Acid Reflux disease also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition where the gastric acid flows back into the esophagus causing a burning sensation and discomfort behind the breastbone.
Chronic symptoms of heartburn need consultation with a physician to rule out the cause of acid reflux. Peptic ulcers, hiatus hernia, gastritis, sphincter defect of the esophagus, are some conditions mimicking GERD symptoms. Smoking, alcohol, and pregnancy are some risk factors causing symptoms of acid reflux disease.
- Avoid over-eating and late-night snacking.
- Maintain upright position for few minutes after meals.
- Smaller meals help easy digestion; eating at least 3 hours before bedtime is advisable.
- Quit tobacco and smoking.
- Weight reduction can aid in releasing the pressure on the stomach that causes the liquid to reflux into the esophagus.
- Wear proper fitting or loose clothes; avoid waist bands that would exert pressure on the abdomen, thus causing a reflux.
- Adequate sleep is necessary for proper digestion and relaxation.
- Tilted sleeping position where the upper half of the body is elevated reduces the risks of reflux. Lying on the left side helps digestion.
- Stress affects digestion, which in turn, results in acidity. Regular yoga, meditation, and exercise helps to stay stress-free.
- Medications could be a possible cause of heartburn, and need to be stopped or complemented with other drugs or alternative therapies to curb their harmful effects.
Foods to Avoid
Coffee, alcohol, spicy food, chocolate, peppermint, and fatty foods tend to aggravate the symptoms of acidity. Carbonated drinks, tomato sauce, and fried foods increase acid secretion. Citrus fruits like, lemon, oranges, and pineapple should be avoided. Avoid processed and flavored foods. In addition to the above foods, there are specific substances that cause heartburn only in a particular individual. A food diary would help find out such foods.
- Milk can be a good reliever of acid reflux. Cold milk helps reduce the acidic effect and gives temporary relief. Go for fat-free skim milk, as fat in the milk can lead to greater production of acid in the stomach.
- Coconut water, buttermilk with coriander juice is also known to reduce acidity.
- Increase fiber intake with lots of vegetables, like, leafy greens, bitter gourd, cucumber, and pumpkin.
- Fruits like banana, watermelon, and papaya help reduce acidity.
- Increase whole grains and protein intake.
- Ginger and garlic are known to aid in the digestion process, and thus, reduce the back up of contents into esophagus.
- Fennel seeds benefit in digestion and act as a powerful reliever of heartburn. It is either consumed with warm water or as fennel tea.
- Herbal tea and green tea are known to be effective.
- Apple cider vinegar consumed with meals also cures heartburn.
- Licorice and Aloe vera are good for stomach ailments and acidity.
- Cardamom, chamomile, and sandalwood are some herbs used to for their soothing effects on the stomach.
Careful diagnosis and prevention of causative factors would be the first step towards curing acidity naturally.