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Feeling sour?

German scientist Otto Warburg received a Nobel Prize for the discovery that cancer cells proliferate in a highly acidic environment.

We are living in the largest, most complex and precise biochemical laboratory - the human body. It has a total of 100 trillion cells, or 1, 000 times more than the stars in the Milky Way. More chemical reactions take place in them every second than there are internet connections in New York. It sounds unperceivable and it truly is so. No one can comprehend all processes in their entirety, but that is not necessary. It is enough to provide an alkaline-acidic balance and oxygen, and from there on the biochemical lab knows what to do.

Before we move on to take a more thorough look at these two factors and inquire into how the food we eat influences them, we will further spark your curiosity. In 1931 German Scientist Otto Warburg received the Nobel Prize for medicine for his discovery that all cancer cells have two main features in common – they are highly acidity and poor in oxygen.


But let us begin right from the start by revising some of the chemistry classes at school. Acidity and alkalinity have opposite properties – they are the two sides of a single coin. They mutually complement each other; neither one is better or worse than the other - so begins the detailed explanation by Dr. Dima Todorova from the Centre for Quantum Medicine.

All chemical elements have an equal number of protons in their core and electrons in the shell. When the number of electrons is greater or smaller than that of the protons, the atom is transformed into an ion and acquires a charge.

Acids are chemical compounds which have positively charged hydrogen ions (H+), i.e. they are missing an electron. Liquids containing high levels of H+ become acidic and become corrosive, because as they strive to reclaim the missing electrons, they extract electrons from other compounds.

Base or alkaline substances contain hydroxyl ions (OH-), each one containing one extra electron.
'When H+ and OH- meet they react and cancel each other, which results in water and a salt, for example, HCl (hydrochloric acid)
+ NaHC02 (sodium bicarbonate or baking soda) = NaCI (table salt) + H20 (water) + C02 (carbon dioxide).'

The level of acidity or alkalinity in the liquids and tissues of our body, designated with pH, depends on the quantity of hydrogen ions (H+),' says Dr. Todorova. That is why pH is also referred to as a hydrogen indicator. It is measured on a scale from one to 14. Water is in the middle of the scale and is thought of as neutral with a pH of 7, because it contains equal amounts of H+ and OH-. With a pH under 7 the environment is acidic, with a pH above 7 - alkaline.

The pH of the human body is determined by the organic microelements contained within the various body parts. Those microelements are separated into two groups: cations - electropositive, and anions - electronegative elements. The positive ions are the ones of calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), and potassium (K). They aid the alkalinization of the body by reacting with the poisonous acidic substances,' Dr. Todorova explains further. The ions of phosphorus (P), sulfur (S), and chlorine (Cl) are negatively charged.

'Every bodily fluid in the human organism has a specific pH value at which it functions best,' Dr. Todorova continues. 'Blood, for example, has a slightly alkaline pH - between 7.35 and 7.45. Even the slightest deviations from these values in either direction are an indication of serious health issues.' Not only blood but most bodily fluids in a healthy body are slightly alkaline (except for gastric acid and vaginal discharge), like sea water, and tissues are well saturated with oxygen. The presence of these factors determines whether we would have good health and an effective immune system.

In order to correctly understand the alkaline-acidic balance, we have to familiarize ourselves with the term toxemia. The term is derived from the word toxin, i.e. poison, and indicates the presence of toxic substances above acceptable levels. Under normal conditions the body produces toxins which are the usual byproducts of digestion and the metabolism. In a healthy well-balanced body they get naturally expelled by the waste elimination systems of the body.

Problems occur when the level of toxicity exceeds the capacity of the organism to detoxify itself. In our modern world we are exposed to a wide array of toxins - polluted food, air and water, alcohol, drugs, medicines, cigarettes. Almost all chemical toxins have positive electric charge and are acidic. All this fosters the retention of toxins in the body or the so-called toxemia, which is the primary source of disease and has two main characteristics - acidosis (excessive acidity) and hypoxia (insufficient oxygen saturation).

