Our food habits and the lifestyle we live in these times are a sure ticket to acidity. Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs have numerous adverse effects and serious consequences in the long run. The use of PPIs has been linked to an increased risk of hip fracture, dementia, myocardial infarction, and kidney disease. Other medications such as H2RAs have been linked to an increased risk of bacterial overgrowth and B12 deficiency.
These simple home remedies are kind to the body and not only prevent but also cure acidity and acid reflux. They actually work.
What is Acidity?
The stomach contains millions of glands that secrete gastric juices, mostly hydrochloric acid. The acid activates the secretion of the enzyme pepsin, which starts protein digestion. The stomach also secretes various other enzymes that are necessary for digestion and to help break down food. Sometimes there is excess production of acid in the stomach. These gastric juices move from the stomach into the esophagus. Lying down can result in acid regurgitation, (where the acid sensation is felt in the mouth). This condition is called acidity. Acidity can lead to dyspepsia, heartburn, and even the formation of ulcers.
Symptoms of Acidity
The symptoms of acidity include burning pain in the gullet or chest, regurgitation of the acidic contents of the stomach, prolonged heartburn, belching, nausea, and acid reflux. Acid reflux and heartburn occur when the stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, thereby irritating the lining. Indigestion and severe constipation can be experienced by those affected by acidity.
Causes of Acidity
Acidity is mostly caused by dietary and bad lifestyle choices. Sometimes there could be medical problems and conditions, which could lead to acidity too, like gall stones and GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).
- Excessive smoking
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Eating fried/spicy food on a regular basis
- Not having meals on time
- Eating food rich in fat
- Negative emotions
- Eating large amounts of any food
How to prevent Acidity
Hyperacidity caused by the wrong diet can easily be treated and prevented. Acidity caused by certain medical conditions cannot be cured by home cures and should be treated by a doctor.
Fatty, spicy food, alcohol, and excessive smoking all lead to acidity. Fatty food not only stimulates the stomach to produce extra acid but has been found to lower sphincter pressure at the junction of the stomach and esophagus, which allows the stomach acid to move upwards. The excess of fat triggers the duodenum to produce a hormone that slows down the muscular contractions of the stomach. Eating smaller portions and staying in an upright position for up to 45 minutes of eating helps sometimes. Keeping the head elevated is also said to help solve the acid regurgitation problem.
Studies have found that restricting dietary acid could relieve reflux symptoms. Processed and bottled foods are acidic because they require high acidity as a preservative. It has also been noted that the consumption of such foods coincides with an increase in esophageal cancer caused by chronic acid reflux. To relieve heartburn and reflux symptoms, it is advisable to go with a diet of food that has a pH of above 5 or 6. Nothing below that should be had.
More on the health benefits of acidic and alkaline food.
Some foods are known to aggravate reflux symptoms. Therefore, regardless of pH levels, food like high-fat meats, dairy products, caffeine, chocolate, carbonated beverages, fried foods, and alcohol should be avoided.
Losing weight can be a big help. This is because, sometimes heartburn may be caused by a condition in which, either the stomach or esophagus is squeezed out of proportion.
Antacids help to some extent, but long-term consumption of antacids containing aluminum compounds is said to deplete your calcium, resulting in thinning of the bones. Bicarbonate of soda is another remedy, but when taken frequently leads to alkalosis. This is because soda is rapidly absorbed by the bloodstream.
6 Amazing Home Remedies for Acidity
1. Munakka raisins
Munakka is useful in managing constipation due to its laxative properties. It also helps control acidity due to its cooling property. It helps control acidity by improving digestion. The pitta balancing property of Munakka helps to control the excessive production of acid, hence reducing the symptoms of acidity.
2. Cumin Seeds
In Ayurveda, cumin is considered to be a spice that stimulates digestive juices and helps prevent indigestion and acidity. Cumin stimulates the secretion of digestive enzymes and helps neutralize stomach acid. Cumin or jeera also accelerates digestion and relieves stomach pain. You can chew about a tsp of cumin seeds with warm water, which may be difficult to do. A better way of consuming cumin is by making jeera water. Jeera water is an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins A and C, copper, and manganese.
