BALANCING BODY CHEMISTRY.......Is your pH balanced ?!
" How's your body chemistry ? " .When was the last time someone asked you that ? Probably never...People may ask you how you feel or how is your headache or how is your leg doing, but they never ask about your body's chemistry. Yet that may be the most important factor in your life and health. They do not ask because you cannot tell them, and you cannot tell them because you just do not know. In fact, no one can really know what their body chemistry should be. We see everyone is different and only our body knows what our chemistry should be. Everyone reacts differently to changes in body chemistry. Everything from laughing to sleeping, to digesting food depends upon the production of chemicals and doing those things at your best depends upon having just the right chemicals produced in just the right amounts ( balanced body chemistry)
WHAT IS A BALANCED BODY CHEMISTRY ?
Body chemistry, using definition in http://www.chembalance.com/balancedchemistry.htm , is a term used to describe all the processes within the human body - from cell production to your heartbeat. Hence a balanced body chemistry is a way to describe when a person is in good health. The biochemical processes in our body continually strives for balance ( homeostasis ). The nutrients which we obtained from foods e.g. amino acids (proteins from red meat ) , fats , minerals and vitamins are used for the operation and maintenance of our body systems. However, excessive intake of any nutrient could result in health problems ( imbalances ) so as the imbalance caused by too little of any nutrients.
Our biochemistry is continuously changing throughout each day as we eat, work , study, exercise, and sleep - Our blood sugar rises as we eat, our heart beats faster after a jog, or our blood pressure increase over an argument. These changes create balance or imbalances towards our body chemistry which could either be beneficial or damaging to the body. If you have normal blood pressure, healthy weight and of course, lack of health problems, this shows signs of balanced chemistry. So, in other words, if you have high blood pressure or high blood sugar level, or if you have allergies, then you have imbalances !
Is your pH balanced?
Is your hormone level balanced?
Is your blood sugar balanced?
Why do we crave for sugary foods when under stress?
Why do we gain weight while on diet?
IS YOUR PH BALANCED?
pH or acid/alkaline balance is the most important aspect of a balanced body chemistry. What is pH? Using definition from http://www.greatestherbsonearth.com/articles/what_is_ph.htm....“pH” is the term used to measure alkalinity or acidity of a solution. pH ranged from 1 -14. A pH of 7 is neutral. Higher than 7 means the solution is alkaline and lower than 7 denotes acidity.
Why is pH balance important? Our body works best when saliva and urine have a slightly acid pH level, even though the pH of the blood is maintained at about 7.4 or slightly alkaline. When the body has a more balanced pH, you avoid disease and illness , you experiences less fatigue , feel better , sleep better and maintain proper body weight and metabolism, your digestion will improve and you assimilate vitamins and nutrients better.
Can a person end up too acidic?. Over-acidity may be caused by the acid residue of the foods which we have eaten. This is true even of the “sour-tasting” fruits like lemons and grapefruits. Protein foods like meat, dairy, soy and eggs leave an acid residue when digested, and starchy foods like cereals, breads and a few starchy vegetables also leave an acid residue. If the body is too acidic, it has to 'borrow' minerals from vital organs and bones to buffer the acid and safely remove it from the body. Over a period of time, it will weaken the entire body system and causes illnesses. Nutrients from food cannot be absorbed properly once the body's pH balance is turned off. This affected important minerals, which are important for many body functions including enzyme production and cellular metabolism. Taking in supplements may not be able to solve the deficiency problems if the pH balance is not right.
Fruits and vegetables will do more for you than balance your pH. From a research, it was found that certain chemicals found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables helps to protect you against cancer and other diseases. It will also keep our skin younger looking and best of all, fruits and vegetables tend to be lower in calories than grains and meats which is a real bonus for those of us who are trying to lose weight or keep from gaining.
Can a person end up too alkaline? Limiting diets to only fruit and vegetables may lead to over alkalinity. It occurs when the body is so toxic it is no longer able to eliminate the acids and they start to build up in the system. Over alkalinity may take longer time to correct than over acidity.
Some examples of acid foods listed in http://user.icx.net/~drherb/chemistry.html are most nuts except those mentioned below, overcooked fruits and veggies , dairy products (cheese, eggs, milk, etc) , white meat (fish), red meat (beef), spicy foods (garlic, hot peppers, onions) Some raw fruits and vegetables are acid in stomach and slightly alkaline producing in the tissues (apricots, strawberries, raisins, pears, bananas, papayas). Whereas, alkaline ash foods includes raw fruits except those mentioned above , some dried fruits, some frozen fruits, most vegetables , raw almonds , raw cashews, oats , soybeans , grapefruit, pineapple, oranges, and lemon. These form acid in the stomach but form alkaline in the tissues.
A change in diet is necessary to correct the pH value. Supplements may be needed if a change in diet is insufficient to correct the pH. Calcium, magnesium and trace minerals, as well as enzyme supplements help the body digest foods. According to http://www.drlark.com/nc/healthy_bones_tricks.asp, sodium bicarbonate also helps to prevent our body from using minerals from our bones to balance its pH and it also helps with digestion and the ability to withstand respiratory illnesses.
IS YOUR HORMONE LEVEL BALANCED ?
