When Acids Turn Good

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Good chilly morning to you!  This is it, the weekend that turns the weather from warm to brrrr over night.  It's time to consider how you can use this cooler weather to make you healthier don't you think?  That's a topic for next week but for now, let's dive into the pool of acid our bodies deal with day to day and find out how this can be useful.

The acid word gets splashed around frequently in health related banter usually in terms of pain, disease and metabolic interruptions - and rightly so.  We know that in an 'acidic body' cancer cells are more likely to thrive and that when muscles aren't being cleared of lactic acid, pain is more likely to present and that if the joints are exposed to inflammatory acids, arthritic conditions are likely - but what about the acids that could help situations like these?  Let's check those out shall we?

1.  Hydrochloric acid - described as a highly pungent clear fluid of hydrogen chloride and water, this digestive acid is produced by in the stomach in what is meant to be incredibly powerful doses to break poorly chewed foods actually helps to alter the pH in other fluids of the body - it alters the pH of the fluid in the stomach to 1-2 - meaning it is very acidic in there to denature proteins.  Once secreted into your stomach from high up, this gastric acid protects against the formation of bacteria and infections If you are producing poor levels of hydrochloric acid in your stomach, you are also likely to have poor enzyme production further down in the small intestine and triggered from the pancreas giving rise to suboptimal breakdown and absorption of nutrients.  Some of these nutrients are other acids.

2.  Amino acids - these little guys are what is released after the whole hydrochloric acid show is done.  In fact, amino acids are not able to be realised in your digestive system from your food UNTIL they have been denatured by hydrochloric acid first which allows them to be susceptible to enzyme activity.  Amino acids are the 'Lego' bricks to your protein molecule.  Keeping with the 'Lego' theme if you imagine a protein molecule is the entire star wars ship you've built, the amino acids are the pieces.  Some amino acids absolutely need to be present in order for a protein molecule to be built, some aren't necessary like those pesky little headlights on the cars that get lost in the carpet. There are 9 essential amino acids that your body needs to build protein for recovery and immune/hormone functions.  Vegetarians and vegans must combine foods to grab all 9 in a meal but meat eaters can devour their amino acids without needing another protein rich food to complete the build.

3.  Essential fatty acids - sounds essential don't they?  Not only does the name give that away but your body would too if you didn't have them in your diet. EFA's are needed in your diet because your body does not produce them at all.  Therefore they are considered as essential to the diet and of the EFA's the two absolutely essential ones are alpha linolenic acid (Omega 3) and linoleic acid (Omega 6).  In early agricultural days, we used to get EFA's in our meats from the clean diets our animals ate, these days - we are not able to secure this important anti inflammatory and protective acid as easily due to what I consider to be adverse farming outcomes.  The balance of EFA's in your diet should be between Omega 3, 6 and 9's - with the importance being emphasised on the 3's, less on the 6's and minimally on the 9's.  We get omega 3's from chia seeds, fatty fish, walnuts amongst a few other foods and Omega 6's in vegetable oils such as sunflower, leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, nuts and avocado oils.  The main role EFA's play in the body is to manage inflammation, metabolic processes such as cholesterol management and to regulate mood. Like I said earlier - your body let's you know when you need a hit of these babies.

So the next time someone says 'I'm feeling acidic' - high five them with a bunch of nuts!  Either that or bring out a steak and marinate it - either way - acids can be a good thing - feeling acidic isn't.

Www.superkidsfood.com.au contains fermented organic vegetable and seed sources of amino acids and essential fatty acids for your kids - makes it easy to get hold of them for nutritional balancing.



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