Acid Reflux, commonly known as Acidity is a condition in which bile or stomach acids flow back into our oesophagus or food pipe and cause irritation.
This results in a burning sensation in our chest which is the commonest symptom of acidity.
Symptoms of Acidity Are:
- Pain and burning sensation in the chest, stomach or throat
- Flatulence or Gas
- Bad Breath
- Nausea or feeling of vomiting
- Heaviness in the stomach after eating
- Frequent burps
- Regurgitation of undigested food coming back in our mouth
Common Causes of Acidity:
- Eating at odd times or skipping meals
- Unhealthy eating habits like having too much tea, coffee, cold- drinks, junk, spicy, oily food etc.
- Stomach ailments like Ulcers, Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), etc.
- A bad lifestyle like taking too much stress, sleeping less, smoking, drinking alcohol etc.
Acidity has been confused with other conditions, here is a quick guide to understanding these terms better:
|Acid Reflux/Acidity||– The oesophagus carries food from your mouth to the stomach- When the oesophagal muscle is weak or malfunctioning it allows acid to go back up the tube- This causes a number of symptoms all of which fall under the condition of acid reflux or acidity|
|Heartburn||– Heartburn is a symptom of acidity- When the acid moves up the oesophagus, it touches the lining of the tube and causes a sharp burning sensation in the chest- It is sometimes mistaken for a heart attack but it can be milder as well- Heartburn usually occurs after eating and can get worse if you bend over- despite the name, it is not connected to any heart issue|
|GERD||– GERD is a chronic (long term) form of acid reflux- It is usually due to damage, deformation or other issues with the oesophagal muscle- It can be more severe than regular acidity- While GERD is mistaken for heart attacks, sometimes GERD patients get heart attacks but assume it is an acidity attack|
|Gas||– Burping or feeling bloated with gas is common after eating, some people experience more severe gas- In some people, it may be a chronic issue due to dietary habits- The same foods and lifestyle that cause acid reflux may also lead to gas|
Home Remedies for Acidity:
1. Fennel or Saunf
Having around 1 teaspoon fennel powder with a glass of warm water relieves acidity and its symptoms like heartburn, bloating and improves digestion.
2. Black Cumin Seeds
Chew cumin seeds directly or boil 1 teaspoon of them in a glass of water and drink it to relieve acidity.
Black cumin seeds are gastro-protective. They are effective in reducing and preventing acidity and its symptoms like heartburn, pain, nausea, bloating, constipation etc.
Suck a piece of clove to get rid of acidity and its symptoms like flatulence, indigestion, nausea, gastric irritability etc.
4. Lukewarm Water
Drinking a glass of lukewarm water empty stomach and before going to sleep at night, provides relief from acidity.
5. Watermelon Juice
A glass of watermelon juice is effective in relieving acidity and is good for digestion as well.
Chewing 1 cardamom pod every day helps to prevent acidity, flatulence and improves digestion
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar contains proteins, enzymes and pectin making it a highly nutritious addition to your diet. Some people claim that acid reflux may be caused by reduced amounts of stomach acid and this vinegar can introduce more acid into the system. However, further research is required.
Almonds are rich in nutrients and fibre, both of which may help to reduce the risk of heartburn and also absorb acid. Though there is no substantial clinical evidence for the same, the nutritional profile of almonds speaks for itself. In a broader sense, acidity issues are also linked with appetite and diet. Almonds can help regulate these factors due to their high nutritional value.
Jaggery contains both potassium and magnesium, a lump of jaggery may just be what you need to calm your roiling tummy. Potassium is essential for maintaining pH balance and stimulating the production of mucus in the stomach lining. This prevents an acid overload and helps relieve your symptoms. Magnesium is required for keeping your digestive system strong and functioning normally, which reduces the risk of acidity and other digestive issues.
10. Mint Leaves
Mint leaves not only aid in digestion but also bring a cooling effect to your entire system. For temporary relief as well as long term support against acid reflux, mint leaves are a simple yet elegant solution.
The lactic acid in buttermilk normalizes the acidity in the stomach and gives a soothing effect. A glass of buttermilk topped with black pepper and coriander helps in instantly easing our symptoms of acidity.
Chewing raw ginger or drinking ginger tea helps prevent acidity and its symptoms. It also aids digestion.
Consuming bananas neutralizes acidity and gives relief from heartburn.
A mixture of milk and banana helps to suppress excess acid secretion.
Papaya reduces gastric acid secretion and gives relief from acidity.
This effect is due to the enzyme papain, present in papaya.
Consumption of ajwain gives relief from acidity and flatulence. It is very good for digestion and is an effective anti-acidic agent.
16. Cold Milk
Drinking a glass of cold milk instantly relieves acidity.
17. Baking Soda
Consuming 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda mixed in 1/2 cup of water gives quick relief from acidity and heartburn.
Adding turmeric to our diet relieves acidity and heartburn caused by it.
19. Sleeping on your left side
If the aforementioned food-related suggestions don’t help you out, you can always try out some non-food related ways like sleeping on your left side! Anatomy has got to do a great deal with this method of dealing with acidity. Since the oesophagus enters from the right side of the stomach, laying on our left side means the lower oesophagal sphincter lies above the level of stomach acid.
If you lie on your right side, the stomach acid covers this sphincter which increases the risk of acid reflux.
20. Chew on some gum
Some studies show that chewing on some gum may help reduce the acidity as the bicarbonate in it can help neutralise the acid to prevent reflux. More substantial research is required to support this finding but chewing gum can also create more saliva which can help in clearing the oesophagus.
21. Raise your head while sleeping
Changing the position in which your sleep by raising the bed’s head so that the symptoms of acid reflux can be reduced is another home remedy that may help. Studies show that people who used a wedge to support and elevate their upper body had lessened acid reflux than those who slept in a flat manner.
In addition to the above, certain lifestyle changes can also help to prevent acidity. They are:
- Stay active and engage in any kind exercise, be it swimming, cycling, dancing or any of your favourite sport.
- Eat smaller meals, 4 to 5 times a day.
- Have your dinner early, at least 2 hours before you hit the bed.
- Don’t overeat and chew your food well while eating.
- Don’t lie down immediately after a meal.
- Lose weight if you are overweight or obese.
- Raise the head end of your bed while lying down.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
Avoid Foods That Trigger Acidity like:
- Very spicy and oily food
- Tea, coffee, cold drinks
- Raw onions, garlic
- Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, kiwis
- Junk food, etc.
What is the fastest way to cure acidity?
Boil some mint leaves in water and drink a glass of this after meals. This is an instant remedy. You may also try other things like sucking on a piece of clove to get relief from acidity.
What should I do if I get acidity everyday?
A sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits can cause acidity frequently.
If you experience severe heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms or conditions often, you must contact the doctor. In case you are having difficulty swallowing or taking pills for acidity everyday and no home remedies are working for you, it’s time to seek medical help.
Which doctor should I consult for acidity?
A gastroenterologist will be able to help you in relieving the symptoms and providing treatment for acidity.
Which foods can I eat to avoid acid reflux?
You can eat vegetables such as spinach, cucumber, carrot, broccoli, cabbage, sweet potato, peas, pumpkin and fruits, especially bananas, apples, watermelon, you can also eat unsweetened yogurt, fenugreek, beans, nuts and seeds, such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, to avoid acid reflux.