Foods That Fight Acid Reflux
For anyone with acid reflux, it’s probably no shock to learn that what we eat can have a significant impact on your likelihood of suffering from heartburn. Traditionally, patients have been advised to avoid acidic foods and drinks like tomatoes, citrus fruits, and coffee. It’s believed that eating these foods may increase the acidity of the stomach and therefore the acidity of the contents that come in contact with the throat, exacerbating pain symptoms. Limiting these foods will not prevent acid reflux, but they may diminish the pain it causes by decreasing the acidity of the bile. In general, alcohol, peppermint, spicy food, chocolate, and fatty foods are thought to trigger heartburn symptoms and should be avoided.
Conversely, some researchers argue that eating acidic foods may actually be beneficial for those suffering from acid reflux and even recommend taking HCL, which is stomach acid. The consumption of acidic foods or HCL supplements may signal the body to slow production of hydrochloric acid, thereby decreasing the acidity levels of the stomach and acid reflux. One study found that the consumption of acidic foods successfully decreased the incidence of heartburn when coupled with a low-carbohydrate diet.
Support Through Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic approachesto GERD aim to address the underlying causes especially those related tolifestyle, diet and exercise habits. These therapies work toward correctingfoundational anatomic and physiologic imbalances that create and sustainongoing GERD.
In summary, ifheartburn or GERD is a problem, consider the following
Beyond the lifestyle modifications listed above, there are pharmaceutical products that address symptoms of GERD. As state laws allow and if the GERD is not managed solely by other means, naturopathic doctors may employ drug therapy while working with patients to address underlying causes of GERD. Some patients have complicated and severe GERD and may require appropriate referral and even surgery.
Looking for more information on natural and healthy solutions, please take a look at the Institute for Natural Medicine content resources.
Elevate Your Upper Body While Sleeping
Acid reflux often gets worse at night, because when you lie down, it is easier for stomach acid to flow into your esophagus. You can improve nighttime symptoms by changing the angle of your body during sleep.
Specifically, it is helpful to raise your head and shoulders above your stomach and keep your esophagus tilted downward. For example, you can elevate the head of your bed or prop yourself up on a slanted pillow. “This lets gravity help clear anything that comes into the esophagus at night,” says Wolf.
A small study of 20 people published in 2011 in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that people who elevated the head of their beds with an 8-inch block for one week saw significant improvements in their heartburn symptoms and had less disturbed sleep.
And a 2016 review of four studies found that even for people already taking acid reflux medications, adding an elevated sleeping position helped symptoms more than just taking medication alone.
To elevate your bed, you can use bed risers under the top two feet of your bed frame, or if this isn’t possible, you can buy a sloped pillow to help angle your head and shoulders upward while sleeping.
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Heartburn Relief: Simple Remedies To Put Out The Fire
- The terms heartburn and acid reflux are often used interchangeably, but heartburn is actually a symptom of acid reflux.
- Pay attention to the foods that trigger heartburn for you and eliminate them from your diet.
Heartburn occurs when the muscular valve between your stomach and esophagus loosens or doesnt completely close, allowing stomach acid to escape into your esophagus. You may be very familiar with the symptoms of heartburn that burning sensation just below your breast bone, that can rise up into your chest. You may also have a bitter or sour taste in your mouth. The terms heartburn and acid reflux are often used interchangeably, but heartburn is actually a symptom of acid reflux.
If you experience occasional heartburn, there are simple things you can do to identify the cause, and ways to prevent the burn.
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Foods That May Cause Heartburn
Foods commonly known to be heartburn triggers cause the esophageal sphincter to relax and delay the digestive process, letting food sit in the stomach longer, says Gupta. The worst culprits? Foods that are high in fat, salt or spice such as:
- Fried food
- Carbonated beverages
“Moderation is key since many people may not be able to or want to completely eliminate these foods,” says Gupta. “But try to avoid eating problem foods late in the evening closer to bedtime, so they’re not sitting in your stomach and then coming up your esophagus when you lay down at night. It’s also a good idea to eat small frequent meals instead of bigger, heavier meals and avoid late-night dinners and bedtime snacks.”
Natural Remedies For Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Are there truly natural remedies for heartburn? Can you reduce heartburn naturally or even get rid of it completely? Yes, you most certainly can!
First, lets look a what causes heartburn:
Weve been told by the conventional medical world that too much stomach acid is the cause of reflux and heartburn. This simply isnt correct. Stomach acid is incredibly beneficial to the body and an increase in stomach acid can actually reduce, and many times cure, issues like acid reflux or heartburn and improve common issues like irritable bowel syndrome , leaky gut, colitis, and other gastrointestinal problems.
