Fermented Food

lacto-fermentation-861551_640Most of us haven’t thought about PH levels (acid/alkaline levels) since high school science labs when we inserted little PH strips into a variety of liquids and waited to see what color they would turn.

There is a basic understanding of things like lemon and grapefruit juice as acids, but rarely do we think about the acid and alkaline nature of the foods we eat and the subsequent reaction they cause within the body. However, the PH level of your body is actually a crucially important indicator of balance or homeostasis within your body.

The normal or ideal PH level of your bodily fluids is 7.4 (7 being neutral, below being acidic and above being alkaline). Dr. Gabriel Cousens explains in his book Conscious Eating, at this level “all the enzymes and electrolytes of the different digestive systems, organ systems, and glandular systems function optimally. When the enzymes and electrolytes are optimally functioning, the cells of all the glands and organs also begin to work at maximum function. Consequently, the body begins to reorganize back to a stable, healthy homeostasis.”

There are, unfortunately, many ways our body PH can be sent out of balance, especially with our modern diet and lifestyle the way it is. Some of the most prominent  imbalancing factors include:

  • Poor digestion – when foods, and fats especially, are not completely digested by the body they tend to release acid by products that build up in the body and make its PH too acidic.
  • Poor oxygen intake – as we continually rush around through busy days and stressful lifestyles, deep breaths are not always a priority. However, regular deep breaths help remove excess acid from the system through carbon dioxide. Good ventilation, regular exercise in the outdoors and deep breathing practices can help return balance.
  • Excess protein and fat intake – these foods are much harder for the body to digest and release acid by products during digestion and when not completely digested.
  • Excess sugar and processed foods – All processed foods create acidic reactions in the body as your digestive system is not primed to digest these un-natural foodstuffs.
  • Not enough of alkalizing foods – Green vegetables, beans, lentils, herbs, nuts and seeds, will help keep the acidity of the blood at the optimal level but most modern diets don’t include nearly enough of these alkalizing foods.
  • Highly acidifying foods – Corn and corn-based products, excess wheat, processed dairy, coffee, soda, fried foods and alternative sweeteners are all culprits of causing excess acid in the body.

Bringing your body PH back into balance can have significant benefits for your overall health and is possible through a conscious lifestyle and diet. Naturally fermented foods are especially beneficial in balancing body PH for many reasons, including:

  • Raw foods are alkalizing and help balance the often overly-acidic issues that modern diet and lifestyle create.
  • Cabbage leaves are high in vitamin K, which is known to have alkalizing properties.
  • The naturally occurring digestive enzymes in fermented foods help improve the digestive process and decrease the amount of acid that is produced as a by-product of improper digestion.
  • Probiotics that are produced through the natural fermentation process help cleanse and detoxify the body of its excesses, including excess acid accumulated through diet and lifestyle.

Acid buildup in the body, which is much more common than a too-alkaline system because of today’s diet and lifestyle habits, can result in cardiovascular damage, bone loss, weight gain, immune deficiency, free radical damage, hormone imbalance, accelerated aging, joint pain, muscle aches, decreased energy and slow digestion and metabolism.

Working toward a balanced PH will help you achieve more balanced health and, when consumed on a regular basis, fermented foods will help you achieve that balance while also boosting your immune system, digestive health, skin and tissue health and overall vitality.

Fermented foods are foods that have been preserved through fermentation, the process of using bacteria to create lactic acid in food products. Fermentation is key to the pickling process as well as to culturing milk to make dairy products, such as yogurt. Fermentation is also used to create alcoholic beverages. Lowering the pH levels of fermented foods is important, because it ensures that they will be safe to consume. A low pH corresponds to a high degree of acidity, which creates an antimicrobial effect. If fermented foods are not sufficiently acidic, they can be unsafe to consume.