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That familiar yellow box in your refrigerator, the one that keeps things smelling fresh, could also be the secret to living a longer, healthier life.
No, we’re not suggesting you grab your box of baking soda and a spoon, or that you add more baked goods to your diet.
But the main component of that white powder contributes to one of your body’s most important health mechanisms. In fact, according to recent research, having enough of this substance could prolong your life…
The acid-base balance
If you think back to high school chemistry, you may remember learning about acids and bases, and about pH levels.
In order to stay in good health, your body must constantly manage the delicate balance that keeps pH levels where they should be. The trouble is that some of our vital functions throw that balance off.
When we breathe in oxygen, the byproduct is carbon dioxide, which is slightly acidic. And digestion produces acids, including sulfuric acid.
If your blood does not carry adequate levels of bicarbonate to balance out and neutralize the corrosive action of these acids, various organs can become unhealthy or stop working.
Your kidneys are particularly susceptible since they process urine, which is highly acidic.
Low bicarbonate levels are life-threatening
Dr. Kalani Raphael, associate professor and nephrology and hypertension specialist at the University of Utah, found that having balanced bicarbonate levels in your body could reduce your chances of early death.
Dr. Raphael looked at data from the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study conducted by the National Institute on Aging. The study followed almost 2300 participants ages 70 to 79 for about ten years.
His findings: low levels of bicarbonate in the blood were linked to a higher risk of premature death – 25 percent higher!
Greater risk of kidney disease, other health problems
Dr. Raphael points out that about 15 percent of people with kidney disease have low bicarbonate levels, which makes them more likely to reach end-stage renal disease, where dialysis or a kidney transplant are the only way to stay alive.
Even if your kidneys are not involved, you are still at greater risk of inflammation, osteoporosis and decreased muscle mass if your bicarbonate levels are low.
How to keep your bicarbonate levels where they should be
As we age, our kidneys must work harder to get rid of acid, so it’s even more important to maintain normal levels of bicarbonate.
But you don’t have to reach for the box of baking soda. The best way to balance your pH levels is with a healthy daily portion of fruits and vegetables.
Citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, and rhubarb, for example, are rich in citric acid, which your liver converts to bicarbonate.
Another benefit: the potassium found in many vegetables and fruits controls the amount of acid your kidneys produce to begin with.
Bananas, apples, raisins, spinach, broccoli, and lemons will boost both your potassium and bicarbonate levels.
Take the first steps to improve your diet
The modern diet does not encourage a healthy bicarbonate or pH level. Sugars, salts, and carbohydrates dominate, while fruits and vegetables are lacking. To start making a shift toward a healthier eating style, you’ll do well to follow these tips on 6 ways to alkalize for a disease-fighting body.
Editor’s note: Did you know that when you take your body from acid to alkaline you can boost your energy, lose weight, soothe digestion, avoid illness and achieve wellness? Click here to discover The Alkaline Secret to Ultimate Vitality and revive your life today!
- Baking Soda May Reduce Premature Death Risk — The Nutrition Watchdog
- Baking-Soda Ingredient May Lower Risk of Premature Death — Live Science
- Why Low Bicarbonate Levels Might Signal A Risk For Premature Death — University of Utah Health
- Potassium Bicarbonate Supplementation Lowers Bone Turnover and Calcium Excretion in Older Men and Women: A Randomized Dose-Finding Trial — Journal of Bone and Mineral Research