Lets break this down. . .
Stomach acid is a necessary part of the digestive process. The acid is our first line of defense against pathogens, bacteria, parasites, etc. It also helps us digest our food properly.
When the body is relaxed, stomach acid is released into the stomach and it breaks down fats into fatty acids, carbohydrates into glucose, and proteins into amino acids. This breakdown is very important because it allows the body to use the nutrients in our food.
When the food in your stomach has been mixed with the correct amount of stomach acid, enzymes, and other digestive secretions, it will reach an acidity between 1.5-3.0 on the ph scale and then move into the small intestine to continue the digestive process.
So, to put it simply, heartburn is caused by too little stomach acid.
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Take An Acid Neutralizer
When heartburn hits and you need relief, try an antacid like Tums, Rolaids, or Maalox. These medications act quickly to neutralize the acid in the stomach, which can reduce your symptoms. Dont have any on hand? Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in eight ounces of water and drink to neutralize the acid in your stomach. Just use caution with this home remedy since its high in sodium and shouldnt be used by people on a sodium-restricted diet.
We also like H-2 blockers, also known as Histamine H2-receptor antagonists. These include such brand names a Pepcid, Pepcid AC, Tagamet, and Zantac. These medications dont work as quickly as acid neutralizers, but they are still very fast. H2 blockers should be taken about 30 minutes before you eat or when you typically experience symptoms.
The benefit of H2 blockers is that they work longer than antacids, but they dont have the same medical risks associated with proton pump inhibitors. As is true with all medications we highly recommend that you discuss use with your doctor before you begin any drug treatment, prescription or over-the-counter.
And remember that while these quick fixes may help relieve your GERD symptoms, they dont address the underlying cause of those symptoms. Your goal should be to stop reflux from happening in the first place, which is why we recommend several long-term solutions to cure heartburn.
Adding Ginger Into The Diet
Some research suggests that ginger may help with nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms. However, the limited quality of included evidence means that more research is necessary to confirm these benefits.
Based on the existing evidence, researchers suggest a daily dose of of ginger. It is possible that a higher intake could have adverse effects.Ginger is an easy ingredient to incorporate into the diet. People can try:
- adding it to hot water to make ginger tea
- including it in a stir-fry
- boiling it in a soup
- grating it raw onto salads or cereals
Individuals who dislike the taste of ginger can mask it by including ginger in recipes with other strong flavors.
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Why Consider Naturalmethods For Gerd
This is an important question toconsider. In 2019, it was reported that Ranitidine a popularantacid used to treat heartburn and , has a tendency to break down into acancer-causing agent. Over 15 million prescriptions are written each year forbabies, children and adults and many more find Zantac over the counter.Numerous manufacturers have recalled this and similar drugs both in the USA andabroad.
Research shows that another popular class ofdrugs used for GERD, proton pump inhibitors , have been associated witheverything from cognitive decline, osteoporosis to early death. It is alsoknown that having less acid in the stomach allows bacterial overgrowth to takeplace. Those who take PPIs have a higher chance of developing pneumonia and bacterial Clostridium difficile infections inhospital settings.
How What And When
Watch how you eat: Dont inhale giant mouthfuls of food. Take smaller bites and eat slowly, allowing your stomach time to digest and without giving it an excuse to pump out excess acid.
Watch what you eat: Youre probably aware that specific foods trigger heartburn, usually foods high in acid or spicy foods. Avoid these as best you can to ward off
Watch when you eat: Dont eat within 3-4 hours before bed. Lying down puts more pressure on your LES and increases the likelihood of acid sneaking through.
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Use Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice Root
There are no studies directly linking DLR as a cure for GERD. However, it has been seen to increase mucous production, thereby treating gastric ulcers. Discuss with an alternative health care provider about how much of DLR you can include in your diet for GERD.18
How to: Decide on the dosage based on your doctors recommendation.
Limit Your Intake Of Carbonated Beverages
Healthcare professionals sometimes advise people with GERD to limit their intake of carbonated beverages.
This is because studies have observed that regular consumption of carbonated or fizzy beverages, including soft drinks, club soda, and seltzer, could be linked to a higher risk of reflux .
One study found that carbonated soft drinks, in particular, worsened certain acid reflux symptoms, including heartburn, fullness, and burping .
