Acid reflux is accompanied by heartburn. It is characterised as a burning sensation in the chest with an acidic and bitter taste in your mouth. It occurs when there is acid back up in the esophagus. Normally, when you swallow food, the muscles below the esophagus relax to pass food into the stomach. In the case of acid reflux, the lower muscles of the esophagus do not relax properly and the acid in the stomach flows back into the esophagus. If a person experiences severe acid reflux their head might spin and have to lie down for a while. If you have heartburn and acid reflux frequently then you must visit an expert doctor. Frequent acid reflux can be the symptom of an underlying disease such as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). If you are a smoker, it might contribute to acid reflux. This article aims to help you fight acid reflux at home using natural remedies and lifestyle changes.
Eating a lot of carbohydrates, especially complex, highly processed ones can result in a lot of undigested carbs lodged in your small intestine. This load of undigested carb attracts a lot of microbes results in bacterial overgrowth which in turn creates pressure. The bacteria produce gas and make you belch frequently, also making you feel bloated. All of these incidents combine to create acid reflux. Limit your carb intake and switch to whole grains such as oats and barley.
Spicy foods increase the chances of acid reflux. Not everyone can tolerate spice and it is best to avoid such food if you get frequent heartburn after consuming it. Adopt simpler diets such as the Mediterranean diet which focuses on simple plant-based nutrition. Excessive consumption of alcohol, coffee, and citrus juices increases acid reflux as well as alcohol which increases the acid content of your stomach and decreases the stomach’s ability to clear itself thus causing reflux. Coffee has been known to temporarily weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (through which the stomach clears out) creating an acid back up from the stomach in an attempt to clear itself. Carbonated beverages should be avoided at all costs, they cause you to belch after consumption (because of carbon dioxide evolution) and cause reflux. Just like coffee they also weaken the esophageal sphincter. Citrus juices possibly cause some irritation to the gut lining which might contribute to their ability to cause heartburn. The acidity of the juices does not seem to play a role in the evolution of acid reflux.
Your eating habits play a major role in the occurrence of heartburn. Eat small portions of food and make sure to chew your food for a long time before gulping it down. This helps in digesting the food faster and reduces the chance of acid reflux. Do not overload your plate, that will lead to overeating. Choose smaller plates to trick yourself into thinking that you have eaten a lot. Instead of eating three huge and heavy meals divide your meals into four or five smaller portioned meals. This will not overload your digestive tract and you won't feel bloated. Make sure to eat your dinner at least three hours before you go to sleep. Do not lie down immediately after consuming food. Sit up or walk leisurely to give the food some time to settle down. Do not skip any meals, especially breakfast or lunch. Avoid midnight snacks at all costs. If you skip meals there is a greater chance of overeating and unnecessary snacking.
This is one of the simplest and easiest methods to tackle acid reflux. Drink lots of water throughout the day. Hydration is very important for a healthy digestive tract. Water helps digest food and keeps it moving in the gastrointestinal tract. It also helps to wash the irritating acid down the GI tract, by diluting it and raising the pH of the stomach. There is a fad of drinking alkaline water for acid reflux, this will definitely provide momentary relief but it is not a permanent solution. Drinking too much alkaline water can thoroughly disturb the pH balance of the GI tract and cause more acid reflux. So be judicious about alkaline water consumption.
Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates saliva production by making you swallow frequently. Saliva helps neutralize stomach acid. Chewing gum also helps in the peristaltic movement of the digestive tract hence reducing the risk of stomach acid from coming up. Look for gum that contains bicarbonate, an ingredient that neutralizes the acid. Make sure that the gum is sugar and alcohol-free.