'Most forms of internal toxicity cause acidosis. It is easier to over-acidify the organism than to alkalinize it. The large quantity of acidic waste in the blood and tissues suppresses the immune response, disrupts the metabolism process, inhibits the digestion and assimilation of food, creates an ideal environment for fungal and bacterial infections and causes multiple problems,' Dr. Todorova explains.
How they influence pH

all types of raw fruit and vegetables, all salads, nuts - almonds, chestnuts and hazelnuts, from the grains - millet.
all animal protein - meat and meat products, fish and eggs; from the dairy products - yellow cheese; all grains without millet - wheat, rice, oats, barley, bread, flour, pastry, grain porridges and starchy foods; sugar and sweets - jams, jellies, petit fours, cakes, chocolate, fizzy drinks, ice cream; from the beans - beans (white and green), lentils, peas, peanuts, walnuts, cashew nuts.
raw milk, cream, butter, sunflower, olive oil, sesame, soy, walnut and other natural oils.


Food causes either an acidifying or an alkalinizing reaction in the body, depending on the types of prevalent microelements and what waste their processing produces. That is why foods are divided into two large groups - acid-forming and alkaline-forming (see table above). The third group is neutral. What is characteristic of these and the alkaline ones is that their acidifying qualities increase whenever they are thermally processed.

Alkalinizing foods are better for the human organism simply due to the fact that we have a slightly alkaline environment. An easy way in which doctors can check whether there is something wrong with us is by checking the pH of our saliva. If it is under 7, then some acidic process is clearly taking place and something is out of order,' explains Veselin Stankov from Soul Kitchen, who has been researching raw food diets and healthy eating for three years. He warns us that while it is good to know which foods are acidifying and which - alkalinizing, this system may not always work. For example, a ripe fruit generally has an alkalinizing effect.

However, if we eat it, as it is habitual, as a desert after a fatty meal, it cannot pass through the stomach. Then, instead of being metabolized, the fruit begins to rot and ferment. Both processes are highly acidifying. Therefore, it is not only important to know which foods have an alkalinizing effect, but also to be aware of how and how fast they are digested, of the order in which they should be consumed based on the logic of the human metabolism. We should also know how to combine foods correctly. It sounds complicated, and indeed, it is not easy, but there is no other way, having in mind the first lines of this article... Alas!

'Most acidification comes not only from food, but also thanks to the bad microorganisms which we have grown,' continues Veselin. There are 3 foreign cells to each of our own cells in our body. This is natural and normal. All is wel,l as long as the organisms, which live within us are beneficial, i.e. organisms with which we have symbiotic relationship. They eat what we give them and produce waste, which is called probiotics and is very good for us. But we can also become the habitat for harmful germs, which acidify the body.' The easiest and most widespread example possible is the Candida, which feeds on sugars and excretes acidifying toxins. The same goes for other pathogenic organisms. They make us go around in a vicious circle. They grow in an anaerobic acidic environment, which they further acidify with their excrements.


Firstly, we have to limit highly acidic foods. The main products on our table - meat, bread (rice), sweets and other 'dead' foods lead to strong oxygenation. 'The most dangerous product is white processed sugar! It lowers blood pH faster and more strongly than any other food; the greatest culprit in this respect is the sweet carbonated acid bomb called a fizzy drink! 350 ml of soft drink are equivalent to 9 tsp of white processed sugar which, put directly into the bloodstream, acidifies it to such an extent, that without taking urgent measures, the body would die in sheer minutes,' explains Dr. Todorova.

'32 glasses of alkaline water have to be drunk n order to counter that effect. Of course that cannot happen, so, in order to prevent death by acidosis, the organism quickly extracts large quantities of organic calcium from the bones and teeth into the bloodstream. Calcium is the most powerful alkalizing agent and is one of the elements which is irreplaceable when it comes to cleansing the body.' Every time the body is in a hyper acidic state, calcium is extracted from our teeth and bones to 'save the day'.

This defensive mechanism is one of the main reasons for weak bones (osteoporosis) and teeth (cavities). Something similar happens after overconsumption of milk and dairy products, explains Veselin Stankov: 'It also acidifies the organism. Especially when we pasteurize milk - then the protein casein collaborates with the calcium, forming huge compound molecules and thus becomes virtually unprocessable.' Then the already familiar mechanism comes to the rescue once again.