3. Cold milk
Cold milk may not be recommended by regular doctors for acidity, but it is considered a time-tested remedy for acidity and acid reflux. Holistic healing practitioners believe that cold milk neutralizes any kind of acid formation in the stomach and prevents acid reflux. While drinking a glass of cold milk does give immediate results, the fat in the milk may aggravate the condition by stimulating the stomach cells to produce more acid. So you should have fat-free cold milk without sugar or any sweetener.
Ginger is a traditional remedy for acidity and gastric problems. Ginger works in the digestive tract by getting the digestive juices flowing and neutralizing stomach acids. Ginger also helps reduce wind, bloating, and cramps and protects the gastric lining from acidity. You can drink it in the form of tea. Use a tsp of grated ginger root per cup of hot water. See Ginger health benefits and home remedies
Papayas keep you safe from acidity as it contains the papain enzyme, which helps in improving digestion. Its fibre content also clears the stomach of toxins. Vasant Lad, in his book, ‘The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies’ gives this remedy for hyperacidity and indigestion. Take 1 cup of papaya juice; add 1 tsp of organic sugar and 2 pinches of cardamom. This drink will help control acidity. Read more on Papaya health benefits and home remedies
6. Aloe vera
Research suggests that aloe vera juice may be a safe and effective treatment for reducing reflux symptoms. The results show that aloe vera syrup is a “safe, effective, and well-tolerated treatment for common symptoms of GERD”. Vasant Lad, in his book, ‘The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies’, gives this remedy. “Take 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel with a pinch of baking soda. This will have an immediate soothing effect.” More on Aloe health benefits and home remedies
Another instant remedy he gives is to take 1 cup of water. Add 10 drops of lime juice, 1/2 tsp of organic sugar, and 1/4 tsp of baking soda. He asks us to add the baking soda last. Mix and drink. This helps to neutralize heartburn and acid stomach.
One should also try to get enough beneficial bacteria from the diet. This helps balance the bowel flora and also helps in the proper digestion and assimilation of food. Probiotics can be got from fermented foods. Yogurt is one probiotic you can easily make at home and has a great many health benefits.
Some more home remedies for acidity
Home Remedies for Acidity
Hyperacidity caused by the wrong diet can easily be treated and prevented. Acidity is mostly caused by dietary and bad lifestyle choices. A proper diet and physical activity go a long way in controlling acidity.
Keep a small lump of jaggery in your mouth and keep sucking it slowly. The sweet juice of jaggery will help reduce acidity. Jaggery breaks down and becomes alkaline in the digestive system.
Boil one cup of water and add a tsp of Aniseed to it. Cover and leave overnight. Strain the water in the morning, add 1 tsp of honey, and take it 3 times a day. Saunf or aniseed helps in digestion, thus preventing acidity.
Bananas, Water Melon, grapefruit, and cucumber are some of the fruits which prove helpful in acidity. It is always good to eat fruits every day as it helps to increase alkalinity in the body, thus neutralizing the effects of acidity.
A tsp of lime juice mixed with water and a pinch of soda bicarb is an excellent home remedy for reducing acidity in the stomach.
Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is said to be an effective home remedy for acidity. Take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and then follow it up with a glass of water.
Virgin coconut oil is very helpful in acidity. Coconut oil is an excellent antibiotic. Studies have also confirmed its high antimicrobial and anti-bacterial activity.
Almonds help to quickly control heartburn. A few pieces of almonds taken daily helps relieve acidity.
Add a tsp of Caraway seeds (shah jeera) to one and a half liters of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Drink it while still warm, 2-3 times a day.
Powder equal quantities of clove and cardamom and use the powder as a mouth freshener after a meal. It helps to cure acidity and also bad breath.
Slice an inch of ginger and simmer in 2 cups of water, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain and drink it about 20 minutes before a meal.
Sipping on holy basil (tulsi) tea helps alleviate acidity. Mint leaf tea is also a good home remedy for acidity.
Cynodon dactylon is another natural remedy to treat acidity. Make a juice of the herb and mix about 3-4 tsp of the juice in 1 cup of water. Drink this on an empty stomach in the morning.