In the human body, the stomach produces hydrochloric acid, which helps to break down food and protects the stomach from pathogens such as bacteria. The point at which food enters the stomach is marked by a ring-like structure of muscle called the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). It typically closes up after all the food has passed into the stomach, to prevent the acid from moving up into the esophagus. If the LES does not close properly or opens up too often, the acid may flow upwards. This causes an ‘Acid Reflux’. Its most common symptom is heartburn, which is a burning sensation in the chest.
The following is a check-list for what things to avoid when a bout of acid reflux is something you are too familiar with:
Smoking causes a number of health issues. Among others, it induces certain changes in the body that aggravate the conditions for acid reflux. Smoking reduces the production of saliva. Saliva otherwise lessens the effects of acid reflux by neutralizing stomach acid and coating the esophagus.
Smoking also damages the esophagus, making it more prone to the ill-effects of acid reflux. Moreover, it increases the production of stomach acid and renders it more harmful by enabling the movement of bile salts from the intestine to the stomach. Smoking also relaxes the LES which allows the flow of content up into the throat.
2. Eat Food That Triggers Acidity
The foremost reason for acidity is unhealthy food habits. Excessive consumption of food and beverages such as carbonated and caffeinated beverages, fatty and spicy food, chocolate, citrus fruits, and alcohol should be avoided.
Acidic and high-fat food sits in the stomach for longer, causing a feeling of fullness. A ‘full’ stomach disrupts the digestive system by producing more acid than normal. It also relaxes the LES thereby causing the acid in the stomach to move upwards.
3. Eat Recklessly
It is a good idea to eat sensibly in order to combat acid reflux. This includes not just avoiding foods that cause acidity, but also eating the right way.
Eating large quantities of food in one go triggers certain symptoms such as heartburn. Ideally, one should eat several small meals throughout the day rather than a few large ones. Large meals expand the stomach and exert upward pressure against the LES. One also ought to eat slowly to enable the digestive system to function normally. A great tip to avoid acid reflux is to be aware of what you are eating even when dining out. For instance, inquire about the ingredients and portion size before ordering a dish.
4. Rest Right after a Meal
Lying down right after a meal is likely to set off an attack of acid reflux. This happens because the food in the stomach may press hard against the LES, causing it to reflux. This also happens when lying down flat without extra support to the head.
It is highly recommended to rest only after two or three hours of having meals. Acid Reflux can also be kept at bay by sleeping with the head at alleviation. If the head is placed higher than the body, gravity acts against the pressure exerted by the food on the LES.
5. Be Obese
Being overweight or obese is a major factor in worsening acid reflux. Excessive abdominal fat puts pressure on the stomach, which causes the acid to move upwards. Obesity may also cause people to have more circulating estrogens, which are linked to increased symptoms of acid reflux.
It is especially important to lose weight if acid reflux is what you are battling with. Its complications may keep developing over time, causing irreversible damage to the body. Some of these include a narrowing of the esophagus, a bleeding ulcer and pre-cancerous changes to the esophagus leading to a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus.
6. Wear Tight Clothes
Comfortable clothing is important to steer clear of acid reflux. Shapewear, belts and tight-fitting pants may be flattering to your persona; but they are certainly not your tummy's best friend.
Items of clothing which are particularly tight at the waist exert pressure on the stomach, which ideally is the area between the breastbone and the belly button. This leads to changes in the cells at the point where the stomach and the esophagus meet. It also compresses the tummy and makes it more gaseous. This is because the pressure on the abdomen does not allow food to be digested properly. All of these causes the acidic content in the stomach to move back right up the throat.
Arming yourself with all the trivia on staying away from acid reflux is necessary, but might not be enough when it actually strikes. The frenzied world that we live in today forces us to compromise on some of these do’s and don’ts, and those who suffer will testify for the grossly unpleasant experience that acid reflux is. For times such as these, Gas-O-Fast is a lifesaver. It is enriched with the goodness of Ayurveda and all natural ingredients to help you bid adieu to acidity.
Disclaimer This blog solely intended for the educational/informational/awareness purposes and is not a substitute for any professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your doctor/healthcare professional before acting on the information provided on the blog. Reliance on any or all information provided in the blog, is solely at your own risk and responsibility. Mankind Pharma Limited shall not be held liable, in any circumstance whatsoever.