Teaching people about food has helped grow my knowledge. Take lemon juice, for example. I tell people to drink it first thing in the morning within 30 minutes of squeezing the lemon because it alkalizes their body, and cancer and does not grow in an alkaline body. My students then ask why. My answer…three doctors (one western and two oriental) and a raw food chef have told me so, that’s why. That is not the best answer, especially for a skeptical mind. In the next few posts I will address some of the questions that have been raised.
What is the Body’s pH?
pH is the measure of acidity or basicity, based on the amount of hydrogen (H) in the body. Water (H2O) has a neutral pH of 7. Lower pH is acidic and higher pH is alkaline. Adult women are approximately 55 percent water and adult men are approximately 60 percent water (although estimates vary). The average pH of the human body ranges between 7.35 to 7.45, or slightly alkaline, according to the Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
How is Lemon Juice Alkaline?
The website www.newtreatments.org explains how lemon juice is alkaline and not acidic as most people think. I have read several similar explanations, but this one is the most straightforward.
After about 30 minutes of exposure to air (oxygen), lemon juice becomes cationic. The confusion comes when one thinks in terms of acid and alkaline. Lemon juice would always be thought of as acid, but, while fresh, is anionic (which corresponds to alkaline). If you had an acid urine pH and you used Dr. Reams' lemon/water drink as he suggested, your pH would become more alkaline. This seems illogical when you think of lemon juice as acidic. But it's not, its anionic. In addition to fresh lemon juice, the only other thing that is purely anionic is pure calcium.
Who is Dr. Reams? According to http://www.newtreatments.org/reams, “Dr Carey Reams was both a physician and an agronomist. His medical degree, completed in England, included an undergraduate degree in chemistry. Upon returning to the US to practice medicine, Reams chose to retain his independence by avoiding membership of the AMA (American Medical Association).” Dr. Reams created the Biological Theory of Ionization. I had not heard of Dr. Reams until now, and I will be reading further, but his work seems to be fascinating. If you want to read more, here is another site that has much of information: http://healingtools.tripod.com/linksi.html. Just scroll down to his name in the list.
What Mainstream Western Medicine Says
The following is taken from an article by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and seems to be in contrast to Dr. Reams work:
Lowering the body’s pH has nothing to do with preventing cancer.
…there are no human studies supporting alkaline diets for the prevention or treatment of cancer. Test-tube studies, however, have shown that some cancer cells grow faster in an acidic solution. They've also shown that some chemotherapy drugs become more effective if the area around a tumor cell is altered to be more alkaline. However, we can't assume that what happens in a test-tube also happens in the human body. In fact, the opposite effect could occur and have dangerous consequences.
A person cannot significantly change the body’s pH through food.
The body's pH levels may change slightly as a result of eating some foods, but will remain in the tightly held range of 7.35 - 7.45. For instance, some fruits and vegetables as well as dairy products may raise the pH of your urine, whereas meat products and cranberries may lower the pH of your urine. However, even if you eat large quantities of these foods, your blood pH will barely change and only for a short time.
body automatically maintains the proper pH, regardless of what you put into it.
When your pH shifts outside this range and becomes too acidic or too alkaline, your body automatically corrects itself to bring things back to normal by:
- Increasing or decreasing respiration - When you breathe more rapidly, you blow out more carbon dioxide. This raises your pH so it becomes more alkaline and less acidic. Conversely, slowing down your breathing causes you to release less carbon dioxide, which lowers your pH making it less alkaline.
- "Mopping up" excess hydrogen ions - Neutralizing substances in the blood such as bicarbonate and hemoglobin, mop up excess hydrogen ions and prevent pH from becoming too acidic.
- Eliminating the excess - Your kidneys excrete excess acidic substances into urine to prevent pH from becoming too low. Conversely, if your pH starts to become too high or alkaline, the body uses similar tools in reverse to bring down the pH.
The bottom line: The body fights hard to keep your pH balanced. It's nearly impossible to achieve and maintain a high-alkaline pH for a prolonged period of time.
