Medically reviewed by Dr. Shunmukha Priya, Ph.D. in Food Science and Nutrition
Often you may have felt a burning sensation in your lower chest area rising to your throat after a hearty meal. This condition is called heartburn.
Now this heartburn is only a symptom of another condition called acidity or acid reflux. When the stomach acid flows back into the food pipe, it causes a burning sensation in the oesophagus which lies behind the heart. And for this reason, the term ‘heartburn’ was coined.
Table of Content
- How does acid reflux occur?
- Cause of acid reflux
- Acid reflux symptoms
- Acid reflux diagnosis
- Treatment of acid reflux
- Acid reflux home remedy
- Home tips to counter acid reflux
Acid reflux is a common affliction among many Indians. This condition arises due to unhealthy food habits and poor lifestyle choices.
How does acid reflux occur?
The food that we eat is chewed in the mouth and passed down the oesophagus to the stomach. The gastric glands present in the stomach secrete certain acids to break down the food particles to digest it.
Sometimes these glands produce acids more than what is needed for the process of digestion. This results in acid reflux.
Acid reflux is rampant in India since eating too much oily and spicy foods have become a norm here.
Causes of acid reflux:
The condition can occur for the following reasons:
- Unhealthy food habits
- Overeating of certain foods
- Side effects of consumed medicines
- Underlying medical conditions
- Lack of sleep, anxiety, and stress
Symptoms of acid reflux :
The characteristic symptoms of acid reflux include:
- Burning sensation in the stomach, lower chest, and throat
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Belching and bloating
- Prolonged sour taste in the mouth
- Bad breath
Acid reflux diagnosis:
Your doctor may suggest the following tests to diagnose acidity conclusively:
- X-ray of the stomach and oesophagus
- Endoscopy of the upper gastrointestinal tract
Treatment of acid reflux:
Based on your condition, doctor will prescribe medicines to counter acid reflux. They mostly comprise of antacids.
In very severe cases he may suggest surgery.
But the best heartburn remedies are when you adapt to foods that reduce stomach acid and adopt an acid reflux diet.
Home remedies for acid reflux
Acid reflux is distressing. It causes bloating, flatulence, heartburn, and hiccups.
While you may reach out for an antacid for immediate relief, it is worth considering natural foods that can relieve an acidic stomach.
You should ponder over how to cure acidity permanently. Home remedies for acidity can be facilitated with foods that reduce stomach acid.
Below are some of the foods you can consider for acid reflux.
The high fibre content in banana makes it an ideal choice as an antidote for acid reflux.
It is rich in potassium and helps in mucus production in the stomach that inhibits excess acid secretion. It also counters the harmful effects of stomach acids.
2. Cold Milk:
Milk is rich in calcium which is primarily good for your bone health. However, it helps in the maintenance of pH balance aiding proper digestion of food in the stomach.
Cold milk acts as a natural antacid and provides you with instant relief. It also absorbs the excess acid in the stomach thus eliminating the cause of acid reflux.
The lactic acid in the cold buttermilk neutralises the stomach acidity. It is a natural probiotic, and an excellent antidote to acidity as it aids in the digestion and the beneficial bacteria present in it prevents the buildup of gas and bloating.
This is why Indian meals are often accompanied by buttermilk which counters the ill effects of spicy and oily food.
4. Fennel seeds:
The Anethole compound present in fennel seeds soothes the stomach and prevents flatulence. It is also loaded with minerals and vitamins apart from fibre that helps the digestion of food.
Often chewing or drinking a glass of water with soaked fennel seeds gives you immediate relief from acidity.
5. Basil leaf:
Basil or Tulsi, as we know commonly in India, is an important herb that stimulates mucus formation in the stomach to relieve heartburn and nausea.
Chew a few basil leaves, and it will soothe your inflamed oesophagus and the inner lining of your stomach.
6. Pineapple juice:
It is a tried and tested a home remedy for acidity. Bromelain present in the juice controls the level of hydrochloric acid, one of the primary stomach acids.
Aloe vera juice also is as effective as pineapple juice as an antacid.
7. Raw Almonds:
It is regarded as a natural home remedy for ulcers and heartburn. The high fibre content in the nuts helps the process of digestion.
8. Mint Leaves:
Mint leaves or Pudina is one of the best natural coolants that relieve you of distress caused by acidity. It lowers the acid content in the stomach.
It helps in soothing the inflamed and damaged stomach lining to ease heartburn and spasms. It is alkaline, and its carminative property neutralises the gastric acids preventing acidity, flatulence and bad breath.
The properties of ginger destroy the acidity triggering bacteria Pylori. It reduces inflammation, minimises nausea and calms the stomach muscles.
The antioxidants present in garlic makes it a potent remedy for indigestion. It is equally a potent antidote to acidity. However, too much consumption of garlic may be harmful.
It is commonly known as Amla. Gooseberries have many medicinal properties and one of them is preventing acidity. It is one of the naturally available richest sources of Vitamin C that heals the lining of the stomach and oesophagus.
Other home tips to counter acid reflux:
Other than the natural foods, some smart tips can alleviate the symptoms of acid reflux:
- Sleep on your left side
- Chew your food thoroughly before swallowing
- Exercise regularly
- Drink plenty of water
- Do not keep your stomach empty and eat some food at regular intervals
- Spend some time in the sun
- Do not wear tight clothes
- Quit smoking
- Don’t sleep immediately after a meal. Have a gap of 2 to 3 hrs between dinner and sleep
- Don’t overeat
- Avoid too much spicy and oily foods
Home remedies with easily available natural ingredients are the best means to beat acidity.
Natural remedies and foods that relieve an acidic stomach are always more preferable to bottled and pill antacids in the long run.
If you are someone who is suffering from chronic acidity, avoid too much spicy and oily foods. Changing food habits will indeed benefit you greatly.
Eat healthy and wholesome foods. Not only you, but your stomach will also be happy!