I often found people saying that ‘I have acidity problems.’
Have you ever wondered what they mean by it?
How is acidity caused?
What can you do to relieve the suffering caused by acidity?
To answer all these questions, you must first understand what Acidity means.
Acidity, also called acid reflux, occurs when there is excess secretion of acids in the gastric glands of the stomach, and stomach acid flows back up into the food pipe
producing gas, bad breath, stomach ache and other symptoms.
When the secretion of acids occurs more than twice a week, – we may diagnose with Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
Symptoms of Acidity
• Prolonged sour taste in the mouth or bitter-tasting acid that backs up into your throat and mouth
• Burning sensation and pain in the stomach
• Burning sensation and pain in the throat
• Difficulty swallowing or the sensation of food being stuck in your throat
• Burning sensation and pain in the chest
• Bad breathe
• Feel of a presence of a lump in the throat
• Indigestion and frequent hiccups or burps
• Other symptoms include a cough, asthma, tooth erosion and inflammation in the sinuses
Causes of Acidity
Acidity is primarily related to food and lifestyle. Few causes of acidity are-
1. Unhealthy eating habits
• Skipping meals or eating at irregular times
• Eating just before sleeping
• Consumption of spicy food
• High intake of table salt
• Diet low in dietary fibre
2. Excessive consumption of certain food
• Drinks such as tea, coffee, carbonated drinks, soft drinks
• Extremely spicy food
• Fat rich food such as pizza, doughnuts, and fried food
3. Side-effects of certain medications or Strong medications
• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
• Medicines for high blood pressure
• Depression and anxiety medications
4. Other causes include
• Consumption of non-vegetarian food
• Excessive stress
• Lack of sleep
• Frequent smoking
• Lack of physical exercise
• Frequent consumption of alcohol
Prevention of Acidity
•Eat healthily: Maintaining small meals at a regular eating time with dinner ending at least two to three hours before bed
•Maintain your weight: Losing weight if you are overweight or obese
• Cut down on smoking and alcohol
•Change your sleeping posture: Try to elevate the head of your bed. This will keep your body in a good posture and keep away acidity
•Avoid your triggers-foods: know the cause of acidity, be it any food ingredients or a food habit, for example, spicy food, raw onion and citrus juice or any kind of carbonated drink.
•Fit into comfortable clothes: Avoid tight-fitting clothes that hug your waist or lower abdomen, wearing a too-tight dress can increase pressure in the abdomen and lower oesophagal sphincter.
•Eat Slowly: Make it a habit to chew your food properly and not to hurry while eating.
•Start stress-relieving activities: Take a small walk or sit for a while after eating your meal. Directly laying down after consuming food is not good for your overall health.
Treatment of Acidity With Alkaline Foods
1. Alkaline Drinks
• Coconut water: Best is taken early morning
• Watermelon juice: Best is taken with breakfast
• Fresh lime juice: Best is taken at least an hour before lunch
• Buttermilk: Best is taken after a spicy meal
• Glass of lukewarm water: Best is taken after every meal
• Apple cider vinegar: Best is taken every morning on an empty stomach
2. Alkaline Tea
• Basil tea
• Peppermint Mint tea
• Ginger tea
• Cumin tea
• Fennel tea
3. Alkaline Foods
• Most fruits, especially bananas, apples, watermelon, figs and pomegranate
• Most vegetables, especially spinach, fenugreek, okra, cucumber, beetroot, carrot, broccoli, cabbage, coriander, cauliflower, sweet potato, eggplant, onion, peas, pumpkin and radish, sweet peppers and lettuce
• Non-dairy product: Unsweetened yoghurt, plant-based cold milk
• Lentils including green beans, navy beans, broad beans, moong bean sprouts, lima beans, pinto beans and other lentils
• Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds
• Whole grains especially Brown rice, Oatmeal
4. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Keeping yourself hydrated is the most underrated health advice. Drinking regular water decreases the symptoms of reflux. Drinking enough water dilutes the acids in the stomach for symptom relief. Drinking alkaline water (pH 8.8) largely helps reduce reflux symptoms.
Finally, Acid reflux, in itself, is not a severe condition. But chronic acidity can cause other health problems that can damage the oesophagus. It is advised to visit your Nutrition provider if the symptoms of acidity are persistent even after taking peventions.
By Priyanshi Bhatnagar