Acidity is one of the most common gastrointestinal issues that is caused when excessive acids secrete from the gastric glands of your stomach. You need these acids to help act on the food you eat so that is can be turned into nutrients. Acidity may cause you to have bad breath, gas production, stomach ace and other such symptoms.
The more severe form of acidity called acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease( GERD). At the end of your oesophagus, you have a valve like a muscle-like ring which also marks the entrance of your stomach called the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). The function of LES is to close as soon as the food passes through it and it is when it doesn't close or opens too often that the acid produced by your stomach moves up to your oesophagus and you feel the reflux of acid. If this happens to you very often, there are chances you have gastroesophageal reflux disease( GERD), and you must get yourself checked asap.
Common symptoms of acidity or acid reflux could be tingling heartburn, bloating, change in stool colour usually to black or mixed with blood, a sensation of your food being stuck in your throat, nausea, sudden weight loss, chronic sore throat, etc. One of the most common symptoms is called, 'Regurgitation' which is feeling caused by a sour or bitter-tasting acid backing up into your throat, almost making you feel pukish.
Common Causes of Acid Reflux:
- Taking large heavy meals
- Eating right before bedtime
- Certain trigger foods like spicy food, fatty junk food, citrus fruits, garlic, mint, onion etc.
- Bending over at your waist, immediately after eating.
- Beverages that are carbonated, coffee, alcohol etc.
- Side effects of certain medicines that you have been taking like aspirin and other muscle relaxers etc.
- Stomach abnormality like a hiatal hernia, etc.
Natural Home Remedies For Acidity That Work:
If you have severe acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease( GERD) you might want to take professional help, but you must know that acidity has got a lot to do with your lifestyle and your eating habits, therefore, these lifestyle changes can actually help you curb acidity while simple OTC antacids may only give you a temporary relief.
Here Are a Few Natural Ingredients You Must Include In Your Diet to Help Keep Acidity At Bay:
- Buttermilk: Indians have been consuming Buttermilk after a meal since ages an for all the right reasons. If you have just had a heavy meal then instead of an antacid you might want to drink a cold glass of buttermilk. Rich in lactic acid, buttermilk helps normalise acidity in the stomach and aids your digestion process.
- Cold milk: A fantastic source of calcium, a glass of cold milk an It stabilises the acid in your stomach and relieves acid reflux. If you aren't lactose intolerant, there is nothing like a glass of cold milk that can help you soothe acidity.
- Coconut water: Coconut water can help turn your body's pH level alkaline and help your body reduce acid reflux. It not only neutralises the acids in your stomach but also, helps soothe your digestive tracts and is rich in amazing nutrients.
- Cumin seeds aka jeera: Jeera acts as a fantastic acid neutraliser and helps aid your digestion process. It can even help relieve any stomach ache. You can simply add some roasted, crushed jeera to your buttermilk or boil some jeera in water and sip on it sometime after food.
- Ginger: Rich in anti-inflammatory and digestive properties, ginger can become your digestive system's best friend. It not only help neutralise acid inside your stomach but also reduce any kind of inflammation in your digestive tract. Sip on some ginger tea or simply chew a few pieces of ginger after food.
- Bananas: There no other natural laxative like bananas. Rich in magnesium and various other nutrients, bananas help to keep your digestive tract and stomach healthy. You might want to add at least one banana each day to your diet.
- Fennel Seeds aka Saunf: You must have noticed that many people chew a few fennel seeds post a heavy meal, that is because fennel is rich in oils that can help soothe your digestive tracts and smoothen the activities in the stomach. Fennel tea helps too.
- Cinnamon aka Dal Chini: Packed with amazing nutrient, cinnamon is a natural antacid that can help keep your stomach cool and soothe the digestive tract. This magic spice aids digestion and acts as a healing ingredient for any kind of infection inside your digestive tracts.
Like mentioned earlier, acidity has got a lot to do with your lifestyle and a few lifestyle changes can help you get rid of acidity and also keep your overall body healthy.
Here are a few lifestyle changes that can help you prevent acidity:
- Eating smaller portion: Eating heavy meals is one of the biggest triggers of acidity, you might want to cut down your parts and spread the smaller portions over a period. You can divide your food into two portions and eat with a time gap.
- Do not sleep immediately after eating:
Sleeping flat directly after eating can cause the acid to come back to your oesophagus. Even if you sleep soon after eating, you might want to sleep in a steeper position by say keeping your head and upper body a bit higher than your lower body. Or maybe take your afternoon naps on a comfortable chair rather than sleeping flat. Best is not to eat 2-3 hours before you sleep.
- Do not wear clothes that are tighter at your waist: Refrain from tight belts and dresses that are too tight for a more extended period. It cramps up your stomach and makes your stomach acid reflux back to the oesophagus.
- Yoga and exercise: A good body routine with yoga and exercise helps keep your body less cramped and stiff. This is, in turn, improves your digestion process and keeps acidity at bay.
- Lose weight: Weight gain is one of the biggest triggers of acidity. You might want to get on a healthy, fibre-rich, high protein diet to help keep acidity at bay.
- Quit smoking: Smoking simply ruins your oeso[hagus let alone triggering acidity. If you smoke consistently, you might want to get rid of this habit to solve acid reflux.
- Check your medications: Some medications for blood pressure and other health issues may cause acidity. You might want to ask your doctor about them and make a few changes if required.
If you are someone who is ignoring your acidity and disguising it as a regular lifestyle issue, you must visit a doctor and check for its severity and its effects on your body parts. Sometimes when medication does not solve acid reflux disease, you might also need a surgical process to get rid of the excessive acids. Do not delay your doctors visit for persistent acid reflux.
(References: Heartburn and GERD: Overview / Gastro-oesophageal reflux monitoring: review and consensus report on detection and definitions of acid, non-acid, and gas reflux/ Gastroesophageal reflux disease)