Once it has performed its life-saving function, this invaluable organic calcium is expelled through the urine in the form of calcium phosphate. Unfortunately, the sad conclusion is that dairy products extract, rather than provide, calcium from the organism.

Let us go back to fizzy drinks. It is not just the sugar that makes them so dangerous for the blood and the other bodily fluids. Carbonization is done through the insertion of carbon dioxide, which is a waste product of human metabolism and is one of the main factors contributing to acidosis. And that is not all - the active ingredient in most fizzy drinks is phosphoric acid which has a highly acidic with a pH value of 2.8.


The irreplaceable alkaline minerals and microelements are the main regulator of the alkaline- acidic balance. The organism needs a full range of these in order to regulate its pH balance in its blood and tissues. Unfortunately, the modern diet which consists mainly of processed foods, suffers from a deficit of precisely these important substances. That is why we must consume as much fresh fruit and vegetables as possible. It is not necessary, however, for us to rush head over heels and change our diet considerably. Firstly, it is very difficult, secondly it can cause toxic shock; it is dangerous, because the toxins which have been accumulating over the years are suddenly released.

It is best to gradually introduce more fresh foods into the diet. Sixty to forty percent of a well- balanced diet is raw food. 'Here, though, we mean calories, not volume,' - clarifies Veselin. 'One kilogram of apples and one kilogram of baked peanuts do not make for a 50-50 ratio between raw and processed foods, because one kilogram of peanuts has far more calories than a kilogram of apples. Even better and even more alkalizing than bio food is wild-grown food.


Wild plants are 200 times stronger than domesticated ones, because in nature 200 seeds compete over a single living space; they have roots which are four times longer, meaning they can absorb much more minerals. Therefore, they are considerably more alkalizing.'

It is also good to remember that the environment within the body is slightly, not highly alkaline. Overdoing things in this aspect is also a deviation from the natural state of the healthy organism. That is why acidic foods also play a significant role. It is just that the alkaline ones should be slightly prevalent. After all, our body still possesses the ability to cleanse itself naturally and it will excrete any extra acid. As long as we do not go too far.

'Acidity also rises from the consumption of too many proteins and fats.
Proteins are broken down into amino-acids. Logically - they are acidifying, too. By metabolizing fats, we transform them into higher fatty and omega-fatty acids, whereas carbohydrates are cleaner. They are broken down to C02 and water,' continues Veselin.

Foods in a package

Proteins + fats + green leafy vegetables + non-starchy vegetables + sprouts + lemon or lime
Starchy vegetables + non-starchy vegetables + sprouts
Avocado + green leafy vegetables + sprouts + non-starchy vegetables + lemon or lime Avocado + mildly acidic fruit
Acidic fruit + mildly acidic fruit

Watermelons, melons, freshly squeezed juice

Fruit or sweeteners (except stevia) + protein
Fruit or sweeteners + nuts, energy bars, fruit smoothies with nuts /milk blended with nuts, animal milk
Fruit or sweeteners (except stevia) + grains/grain sprouts, oats and others
Vegetables + fruit or sweeteners (except stevia)
Starch + fruit or sweeteners (except stevia)
Starch + protein
Starch + avocado
Starch + sour foods
Sour fruit + sweet fruit
Desserts after meals

The HOME Lab:
Cabbage juice instead of litmus

Necessary ingredients for the pH indicator:
•     a medium-sized red cabbage
•     a blender
•     a sift
•     water
Pour 700-800 ml of boiling water over about three generous cups of chopped red cabbage and blend. Sift the juice and you already have about 600 ml of home-made litmus, which you can mix with various substances to check their acidity. Red cabbage contains a compound called flavin, which serves as a pH indicator.
Pour about 100 ml of cabbage juice in a cup or beaker and add the desired substance. We made the experiment with lemon, vinegar, baking soda, tomato juice, cucumber, hair conditioner, shampoo, coffee. The results you can see below, to the left are the acidic products, to the right - the alkaline.

