Are acidic foods making you sick?

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Picture of lemons

For almost two years, I have suffered from leg cramps. It’s mainly at night, but I also get cramps during the day, mostly in the arches of my feet. This way of life is not fun and I’m tired of going to bed wondering how bad the cramps will be and when (not if) they will get me up.

My naturopath is puzzled because we can’t seem to find the source of the problem. I’ve seen two doctors for the issue and have been told to drink more water, eat bananas (for potassium) and stretch. They both said it “just happens” as we age. I’ve been told athletes drink pickle juice to help relieve cramps and I should have a glass of pickle juice by my bed to drink in the middle of the night. I tried that one night and just can’t stomach it.

The only time I have found some relief is when I did a Paleo diet last December for 30 days. I started to think the problem was gone for good. Unfortunately I must have put things back in my diet that caused the issue to return.

A few months ago I suspected caffeine to be the issue. I don’t drink coffee, but drank black tea several times a day. Once I changed to herbal tea, the intensity of cramps subsided and I could make it through the night without having to get up and walk around. I just had to be careful not to stretch my legs and tighten my calves.

Now the leg cramps are back fairly consistent (although not as extreme), and I AM TIRED OF IT!

Cause of leg cramps

It’s difficult to know exactly what causes leg cramps. Some factors could be:

  • Mineral deficiency such as potassium or magnesium
  • Stress-caused tension in the body
  • Dehydration
  • Too much exercise
  • Not enough exercise
  • Too much sitting

Since I experienced relief when I changed my diet 8 months ago, I have decided it’s time to do some serious research on the affects of diet on this issue.

Acidic vs Alkaline – when we’re out of balance

Think back to your science classes in school. When the teacher talked about the pH balance of chemicals, it was in relation to the hydrogen that was present. The concentration would either be acidic or basic. In the human body, we are familiar with the terminology of “acidic” vs “alkaline”.

If the body is fed well with nutrient dense food and has little stress, a simple test would show an optimal pH range between 6.75 and 7.25, if using a scale of 9.0. Anything less than 6.75 and the body is acidic, which means it’s not eliminating acid as it should.

The body has natural areas of acidity, such as in the stomach to digest food. My leg cramps are not caused specifically by lactic acid. The pain is not muscle soreness, but tight cramps that lock up the muscle in my calves, lower legs and feet. This is also not uric acid, which causes inflammation and swelling, usually in the feet.

The body tries to keep acidity in check. To combat the acid vs alkaline imbalance, the body will begin to over use minerals such as potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium to strive to bring the body back into balance. These minerals are extracted mainly from the muscles, but can also make teeth sensitive, which I also experience. I’m also experiencing muscle issues in my right shoulder.

How to test the body’s ph Balance

Chart to show pH balance results.pH test strips are an easy way to test at home. Strips can be used to take a saliva or urine test. These are the test strips that I use. Once you have the test completed, compare the colors on the strip to the color chart on the box to help determine the results.  There are 90 strips in the box so you can take periodic samples.

My test results this week were 6.0 on a scale of 4.5 to 9.0 so my body is more acidic than it should be. Now that I have a base number, I can begin to adjust my diet to see if this will help reduce and eventually alleviate the muscle cramps.

I will provide periodic updates on YouTube the process and the results.

Leave and comment below and let me know your experience with muscle cramps and diet.

Disclaimer: Information found on this website or links to other websites are for informational purposes only and not intended for medical advice.  You know your body and your physical, emotional and mental situation. Consult your physician before making any changes.

Kristy KlenkKristy Klenk has reached the 55 (and counting) birthday and finds this stage of life and aging an interesting adventure. For over 20 years she has been on a journey of living a holistic lifestyle and continues to research its positive effects on aging.

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