Why Rio’s Swimming Pools Are Turning Green and How That Relates To Your Health

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rio olympics green pool 2016

If you were catching the action at the Rio Olympics a few days ago you would’ve noticed the swimming pools looked normal. But over night, they turned green.

Olympic authorities were quick to deny that the green pool posed any health risk but that really depends on what caused the green tinge. If it was just a chemical reaction it may be harmless but if it’s an algae bloom, that’s another story. Algal blooms can occur when there are fluctuations in pH. Different microorganisms prefer different pH levels and can serve as a catalyst to algae formation¹. Games spokesman Mario Andrada said “There was a sudden decrease of alkalinity” which caused the change in colour².

pH? Alkalinity? 

Some of you who remember back to high school chemistry, will be familiar with the terms:  acid, alkaline (or base) and neutral. These terms are used to describe where a substance sits on the pH scale. The scale runs from 0 to 14 where a pH less than 7 is acid, over 7 is alkaline and 7 is neutral. Rather than get too technical, let’s use the swimming pool as an analogy.

As you saw with the Rio Olympic pool, managing the level of alkalinity plays a vital role in its health. An ideal pH for a swimming pool is slightly alkaline between 7 to 7.6. If the water pH is higher than 8, anyone who swims in the pool is at risk of skin rashes, while a pH of lower than 7 can sting swimmers’ eyes³.

How pH Relates To Your Health

Just as swimming pools are healthiest between a certain pH range, your body is exactly the same. The pH of your blood must be maintained at a slightly alkaline level between pH 7.35 to 7.45° in order to survive. Even slight deviations from this range will cause your body to correct the imbalance by stealing alkaline minerals from cells. The problem is, those other cells need the same nutrients.

A key alkaline mineral your body uses to buffer drops in pH is calcium. Dr Sinatra advises that “In an acidic environment, bone tissue dissolves into some of its basic mineral constituents, which are used as neutralizing agents. This process not only destroys the bone, but it inhibits any attempts by your body to rebuild it. Some experts consider acidosis to be the true cause of osteoporosis.”

The good news is that a study found that eating alkaline food and bicarbonate-rich mineral water (thank God Curo has you covered!) prevented this from happening. Volunteers were split into two groups where one was served acidic food and the other alkaline food. It found that those who ate a diet full of alkalising nutrients inhibited bone resorption˜.

Which Foods Should I Eat?

Alkaline foods are full of life, energy and vital nutrients that keep your body performing at its peak. There are a whole range of alkaline foods, some more alkaline than others and it mainly has to do with the mineral composition present. It can be a little confusing though because foods that you may think are acidic because they taste acidic can actually be extremely alkaline. A good example is lemons. They taste acidic but are highly alkaline because it’s rich in potassium and calcium (alkaline minerals).

To help guide you we’ve put together a chart that outlines the alkalinity/acidity of a range of food. To get access, simply fill in your details below and start incorporating more alkaline food to achieve your health goals faster.

About Thomas Cho

Tom has been involved in the health and bottled water industry for 14 years. He is passionate about all things natural health and an avid self learner. His mission is to empower others to take control of their health naturally and have a positive impact on others.

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