Fast and slow foods
How long they take to digest:
4+ hours
PROTEINS: nuts, seeds (takes less time if soaked), pulses, olives, blue-green algae

3-4 hours
FATS: olives, avocado (it takes between 45 min and 3 hours to process depending on the foods, with which it is combined), seeds, nuts, plant oils and fats - linen oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, olive oil, unprocessed sunflower oil etc.

2-3 hours
NON-STARCHY VEGETABLES AND GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES: Green-leafy vegetables - lettuce, spinach, dock, kale, beetroot leaves, cabbage etc; green-leaf vegetable sprouts - alfalfa, broccoli, sunflower sprouts, celery; foods low in starch  - carrots, artichoke, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zuccini, green beans, onion, leeks, lady's finger, pepper, eggplants

2-3 hours
CARBOHYDRATES/STARCHY: germinated non-green-leaf - quinoa, millet, spelt, wheat, oats etc.
Lentil and chickpea sprouts, as well as other mildly starchy ones - carrots, Jerusalem artichoke, beans, turnips, sweet potatoes; highly starchy: maize, pumpkin, potatoes

1.5 – 2 hours
citrus fruit (lemons and lime can be combined with foods, which are digested over a longer period of time), strawberries, pine apple, sour apples, plums, pomegranate

1.5 -2 hours
MILDLYSOUR FRUIT: tomatoes, apples, plums, peaches, mango, papaya, cherries, raspberries, blueberries

30-45 min
SWEET FRUIT AND SWEETENERS: bananas, dried fruit - dates, raisins, etc; grapes, sweet cherries, honey, treacle, molasses

15-30 min
Melons and water melons, freshes


The fact that many sour fruit, especially citruses are alkalizing is very confusing. 'In modern dietetics foods are classified either as alkalizing or as acidifying, depending to what effect they have on the body and not according to taste,' Dr. Todorova dispels the misunderstanding. 'Many sour foods (citruses) are considered alkaline, because after they are digested, they leave behind alkaline compounds. The organic acids, which stimulate the taste buds on the tongue, turn into carbon dioxide and water, and the other resulting minerals serve to neutralize the acids in the organism. This applies to most fruit and vegetables rich in buffer minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron.'

We already know what the basics about acidic and alkaline foods. But we must learn the basic principles of combination, if this is to have a beneficial effect on our health. The goal is for food to pass through our metabolic mechanism properly. If we mess it up, we trigger processes of rotting and fermentation which flood the organism with toxic acidic elements, thus providing ideal living conditions for unwanted pathogens. Irrespective of whether we have a vegan, vegetarian or any other food regimen, anybody can benefit from the knowledge of the right way to combine food.

Another important point is the time the food takes to be digested and to free space in the stomach for the next portion. When we combine products with different digestion times, the food which is digested faster stays in the stomach, waiting for the slower foods to be processed. For example, if we eat fruit or other sugars together with proteins, the faster dissolving sugars will ferment and will break down to carbon dioxide, acetic acid, lactic acid, alcohol and water. All but the last are substances toxic to the body. Therefore, even with the consumption of healthy live food, we can trigger two opposing processes in our bodies - absorbing the beneficial nutrients, or flooding our bodies with toxins.


But this is not the end! The healthy alkalizing effect of the consumption of the right foods can be impeded by overeating, dilution of the enzyme environment by drinking more than a few sips of fluids during meals, eating under stress, eating on a full stomach, eating fast, insufficient chewing, eating immediately before sleep, shallow breathing etc.

On top of that, there are the so called 'acidifying thoughts'. 'When we are constantly under stress, our organism resorts to its backup mechanisms and does not assimilate all compounds completely. The body does not understand what is going on and gives off signals as if we were under a real physical threat. It secretes the stress hormone cortisol and acidifies the environment inside us. As much as we may try to eat healthily, when we are stressed the body gets acidified,' says Veselin.
And yet, achieving a healthy alkaline environment is not that difficult. Dr. Herbert Shelton, one of the pioneers of the subject, states:

'Fortunately, it is not necessary for us to know the chemical composition of either the human body OR food, in order to provide healthy nutrition for ourselves and our families. If we consume natural products, we can be sure that we are getting all necessary nutrients in an ideal balanced way.' If we add a portion of happiness to that to neutralize stress, we will be as fresh and alkaline as lemons!