What is the function of hormones? They function as messengers of the body which is responsible in cellular communication. Hormones signal the body to grow, to reproduce and to carry out all the functions responsible for metabolism of energy as well as cellular replacement and repair. There are two types of hormones: anabolic hormones which build up cellular structures and catabolic hormones which break down cellular structures and convert them into energy. Hormones are secreted by various glands in our bodies in the amounts required for optimum health. The pancreas, which will be described below, secrete hormone insulin (an example of anabolic hormone) and the thyroid gland produces the thyroid hormones (catabolic hormone) responsible for regulating metabolic rate.
Our body continuously strives to keep these hormones in balance. If there is too much of one type of anabolic hormone, the body will produce fewer of the other anabolic hormones to compensate. Too many stress hormones will affect influence the overall balance of the other hormones. However production of certain hormone like insulin is one of the problems which we face today. This is because our diets nowadays mostly composed of carbohydrates (sugary foods). Eating fewer carbohydrates and eliminating refined carbohydrates like sugar and white flour products altogether helps to restore the hormonal balance. A high protein and high fat diet is optimal for balancing hormones, thus preventing heart disease and help maintaining ideal weight.
IS YOUR BLOOD SUGAR BALANCED ?
Our brains need a constant supply of energy in the form of glucose (a simple form of sugar) or the amino acid. The body is 'programmed' to keep the level of glucose constant in the blood. Too much sugar will result in a coma but low sugar level will cause in a condition called insulin shock.
How do the body balances blood sugar? Pancreas provide a good surge of a type of hormone called insulin, which quickly brings the blood sugar down. In fact, pancreas often brings the blood sugar down too low which then starts the hunger cycle all over again. If the person eats protein in response to the hunger, the amino acid is available to nourish the brain in place of glucose. But, if the person eats sugary or starchy foods, too much sugar will then be released into the bloodstream. In response to this, the hormone insulin is the released by pancreas to convert excess glucose into glycogen for storage. Each surge of insulin causes more sugar to be stored as glycogen, which is then converted into body fat. As a result of low blood sugar, it triggers more cravings for sugar, since the body knows that without blood sugar the brain will die. This is why we can get addicted to sugary foods.
Diabetes is a condition in which the blood sugar remains high due to little production of insulin. This is caused either by the body lacking the raw material to produce insulin or the pancreas can no longer work properly. Low blood sugar cycle could result in this type of condition. Pancreas become overworked from having to provide continual surges of insulin which then led to its malfunction. Diet which is high in sugar and starches and low in protein can cause in a deficient of amino acid which is an important raw material for insulin production.
WHY DO WE "BINGE" ON CHOCOLATE WHEN UNDER STRESS?
Our brains produce a number of potent chemicals called neurotransmitters. Four main neurotransmitters or groups of neurotransmitters virtually dictate all our moods: dopamine and nor epinephrine are energizers, Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) is a sedative, Endorphins are pain killers and Serotonin stabilizes moods, focuses the mind and promotes sleep. Neurotransmitters are made from amino acids. Amino acids are the end result of protein digestion and if we lack sufficient enzymes for digesting our protein , we will not have the necessary amino acids to make the neurotransmitters necessary for optimal brain function. Deficiency in any one of the above transmitters may caused us to be depressed, anxious, or in pain. In short, we don't feel good and may turn to sweets, alcohol, cigarettes or even drugs to make us feel better.
People who make sufficient neurotransmitters under normal circumstances may become deficient under stress because stress causes neurotransmitters to be used up very quickly. Hence, to feel better, stressors often turn to sweets or cigarettes. This is why many people "binge" on sugary foods like chocolate when their neurotransmitters are depleted through stressful events. This addiction to sweets often causes weight gain. This is why many people may suddenly gain weight after going through a stressful period in their lives.
WHY DO WE GAIN WEIGHT WHILE ON DIET?
Once a person goes on restricted calorie diets, the body interpret this as starvation. This diet cause a lot of stress to the body and as a result, adrenal glands begin to release adrenal hormone, which causes the glycogen that was stored during the cycles of insulin release to be converted back to glucose. After a period of time, the adrenal glands will become overworked, especially if the body isn't taking in the necessary nutrients (protein and B vitamins) to replenish it and keep it functioning optimally. The person on the diet may then feels worse and choose to quit the diet and revert to previous addictive eating patterns and this situation causes the person to gain back the weight he/she had lost and sometimes, gain more weight than before.
The lack of food during dieting also puts the body into an "economy mode" state. Dieting encourages the body to become more efficient at conserving food, which can lead to further weight gain down the road. Metabolic processes begin to slow down and all available food is hoarded by the storage systems of the body. Restrictive diets that deprive the body of necessary calories or nutrients can be so stressful that they actually cause weight problems where none previously existed. This is one of the reasons why we, instead of losing, gain more weight while on diet.
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Science so far has not been able to guess what is average for many chemicals which are vital to our life an health , let alone what is normal for any particular person. So if asked what is your normal blood sugar, or hormone level or your body pH at this very moment.. .you can't know nor can you know what it should be... but, we can monitor our diets to ensure a more balanced body chemistry.
By : Siti Mawarni Hj Taha (03B5361) & Hjh Nurul Atiqah Hj Zulkifli (03B4616)