Acidity is a common ailment that affects millions of people worldwide, resulting in acid reflux and heartburn. A person suffering from acidity can neither enjoy nor feel satisfied after consuming food because symptoms worsen after every meal. Acidity also causes discomfort throughout the day and lowers the standard of living. Although medications are prescribed to deal with this problem, the best way forward is to adopt healthy food and lifestyle choices.
What is acidity?
The stomach contains acid to kill any germs we might have ingested along with our food or drinks. This acid is so potent that the body has to replace the stomach lining every five days on average. Acid is also produced in the stomach on the breakdown of foods having certain characteristics: high on added sugar, spice or starch, processed, stale and reheated, and having containing caffeine and alcohol. When too much acid is produced in the stomach, it gets pushed upwards through the food pipe, and this causes the burning, painful feeling in the chest or throat known as heartburn. Some amount of acid reflux is normal. However, if heartburn is accompanied by difficulty swallowing, the taste of bile at the back of the throat, tooth erosion, sinus inflammation, and persistent cough, chronic acidity is the most likely culprit.
Home remedies for acidity
Solutions to acidity have existed for millennia. These tried and tested remedies are a ready way to deal with acidity without resorting to prescription drugs, which may be addictive or have other side effects. Here are some of the most effective methods for you to try:
Buttermilk – Buttermilk, of "chaach" in India, should be consumed after a spicy or heavy meal to avoid excess acid production. The lactic acid in buttermilk is an effective agent to reduce stomach acidity. In Ayurveda, buttermilk is considered a sattvic or "life giving" food. A glass of buttermilk seasoned with ground black pepper and coriander leaves is yummy too!
Coconut water – This miracle cure can convert the body's pH level from acidic to alkaline. It aids in the production of mucous in the stomach and so protects the stomach lining from excess acid. Its fiber rich properties aid in digestion as well.
Cold milk – An ever ready solution and rich in calcium, milk prevents acid build up and hence stabilizes the stomach environment. This a good option for those who are lactose intolerant.
Basil leaves – This remedy is one which shows positive results immediately. Chewing a few leaves, or steeping the leaves in warm water and drinking as tea is all that is required for instant relief.
Cumin seeds – Great for regular stomach aches as well as acidity, cumin seeds are a natural digestion aid. Steep in water to make tea, or crush and stir in water to consume. Either way, it is an effective acid neutralizer.
Fennel – Chewing fennel seeds after a meal is an age old practice in India. The oil contained in fennel prevents indigestion and reduces bloating. It also helps in maintaining a healthy digestive system overall.
Cloves – This ancient spice is a common ingredient in Indian cooking and has earned its rightful place in the health books. Having carminative properties, cloves prevent gas formation in the digestive tract and reduce flatulence. Consume a few milligrams of crushed equal amounts of crushed cardamom and cloves for combating acidity.
Ginger – Another versatile spice, ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming a piece of fresh ginger or drinking warm ginger tea works wonders at reducing acidity symptoms.
Jaggery – Unlike white sugar, jaggery contributes to overall body alkalinity and digestive system alkalinity in particular. Jaggery's high magnesium content also boost the wellbeing of intestines. It cools the stomach and helps the body to maintain a good temperature. Sucking on a piece of jaggery post a meal, or drinking jaggery soaked in cold water reduces acidity.
Banana – This fruit has natural antacids, and eating a banana a day is enough to keep acidity at bay.
Apple cider vinegar – It is a little-known fact that too little stomach acid can also cause acid reflux. Have a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with some water to reduce discomfort in such cases.
Here are some proactive lifestyle changes to combat acidity effectively:
• Quit smoking
• Consume whole grains
• If you have a sweet tooth and need to indulge every day, choose healthy options such as watermelons, cherries, and mangoes
• Consume extra helping of fresh vegetables and fruits. Green leafy vegetables should have a prominent place at every meal
• Consume more water than usual and cut down on tea, coffee, energy drinks, sodas
• Don't lie down immediately after a meal. Have your dinner at least three hours before bedtime
• Avoid overeating
• Maintain a healthy body weight
Acidity doesn't have to restrict your overall health and well-being. Some simple changes are all that is needed to avoid this common ailment. For fast acting and long-lasting relief, Gas-O-Fast is your best bet in the war against acidity.