How Well do Standard Western Cancer Treatments Prevent or Cure Cancer?
Unfortunately, we almost all know someone who is suffering or has died from cancer. Teresa Holler, author of Holler for Your Health www.holler4health.com, cites very compelling information regarding cancer rates. Her data review shows that in 1901, 1 in 8,000 people had cancer. Today 1 in 2 people have it. By 2020 it is projected that 1 in 1.5 people will be diagnosed with cancer. Research shows that the overwhelming cause in this incredible rise in cancer is environmental factors, with less than 30% of cancer being genetic.
Many of these people have undergone terribly difficult radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Their suffering is immense. If they survive the treatments, the success rate of eliminating cancer varies depending on a number of factors, including the type of cancer. Several personal observations of friends and family have shown me that when a cancer is “cured”, another cancer eventually replaces it, the suffering starts over, and death from cancer is the result. In the early 1990s, a good friend of mine (who is a former critical care nurse), told me that multiple cancers are rare. Her husband was “cured” of cancer and a few years later developed a different cancer and ultimately died from it. This scenario may have been rare at one time, but no longer. Another scenario is that a person has several cancers at one time.
Keep in mind that western medicine has been practiced for about 300 years, and 25 percent of American deaths are caused by cancer. The American Cancer Society says that one-third of these deaths are linked to poor diet.
What Oriental Medicine Says
Oriental medicine, practiced for approximately 5,000 years, tells us differently. Why should we listen? Because some Asian people who are not heavily influenced by western culture have longer, healthier, more vibrant lives than Americans do, partly the result of good, nourishing food. The news program 60 Minutes and other news sources reported that Okinawans, for example, are some of the healthiest, most long-lived people in the world.
I reviewed a website discussing the Okinawa Centenarian Study http://www.okicent.org/study.html, which is fascinating. The study’s researchers are investigating the roles of genetics and environmental factors in the long, healthy lives of Okinawans. Here is part of the findings concerning environmental factors and cancer:
Compared to North Americans, they have 80% less breast cancer and prostate cancer, and less than half the ovarian and colon cancers. Some of the most important factors that may protect against those cancers include low caloric intake, high vegetables/fruits consumption, higher intake of good fats (omega-3, mono-unsaturated fat), high fiber diet, high flavonoid intake, low body fat level, and high level of physical activity.
Note that Okinawans eat a diet that is heavy on vegetable and fruit consumption. Veggies and fruit have anti-oxidants, which help prevent cellular damage, and cellular damage is where cancer begins. The vast majority of vegetables and fruits are alkaline, not acidic. Many of them contain cancer-fighting properties. There are many more fascinating findings in the study. Because this blog post focuses on food, I am not discussing other parts of the study, but I highly recommend reading it.
There are numerous tables on the internet that list alkaline and acidic foods. To see what these foods are, you can go to this website: http://www.essense-of-life.com/moreinfo/foodcharts.htm. This website is provides an example of a food chart and is not recommended by me for any other reason. This website: http://www.alkalizeforhealth.net/ contains great information on cancer and diet.
What Does This Mean to Me?
I will continue to read and learn more. I promote moderation in my food consumption and lifestyle. I eat meats (acidic), fruit and vegetables (alkaline), fermented dairy (alkaline) and rice (acidic). I promote health through eating healthy, nutrient dense food. Because my food is nutrient dense, my food consumption is much diminished and I crave almost nothing, except for the occasional raw food. Making dinner is becoming hard because we have no strong cravings. Another benefit is that eating nutrient dense food eliminates all of the uncertainty and anxiety around finding the “right diet.” Talk about freedom!
I can choose to listen to western medicine and ignore the alkaline versus acidic debate, or I can explore it because living proof of success exists: through the Okinawans, through the recent testimonials of self-cure by mothers who are part of the Holistic Moms Network, and through many other testimonials that you will find if you look. The bottom line - lemon a day can at best help you alkalize and prepare your body for the acidic foods that will enter it later in the day and at worst do nothing. For me it is an easy choice.