pH (potential (for) hydrogen) is the measure of acidity and alkalinity. pH 7 is neutral, above this figure is an alkaline measure, below it, is an acid measure. Our blood must be kept at a pH between 7.3 and 7.45 approx. Deviation from this range either way for a prolonged period results in serious illness termed acidosis (low pH) or alkalosis (high pH).
Most people on a standard western type diet are in a constant state of over-acidity, this allows the opportunity for disease of all types to gain a foothold in the body which in itself creates even more acidity. All drugs, recreational or prescriptive, poor food and drink choices, stress, negative thinking , anxiety, sleep deprivation, hard exercise* etc, all create acidity. The book cited below has the title Alkalise or Die – this is not overstating the problems caused by prolonged over acidity!
Foods that have been metabolised by the body leave either an acid or alkaline residue called ash. Broadly, protein and refined sugars are acid ash forming, while all other foods are alkaline ash forming. The majority of people on a standard western diet consume 80% acid forming foods and 20% alkaline forming. The ratio should be the reverse. Due to this fact, excess life threatening acidity builds up in the body.
There are several internal mechanisms for dealing with this excess acid, these are called buffers. The buffering systems use the acid binding minerals, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, manganese and sodium to try and neutralise or alkalise this acidity. These minerals, which are also needed for many other vital functions (such as calcium to help to regulate bone density) are consequently, seriously depleted when the body is continually in an over-acid state, leading to other significant problems.
If your urine has a strong smell, particularly in the morning, you can reasonably assume that you have an over-acid system created in the long or short term. The smell is usually one of ammonium. It appears that the body gears up production of this highly alkaline substance in a last effort to control the acidity.
Lemon, limes and other citrus fruits, although very acidic in themselves are alkaline forming once they have been metabolised in the body. Drinking the juice of half a fresh lemon added to warm water, twice a day for one to two weeks, will help the body return to the correct acid - alkaline balance, but thereafter the correct ratios of food should be eaten.
To maintain the correct acid - alkaline balance eat 80% of your diet from alkaline forming foods. The remaining twenty per-cent of your diet should be acid forming foods. If you find this difficult, continue with the lemon juice & water regime.
*Hard exercise: I suggest that you take a litre of fresh bottled or filtered water (not tap water) to the gym that has the juice of a fresh lemon added to it. Drinking this will help to offset the acidity created during your workout.
You can buy pH strips for testing urine very cheaply from a chemist or on eBay. Follow the pH guidance for urine pH in the instructions.
For a comprehensive list of alkaline and acid forming foods go here:http://www.astinternational.com/alkalineacidicfoods.html
Further reading: Alkalise or Die - Dr Theodore A. Baroody, Jr. Eclectic Press. U.S.A.