5 Natural Ways to Combat Acid Reflux
Acid reflux, also known as heartburn, is a common condition experienced when acid from the stomach backs or moves up and enters the esophagus. As a result, the lining of the esophagus is irritated by the acid, causing some discomfort and pain in the chest or abdomen. Notably, constant or frequent reflux can lead to chronic GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).
Luckily, there are several ways to handle this condition. The most frequent acid reflux treatment involves commercial medication.
However, some lifestyle and dietary modifications may also provide relief. Some of the natural remedies include:
Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
As you would have thought, most reflux symptoms take place after a meal. Eating big meals could fill you too much, making the stomach produce extra acid, worsening the reflux symptoms. In addition to this, large meals put too much pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), weakening it and allowing acid and other food contents to squeeze through the opening and enter the esophagus. To avoid this, try eating a smaller meal frequently and wait until you no longer feel full rather than taking large portions at once.
Avoid lying down immediately after a meal
It should be noted that lying down when the stomach is full can cause the contents to press the LES hard, raising the probability of acid and food reflux. It’s essential to assist your digestive system by standing or sitting upright a few hours after eating. Simple gravity is a contributor to acid reflux. Don’t lie in bed or back on the couch after eating. Rather, wait at least three hours between eating and lying down.
Avoid spicy food
According to a 2017 study, spicy and acidic foods are the biggest triggers of excess production of stomach acid. To avoid this, neutralize the acid with alkaline foods. When you experience constant reflux, you may notice you get the symptoms when you consume certain foods. To counteract the stomach acid, eat alkaline food that is high on the pH scale. Try cutting back spicy foods by adding a lot of alkaline foods to your diet. Alkaline foods include melons, cauliflower, nuts, bananas, and fennel. Avoid mint and peppermint, garlic and onion, tomatoes, and citrus fruits.
Avoid high-fat foods
Another way to combat acid reflux is by reducing the amount of fat you consume. People with acid reflux are instructed to eliminate fatty foods in their diet as fat makes acid reflux worse. You can minimize acid in your stomach by following a low-fat diet that includes keeping to minimum processed and fried foods, especially those that are fatty and greasy. Also, use less butter or oil when you cook, and try as much as possible to switch to dairy products with low-fat content. In general, reduce trans fats and saturated fats and replace them with healthier unsaturated fats. Healthy fats sources include sunflower, sesame oil, olive oil, flaxseed, walnuts, and avocados.
Don’t drink carbonated and caffeinated beverages
Carbonated drinks can make you burp, and this can send the acid into the esophagus. So rather than sparkling water, drink flat water. Additionally, when taking a meal, bubbly drinks tend to push the stomach acid into the esophagus. When it comes to beverages, choose those which are flat instead of carbonated ones. All the same, plain water is the best, so make it your main drink. Apart from that, it’s essential to reduce your coffee intake. Naturally, coffee is an acidic beverage, and in most cases, it worsens acid reflux. Moreover, decaf coffee may also trigger systems since it’s not the caffeine that is the problem but its acidity.
To sum up
Dietary and lifestyle factors are among the leading primary causes of acid reflux. All the same, simple changes can notably ease GERD, heartburn, and acid reflux symptoms.