When we swallow the food we eat, a valve called as gastroesophageal sphincter acts as a wall in the esophagus letting the food flow down into the stomach. When this valve becomes weak or does not function properly, it causes the hydrochloric acid in the stomach to move upwards in to the esophagus. This condition is called acid reflux.
What Causes Stomach Acid to Reflux?
It is caused in people of all ages for reasons that are unknown. Most common cause for acid reflux to happen is hiatal or hernia. A hole in the diaphragm allows the upper part of the stomach to enter the chest cavity. The other reasons for acid reflux can be as follows
- Eating large meals.
- Lying down immediately after your meal.
- Snacking just before going to bed.
- Excess consumption of tea, coffee, alcohol or carbonated drinks.
- Excessive Smoking.
- Taking aspirin, ibuprofen, certain muscle relaxers, or blood pressure medications.
Food Types That Reduce Acid Reflux
We have come up with food types that reduce acid reflux and relieve you off the burning sensation caused by acid reflux. It is always recommended to make lifestyle changes to avoid acid reflux. A major part of the disease can be controlled by making minor but effective changes to our diet. Here are the food types that help you.
1. Low Fat Milk Reduces The Acid Reflux Immediately
The fat present in different types of milk may aggravate the heart burn sensation or the acid present in the stomach. It is always advisable to consume low fat or non-fat milk. It gives immediate relief by acting as a lining between the stomach walls and the acid present in the stomach. Low fat Yogurt is also supposed have similar soothing qualities along with a healthy dose of probiotics.
Pro tip: Combination of milk and water in a 50:50 ratio works wonders for stomach acidity. Having buttermilk instead of yogurt relieves stomach acidity or acid reflux.
2. Ginger Has Natural Anti-Inflammatory Properties
It is known for its natural anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is widely used in treatment for heart burn and gastrointestinal problems. Its alkaline nature reduces irritation in the digestive tract and gives relief from burning sensation caused due to acid reflux. Ginger can be consumed as ginger tea by boiling pieces of ginger in water or can be used in grated form or as slices in smoothies or salads.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar Helps If Consumed With Warm Water
Apple cider vinegar helps in acid reflux when consumed with warm water. It is always advisable not to consume it at full concentration as it may cause irritation in the esophagus. Apple cider vinegar helps if taken before or after meals or first thing in the morning. Though the benefits are not proven by a research, many people and medical practitioners believe it to be healthy and helpful.
4. Lemon In Small Quantity Mixed With Water Can Be Had On An Empty Stomach
Though lemon is considered to be acidic in nature, small amount of lemon with warm water if consumed on an empty stomach helps in neutralizing the acid present in the stomach. Lemon water also acts as a detox agent and helps in removing excess acid and toxins. Excretion of toxins from the stomach relieves half the uneasiness caused by acid reflux.
5. Watery Foods Help Reduce The Concentration Of Acid
Foods that contain large amounts of water in them can be extremely helpful in acid reflux. The water content in these foods reduce the concentration of acid present in the stomach. They also keep you hydrated and help in problems related to skin and hair as well. Foods that have high water content are as follows
- Broths and Soups
Cucumber is supposed to be the most effective when compared to rest of the foods as water content in cucumber is the highest and the best part is that it is edible in raw form, so the water present is not lost unlike other foods when they are cooked.
6. High Fiber Foods Make You Feel Full
One of the main causes for acid reflux is overeating. To control this problem, you can have foods that make you feel full for a long time. Food’s high in fiber make you feel full for a long time. Foods that are high on fiber are
- Whole grains such as brown rice and couscous.
- Root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots and beets.
- Green vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli and green beans.
7. Egg Whites Are A Good Source Of Fat Free Protein
Egg whites are a good source of fat free protein. People who want to reduce their fat intake for acid reflux can prefer egg whites to whole eggs. Egg whites are a healthy option to maintain muscle mass in ageing people. Though egg yolks have high levels of cholesterol in them, it is advisable to have a yolk once in a while as its nutrient value is very high compared to white.
8. Honey Has Enzymes That Aid Digestion
Honey is reported to be helpful in acid reflux by many people. It contains enzymes that can aid digestion. Honey being a natural sweetener, can be added to oat meal in acid reflux diet. It not only makes a good combination but also enhances the taste of oats.
What Foods To Avoid If You Have Acid Reflux?
Foods that take longer to digest are the worst to have if you suffer from acid reflux. It is always recommended to avoid fatty foods, fried foods and spicy foods. These are the type of foods that trigger acid reflux. There are other foods as well that can be avoided to get relief from or avoid acid reflux. They are
- Fast Food
- Garlic and Onions
- Fatty meat such as bacon and sausage
- Carbonated beverages
These foods and beverages are to be avoided by people who are looking for relief from acid reflux. Apart from the above-mentioned foods, there are a few changes that can be made to your lifestyle which help a great deal.
Following the below simple steps on a daily basis helps you reduce your acid reflux by many folds. Try these tips:
- Avoid consumption of alcohol.
- Quit smoking with immediate effect.
- Eat slowly and do not over eat.
- Do not lye down immediately after a meal. Stay upright for at least 2 hours post meals.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Raise the head of your bed four to six inches to reduce reflux symptoms while sleeping.