment for survival and good health. If the pH drops below 7.4 as a result of consuming too much of acidic foods, the body desperately attempts to neutralise the acidity. It achieves this by drawing calcium (an alkalising mineral) from the bones. This loss of calcium from the bones leads to low bone density or osteoporosis (a risk for bone fracture). Bone structure is kept strong in alkaline medium.

Acidity of the body creates an environment where bacteria, yeast, fungus, and mould thrive. That means that people who are prone to various types of infections must check the body pH. One unpleasant thing about infections is that pathogenic microorganisms produce wastes or mycotoxins which pollute the body and make it more acidic thereby worsening the environment.

If the pH of the blood drops below 6.9 the body is likely to go into coma and eventually die. Allowing the body to become too acidic (acidosis) or too alkaline (alkalosis) is unhealthy.

The question now is how do we maintain acidic/alkaline balance? As I said before, moderation is key. A lot of the foods and drinks we take are acidic. We sometimes need to take these things but we must be aware of their implications in the body.

Most grains, dairy products, meats, seeds, legumes and nuts tend to have an acid ash. Beef, chicken, eggs, white rice, wheat, bread, pineapple, fruit juice, soft drinks (sodas), alcohol, wine, spirits, coffee etc. all have this characteristic.

People who consume a lot of soft drinks and fruit juice, in particular, expose themselves not only to excess sugar in the body but also high acidity. Excess sugar in the blood leads to insulin resistance which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. In addition, plaque bacteria use the sugar to produce acids that attack the enamel, the hard surface of the tooth.

Acidic minerals also destroy the teeth in the same way. This is why children, in particular, should be discouraged from drinking a lot of soft drinks and consuming sweets. Consumers of alcohol (beer, wine and spirits) must equally be aware that they are not only loading the body with alcohol but also acidifying it. Drinking alcohol in large amounts for a long time affects brain function, causes liver inflammations, heart and pancreas damage and also certain cancers.

On the other hand, the alkaline foods (which include most fruits and vegetables) should be included in your diet. These include cucumber, cabbage, garlic, spinach, tomato, banana, avocado, broccoli, ginger, carrot, green beans, lettuce, soybeans, lemon, coconut etc.

Coconut water is naturally high in alkaline – forming minerals notably potassium, calcium and magnesium and support the body’s proper pH balance. The pH acidic level in the body turns alkaline when you drink coconut water. It is therefore recommended for people suffering from acidity and heartburn.

Maintaining a healthy balance in our diets is the secret of enjoying good health. Everything we eat has good and bad effects. You do not have to abstain from certain food except on medical grounds like allergic reactions. But you should not indulge in any one. If you enjoy red wine because of its high concentration of resveratrol, which protects from both heart disease and cancer, remember that wine may be alcoholic or non-alcoholic. When you eat even good things, avoid gluttony or overeating. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

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Maintaining a balanced body