Natural cures and home remedies for Acidity
All the organs that help the digestive process, such as digestion, processing and assimilating food are in the abdomen. These organs are the oesophagus, the stomach, both the intestines, the liver, gall bladder and the pancreas. Most of the conditions related to the abdomen like acidity are caused by wrong diet and incorrect method of eating.
What is Acidity?
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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 oesophagus. 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 formation of ulcers.
Symptoms of Acidity
The symptoms of acidity include a 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 oesophagus, 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 (GastroEsophagal Reflux Disease).
- Excessive smoking
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Eating fried/spicy food on 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 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 spinchter pressure at the junction of the stomach and oesophagus, 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 upto 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, 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 which has a pH of above 5 or 6. Nothing below that should be had. More on 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 oesophagus is squeezed out of proportion.
Antacids help to some extent, but long term consumption of antacids containing aluminium compounds is said to deplete your calcium, resulting in thining 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 blood stream.
Some of the natural food that helps cure acidity includes almonds, which helps balance your pH; unprocessed aloe vera juice; a cup of warm water and lime juice; and even a glass of milk. Strangely, chewing gum is said to help in treating acidity, by producing saliva, which acts as an acid buffer. Apple cider vinegar is another effective home remedy for acidity.
6 Amazing Home Remedies for Acidity
Munakka raisinsMunakka 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 excessive production of acid, hence reducing the symptoms of acidity.
Cumin SeedsIn 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 the 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, Vitamin A and C, copper, and manganese.
Cold milkCold 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 neutralises 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.
GingerGinger is a traditional remedy for acidity and gastric problems. Ginger works in the digestive tract by getting the digestive juices flowing and neutralising stomach acids. Ginger also helps reduce wind, bloating, cramps and protects the gastric lining from acidity. You can drink it in the form of a tea. Use a tsp of grated ginger root per cup of hot water. See Ginger health benefits and home remedies
PapayaPapayas 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 papaya juice; add 1 tsp of organic sugar and 2 pinches of cardamom. This drink will help control acidity. Read more onPapaya health benefits and home remedies
Aloe veraResearch 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 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.