The pH Diet and Your FertilityMichelle Schoffro Cook
All you need to know about pH to start reaping the health benefits of a more balanced body chemistry, is that it is a measure of acidity (think vinegar) or alkalinity (think baking soda) from 0 to 14. Zero is the most intense level of acidity possible and 14 is the highest level of alkalinity possible, with neutral being in the middle.
Your body maintains much tighter reins than that range and will work diligently to balance your blood at a just slightly alkaline rate of 7.36. However, our highly acid-forming diet (meat, dairy products, sugar and other sweets, wheat and white-flour baked goods and pastas, coffee, tea, trans fats, and food additives found in most packaged and prepared foods) and our high stress lifestyles can take their toll on our body’s pH balancing mechanisms, leading to acidity.
To be clear, it’s not the acidity of the food itself that matters, but rather the effect of the food on your body chemistry. Food may test acid or alkaline in a laboratory setting, but that has no direct impact on whether it will have an acidifying or alkalizing effect on your body when metabolized. Lemons are a great example. They test highly acidic, but once inside your body they will help to alkalize it.
Microorganisms like yeast, fungi, bacteria, viruses, and others thrive in an acidic environment. Some of these nasty critters interfere with enzyme and coenzyme production in the body, including ones that are essential to hormone health, as well as many other health concerns. If a particular coenzyme is depleted, hormones that are critical to fertility and reproduction (in both men and women) can become imbalanced. Additionally, many of the microorganisms that begin to thrive in an acidic body can feed on hormones, causing deficiencies.
Excess acidity or the microorganisms that thrive in that environment can be linked to reproductive concerns such as infertility, vaginal yeast or fungal overgrowth, vaginal infections, menstrual difficulties, urinary tract infections, prostatitis, and impotence.
A study of the relative acidity or alkalinity of the cervical fluid has shown a positive correlation of pH with the ability of sperm to penetrate it. The vagina is a naturally acidic environment most of the time, and relies on alkaline cervical fluid to protect sperm as it travels through. Diet has not been specifically researched as a factor here, but if the rest of the body chemistry’s pH is increased by an alkalizing diet, it’s a fair bet that reproductive chemistry would follow suit.
While the combination of acidity and microorganisms are not the cause of all reproductive issues, our bodies require a certain level of pH balance for health—both reproductive and health in general. If you are concerned about your fertility, you may benefit from kicking acid-enhancers out of your diet, adding more alkalizing foods, and monitoring your pH levels on a regular basis—all of which are much simpler than you might think. “Kicking acid,” as I like to call it, is essential for your health.
“Kick Acid” Tips for Great Health
Bittersweet pH Balancing
Start every morning with a large glass of water with the juice of half a lemon. Wait 20 minutes to half an hour before eating to give the lemon water a chance to start working. Have your morning shower, get dressed and ready for the day, and then have breakfast.
Water, Water Everywhere
Drink at least 10 more cups of water throughout the day, preferably on an empty stomach. Add more lemon juice, powerfully alkalizing “green” powders (like barley grass or wheat grass powders), or alkalizing liquid drops found in most health food stores to each glass of water.
Take a few deep breaths. Oxygen will not only energize your brain but it will quickly help to balance the chemistry of your cells—and healthier cells mean a healthier body.
Walk the Walk
Take a trip off of the sofa or away from your desk for a brisk walk. Exercise helps to quickly oxygenate your body. More oxygen in your blood means it is better equipped to nourish every organ and tissue, including reproductive organs.
Lose the Caffeine
Instead of reaching for a caffeine jolt from coffee or cola, drink some raspberry leaf tea. It is naturally caffeine-free and is one of Mother Nature’s gentle hormone balancers. Since there’s controversy over the role of caffeine consumption and pregnancy (and beyond that, fertility), staying away from the java may be a good idea anyway.
Take Mom’s Advice
OK, who wants to admit that mom was right when she commanded, “Eat your vegetables!” But she was. Make vegetables the focal point of your lunch and dinner meals. Enjoy some delicious mashed sweet potatoes or rich dairy-free guacamole. I share the easiest and fastest recipe for yummy guac in my book, The Ultimate pH Solution: Balance Your Body Chemistry to Prevent Disease and Lose Weight, and even my chocolate mousse recipe features the highly healthy avocado (which technically is a fruit, not a vegetable—but is still highly alkalizing).
Take an Almond Break
Snack on raw, unsalted almonds every few hours. Not only are they loaded with calcium, magnesium, protein and other important nutrients, their high fiber and protein content help to stabilize blood sugar levels, which are critical to alkalizing your body and hormone health.
Lean Green Alkalizing Machines
Leafy greens are powerful alkalizers. Eat at least one large salad per day. Avoid store-bought dressings full of rancid oils, preservatives, additives, and sugar. Try my blueberry dressing from The Ultimate pH Solution—it’s fast and delicious: Add 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen), 1/3 cup of raw apple cider vinegar, a pinch of Celtic sea salt, and 6 drops of stevia or a 1/2 teaspoon of unpasteurized honey to a wide-mouth jar. Blend with a hand blender or cover with the lid and shake the container well. Pour over a plate of greens or grated veggies. Store the remaining dressing in the fridge.
Enjoy, and be healthy!