MESSAGE BY: Disability & Sickle Cell Organization Of Nigeria (DISCON)
Most times, sickle cell crises are triggered by certain things we do, consume, allow or experience. Acidosis is one of them. It’s diet-induced and can spark painful crisis in some SCD warriors.
Acidosis is the word used to describe when blood becomes too acidic. Acidemia is its medical term. For easy comprehension of acidosis, one must understand blood pH.
pH stands for positive Hydrogen. It states the acidity or alkalinity of blood, and it’s measured on a scale of 0 – 14. A pH of 7 which is the midpoint of the scale is neutral, like water. Alkaline substances are greater than 7 while Acidic substances are below 7 on the pH scale. The lower the pH in what is consumed, the more acidic blood becomes. Blood is alkaline and maintains a pH of around 7.35 – 7.45. The stomach is acidic. Its pH is 3.5 or lower to be able to break food down.
Alkaline diet works to help the body maintain its blood pH level.
The body is very sensitive to the level of acidity of the blood and small changes can trigger a reaction, crisis or problem. Too much acid-producing foods in the diet result in increased acidity of the blood or Acidosis.
To Avoid Diet Induced Crisis, SCD Warriors Should Follow some of the Recommendations below to help Reduce Acidity and Improve Alkalinity.
1. Avoid processed foods. They are acid-forming. Eat sweet fruits and foods closest to their natural state in place of sugar and refined foods.
2. Salt intake should be reduced because it increases diet-induced acidity as a result of its chemical composition. Minimizing salt consumption will help the body maintain a healthy pH balance.
3. Fresh vegetables and fruits intake are very essential. They are a good source of potassium, magnesium and calcium to raise alkalinity.
4. Drink enough water. Water keeps the cells supple and fluid and diffuses acidity in the blood. To improve alkalinity, drink adequate amounts of water daily; drink a cup first thing in the morning and drink at short intervals during the day – before and after meals.
5. As much as possible, avoid acid building foods like beef meat, pork or ram meat. Lean meat like goat meat is recommended to stay free from acidosis. Or, other lean proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, crabs and shrimps.
6. In as much as fruits are a good source of essential nutrients such as potassium, fibre, vitamin C and folate needed for healthy blood pressure, consuming some fruits might lead to acidosis. Such fruits are oranges and other citrus fruits like lemon, grapes and limes. Oranges are high in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) which is acidic with a pH level of 2 – 3 for it and other citrus fruits.
Others acidic fruits are: Apples, Tomatoes, pineapples.
7. Avoid Alcohol & Caffeine consumption.
NOTE: It’s important for SCD Warriors to observe their bodies and know what’s good for them individually. What affects some may not be so with others.
This is not a blanket write-up. You may want to continue having the diets stated, reduce or stop them. Pay attention to what triggers a crisis in you.
Written by: Tayo Faloye (DISCON)