The main reason is that the carbon dioxide gas in carbonated beverages causes people to burp more often an effect that can increase the amount of acid escaping into the esophagus .
Drinking carbonated beverages temporarily increases the frequency of burping, which may promote acid reflux. If they worsen your symptoms, try drinking less or avoiding them altogether.
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When Should You Get Yourself Checked
While the home remedies are natural and healthy, it might be harmful to solely depend on it and not go to your doctor. Get yourself checked if you experience the following symptoms:
- Severe and frequent heartburn that makes you feel like vomiting
- Pain while swallowing
- A chronic and severe cough
- No relief from symptoms even after using OTC drugs for more than a week
- Chest pain with pain in the arms, legs, and neck
- Stomach pain
When To See A Doctor For Acid Reflux
If you are having frequent, recurrent acid reflux or if your acid reflux is interfering with your quality of life, you should schedule a check-up with your doctor. Your doctor can help you determine what may be behind your heartburn and work with you to manage your symptoms.
Your doctor can also assess you for a more severe form of acid reflux called GERD, which might require more treatment, like medication or even surgery. It could also be gastric ulcer disease, which can be dangerous if left untreated.
“Acid reflux is usually easily treated with diet and lifestyle changes,” Dykstra says. “However, it is possible that other conditions are causing it, such as infection, food intolerances or other disorders. It’s important to discuss symptoms with your physician to determine the cause.”
She also recommends seeking help from a registered dietitian. “The goal is to avoid restricting foods if possible,” she says, “and a dietitian can help you figure out how to do that.”
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Regulate Hydrochloric Acid Levels
One of the possible causes of heartburn and acid reflux is a low production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. You can regulate this with different foods:
- Natural high-quality sea salts such as the Himalayan salt have enough chlorine content to make your body produce more hydrochloric acid.2
- Cabbage juice is a good stimulant for the body to produce more acids.3
How to: Use Himalayan salt instead of regular salt while cooking. Drink a few teaspoons of normal or fermented cabbage juice made of sauerkraut.
Can Drinking Milk Help My Heartburn
You may have heard that drinking a glass of milk can relieve heartburn. While it’s true that milk can temporarily buffer stomach acid, nutrients in milk, particularly fat, may stimulate the stomach to produce more acid.
Even though milk might not be a great heartburn remedy, however, it’s a rich source of bone-building calcium. Try fat-free skim milk and don’t overdo it. Drink no more than 8 ounces of skim milk at a time — as a snack in between meals. Overfilling the stomach may increase heartburn.
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Natural Home Remedies For Heartburn Acid Reflux And Gerd
Digestive disorders are extremely common, uncomfortable, and increase in frequency as we age. Because even though we grow older, we do not become any wiser! We continue with our lazy lifestyle and unhealthy food habits with a lot of junk. And we end up with all possible ailments such as heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD.
The Problem With Acid Reflux Medications
Due to the uncomfortableand in some cases, unbearablesymptoms, many people turn to over-the-counter and prescription medications for quick heartburn relief. The most common types of medications used are H2 blockers and proton-pump inhibitors , which both suppress stomach acid production really effectively. But as with any drug, there can be side effects. The short-term effects of these drugs may include constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. All uncomfortable but not particularly worrisome or serious.
Long-term use of H2 blockers and PPIs, however, can have more serious consequences. Stomach acid plays a crucial role in breaking down food for proper digestion and absorption, so continual suppression of the acid may lead to nutrient deficiencies. Additionally, PPIs may increase blood levels of the hormone gastrin, which can leach calcium from the bones. This combination can increase the risk for bone fractures and osteoporosis. The acidity of the stomach also works to kill bacteria that can cause illnesses. So, chronically low stomach acid levels can leave you at risk for infections. Additionally, the FDA recently put a warning on a commonly used H2 blocker, ranitidine, because it contains a cancer causing chemical called NDMA.
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Natural Remedies For Acid Reflux
If youve experienced the occasional bout of heartburn, you know how uncomfortable the painful burning sensation can be. Maybe you want to go all-natural or you want to treat heartburn symptoms that don’t respond to medication. If this describes your situation, consider turning to diet and lifestyle modifications, as well as natural remedies to relieve your symptoms.
Heartburn may be caused by the backflow of your stomach contents into your esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that transports food to your stomach. When you have backflow from your stomach, the medical condition is called acid reflux. Your pain may also be caused by a more severe or chronic form of reflux called gastroesophageal reflux disease .
This article will look at several acid reflux remedies and lifestyle modifications that may help.
Verywell / Emily Roberts