Acidity occurs when there is excess secretion of acids in the gastric glands of the stomach, producing gas, bad breath, stomach ache and other symptoms. It triggers an unpleasant reaction that also often makes you feel sick and miserable. According to Delhi-based Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat, “Acidity can be caused due to a long gap between meals, empty stomach or excessive intake of tea, coffee, smoking or alcohol”. When the secretion of acids is more than usual – we experience heartburn or acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), which is normally triggered when we eat a heavy meal or spicy foods. Acidity can turn out to be quite annoying. In order to get rid of the same, we often resort to various remedies. However, if you have failed at doing so, then fret not, we’ve got your back. In this article we have included a list of few home remedies for acidity that may be of great help in getting rid of acidity problems.
Simply changing your dietary habits or the way you sleep may significantly reduce your symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux, improving your quality of life.
What Is Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is when stomach acid gets pushed up into the esophagus, which is the tube that carries food and drink from the mouth to the stomach.
Some reflux is totally normal and harmless, usually causing no symptoms. But when it happens too often, it burns the inside of the esophagus.
An estimated 14–20% of all adults in the US have reflux in some form or another.
What Are the Symptoms?
The most common symptom of acid reflux is known as heartburn, which is a painful, burning feeling in the chest or throat.
Researchers estimate that around 7% of Americans experience heartburn daily.
Of those who regularly experience heartburn, 20–40% are diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is the most serious form of acid reflux. GERD is the most common digestive disorder in the US.
In addition to heartburn, common symptoms of reflux include an acidic taste at the back of the mouth and difficulty swallowing. Other symptoms include a cough, asthma, tooth erosion and inflammation in the sinuses.
- Poor eating habits.
- Erratic meal timings and having a very late dinner.
- Stress and anxiety.
- Eating a lot of spicy, fried and junk foods.
- Excessive consumption of caffeinated beverages, like coffee or tea.
- Physical inactivity.
- Going to bed soon after having food.
- Smoking and alcohol abuse.
- Continued usage of certain medications.
- Disturbed sleeping pattern.
- Other conditions that may cause include pregnancy, obesity, ageing, and fasting.
Prevention And Home Remedies:
Basil LeavesThe soothing and carminative properties of basil leaves can give you instant relief from acidity. At the first sign of gas, eat a few basil leaves or boil 3-4 basil leaves in a cup of water and let it simmer for a few minutes. Sip on it frequently. This is one of the best home remedies for acidity.
FennelYou can also “chew sauf after meals, to prevent stomach acidity”, advises Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat. “For its multitude of gastrointestinal benefits, fennel tea is sure to help the digestive tract be healthy and happy. The tea is considered very useful to help indigestion and bloating because of the oils found in these seeds”, according to Shilpa Arora ND, a renowned Health Practitioner, Nutritionist and certified Macrobiotic Health Coach.
CinnamonThis humble spice works as a natural antacid for stomach acidity and can settle your stomach, by improving digestion and absorption. For relief, drink cinnamon tea to heal infections in the gastrointestinal tract. Cinnamon is a powerhouse of nutrients and loaded with health benefiting properties.
ButtermilkDid you know that buttermilk is categorised as a sattvic food in Ayurveda? So, the next time you get acidity after eating a heavy or spicy meal, skip the antacid and drink a glass of chaas instead. Buttermilk contains lactic acid that normalizes acidity in the stomach. Sprinkle a dash of black pepper or 1 teaspoon of ground coriander leaves for best results.
JaggeryEver wondered why our elders finish a meal with gur? “Due to its high magnesium content, jaggery helps boost intestinal strength”, says Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja, Fortis Hospital, New Delhi. It aids digestion and makes your digestive system more alkaline in nature, thus reducing stomach acidity. Suck on a small piece of gur after a meal, and reap the benefits. Since jaggery also helps maintain normal body temperature, cooling the stomach – experts recommend drinking Gur Sharbat (jaggery soaked in ice cold water) during the summer.
ClovesOver the years, cloves have grabbed a prominent place in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda to treat digestive disorders. Cloves are carminative in nature, thus preventing the formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract. Add cloves while cooking foods like kidney beans or black gram that tend to cause flatulence. You can even eat crushed cloves and cardamom (mixed in equal amounts) to treat acidity, and get rid of bad breath (which often accompanies this problem).
Cumin SeedsCumin seeds work as a great acid neutralizer, aid digestion and relieve stomach pain. Slightly crush some roasted cumin seeds, stir it into a glass of water or steep one teaspoon of cumin seeds in a cup of boiled water and drink it after every meal.
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GingerBeneath its knobbly exterior, ginger hides many health benefits. “Ginger has excellent digestive and anti-inflammatory properties”, says Dr. Ahuja, Fortis Hospital. To help neutralize stomach acids, you can chew a slice of fresh ginger, or have a spoonful of ginger juice two-three times a day, or steep fresh ginger in a cup of boiling water and drink up.
Cold MilkFor those who are not lactose intolerant, milk can help stabilize gastric acids in the stomach. It is rich in calcium, which prevents the buildup of acid in the stomach. “All you need to do is drink a glass of cold milk the next time you suffer from acidity”, suggests Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat.
Apple Cider VinegarVery often, your acid reflux is in fact the result of too little stomach acid. That’s where apple cider vinegar steps in. Simply mix 1-2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and drink it once or twice a day. You can also take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and chase it with a glass of water.11. Coconut Water “When you drink coconut water, your body’s pH acidic level turns alkaline”, adds Dr. Ahuja, Fortis Hospital. It also helps produce mucous in your stomach, which protects the stomach from harmful effects of excessive acid production. Since it is rich in fibre, it aids digestion and prevents the re-occurrence of acidity.
BananaWhen it comes to health benefiting properties, bananas hold much importance. Bananas contain natural antacids that can act as a buffer against acid reflux. This is the simplest home remedy for getting rid of acidity. Eat one banana every day to prevent discomfort. So if you ever happen to suffer from acidity, then bring these home remedies to your rescue.
The Bottom Line
Some scientists claim that dietary factors are a major underlying cause of acid reflux.
While this might be true, more research is needed to substantiate these claims.
Nevertheless, studies show that simple dietary and lifestyle changes can significantly ease heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms.