A complaint of acid reflux is pretty much common. Acid reflux can be a state of discomfort. Acid reflux can be identified by symptoms like heartburn (a burning sensation in the upper part of the chest) and regurgitation (the reflux of gastric acids or food). Some of the other symptoms of an acid reflux diet are burping, nausea, bloating, dry cough, or continuous dry cough.
A brief understanding of acid reflux
The human body is never sleeping. This means some metabolic and physiological processes are taking place in our bodies. To maintain the proper functioning of our body, there exist many processes. One of the biological structures that helps in maintaining the correct biological processes is the sphincters.
These are made of circular muscles, mainly found in different tracts of the body. These muscles regulate the opening and closing of the passages of the body. For example, an anal sphincter allows the movement of your bowels. Sphincters are found in different parts of the body, like the gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, and blood vessels.
The gastrointestinal tract of the human body contains four different sphincters. One such sphincter found in our body is the lower esophageal sphincter. The esophagus is known as the food pipe in layman’s language. At the end of the esophagus, a lower esophageal sphincter is found. This sphincter allows the passing of food from the esophagus to the stomach and prevents the flow back of gastric juices to the esophagus.
Sometimes this sphincter allows regurgitation of stomach content. If the gastric content and juices flow back to the food pipe, it is referred to as acid reflux. If it is frequent, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD.)
What causes acid reflux?
Acid reflux is not a gender-specific condition and can affect people from any age group. The main cause of acid reflux might be unknown in a lot of encounters. But acid reflux can be triggered by different factors. By controlling the factors that might accelerate acid reflux, the discomfort can be avoided. Most of the time, these triggers depend on individuals.
What one person can eat with ease might cause acid reflux in some other person. Food items that are acidic or rich in fats are one of the popular causes of acid reflux in people. Acidic foods are also one of the factors that can result in acid reflux. Large meals or being overweight can also exaggerate the distress caused by acid reflux.
Fatty and fried foods can also trigger acid reflux. Certain beverages like alcohol can also result in acid reflux. Drinks that contain caffeine like tea, coffee, or soda, can also cause acid reflux. Citric juices and carbonated drinks are also one of the reasons that can lead to acid reflux. Carbonated drinks result in gastric distension (enlargement of the stomach), which alters the gastric pressure leading to acid reflux. Smoking is another reason that can cause acid reflux.
Smoking decreases pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, which makes it easier for the gastric juices to flow back to the food pipe. Hiatus hernia is one of the medical conditions that can elevate the risks for acid reflux. Weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter can also be one of the possible reasons for acid reflux.
Depending on how severe and frequent acid reflux is, remedies are being used for treating it. The foremost method of its treatment includes home remedies or OTC medicines. For severe cases of acid reflux, surgeries can also be necessary. One of the ways acid reflux can be controlled is by monitoring your lifestyle. One of the ways to customize your lifestyle for controlling acid reflux is to consume an acid reflux diet. Here are six foods that can be added to your acid reflux diet to lessen the frequency and severity of acid reflux.
Ginger has been used widely for gastrointestinal troubles. To save us from the unpleasant experience of acid reflux, ginger has beneficial results. Ginger root is preferred rather than ginger tea. Ginger root tea can be made easily by peeling and mincing ginger root. This can be further added to boiling water and boiled for a few minutes.
After boiling, strain it, and honey or lemon juice can be added to enhance its taste. This acid reflux diet can be used as a temporary and natural solution for acid reflux. But if acid reflux is recurring, it is recommended to consult an expert. This is because frequent acid reflux can indicate an underlying medical condition.
2. Watery foods
Watery foods, because of their higher water content, can be listed as a good option for an acid reflux diet. The reason can be conferred to the dilution of stomach acid, weakening its harmful effects.
Some of the watery foods that can be consumed are cucumber, lettuce, celery, watermelon, or tomatoes. Consumption of these foods can lessen the symptoms of acid reflux.
3. Alkaline foods
Adding alkaline food to your acid reflux diet can make the symptoms of acid reflux better. Acidic foods can worsen acid reflux; on the contrary, alkaline foods can soothe it effectively. Alkaline foods are beneficial for acid reflux for two reasons. The first reason is that it results in the neutralization of gastric acids.
Another reason for the same is that it suppresses the effects of acid reflux. Some of the food choices that can act as acid-reducing foods are bananas, cauliflower, melons, apples, and yogurt.
4. Lemon water
Lemon water is acidic but when used in the right amount can be the best acid reflux diet. But how to use lemon water to control acid reflux, if it is already acidic? To use lemon water as an acid reflux diet, you should add and dilute it water (approximately one tablespoon in 8 ounces of water.)
Another way it has been an acid reflux diet is its consumption before 30 minutes of consuming a meal. It should be noted that no research supports lemon water for acid reflux. But some people reported an improvement in acid reflux by its consumption. In some cases, it can worsen the distress. This is why you should first check if it helps your body or not.
5. High fiber foods
Among all the benefits of a fiber-rich diet, controlling acid reflux should be added as one of the benefits. Fibers help in the optimization of digestion and provide the feeling of satiety, which helps in avoiding overeating. As has already been discussed, overeating is one of the possible causes of acid reflux, meaning it can control the risks of acid reflux.
Adding to that, there are certain fibers that are proven to neutralize gastric acid. This can result in a lowered frequency and severity of acid reflux. Some of the food options that can be incorporated into your acid reflux diet are whole grains (oatmeal and brown rice), green vegetables (broccoli), and root vegetables.
6. Apple cider vinegar
This is a fermented liquid made by the fermentation of crushed apples. It can be used as an acid reflux diet to cure the affliction caused by acid reflux. It can be used in its diluted form (mixing it with water to dilute its concentration) to treat acid reflux. It is said to improve acid reflux.
Diluting apple cider vinegar has another benefit, i.e., it prevents the damage caused by using its concentrated form. To enhance its taste, honey can be added to it with water before consumption. If it irritates your digestive tract, it is advised to avoid it.
Other beneficial foods for acid reflux
Milk is a reservoir of benefits, and it also can improve the symptoms of acid reflux. If you are considering milk as a remedy, the type of milk you choose is very important. Low-fat or no-fat milk has positive results for acid reflux. Other dairy products like yogurt and cheese too can be considered for the same. Fatty and fried meats can be replaced with lean meats for the reduction of symptoms of acid reflux.
Soups that are creamy and fatty should be avoided, and broth-based and homemade soups should be consumed. Tomato-based soups are also recommended to be avoided. Starch with creamy sauces should be avoided, rather boiled or baked options should be considered. Other eating habits beneficial for acid reflux should be inculcated.
One of the ways to reduce the risks of acid reflux is by consuming smaller and more frequent diets in place of large meals. Managing a healthy weight can also help people with acid reflux. Because smoking is one of the factors leading to acid reflux, quitting smoking is one of the lifestyle changes you can make.
Wrapping It Up
Acid reflux is one discomforting condition that has affected almost everyone. Acid reflux can be easily cured by home remedies or OTC medicines. Modification in your diet can show effective results for counteracting the troubles of acid reflux.
If you have tried home remedies, OTC medicines, and lifestyle changes and yet notice no improvement, you should take help from primary health care. Chronic acid reflux can be indicative of a more serious health condition; hence you should keep a check on it.