Acidity is more than just those episodes of chest burn, and bitter taste in the mouth. It may be a sign of something deeper. Hence, in case you have had frequent episodes of acid reflux in the recent past, it may be time to look at it more holistically. Read this post to find out how it happens and what you can do to fix it naturally.
We’ve all suffered from acidity and heartburn at some point or another. It’s that burning sensation in the stomach that rises to the chest and throat, making you feel nauseous. While an age-old problem, a recent Norwegian study reveals that the number of people suffering from acidity and heartburn has
increased by 50% in the last ten years.
● Heartburn or a burning sensation in the chest, throat, and abdomen
● Constipation and indigestion
● Burping, belching or sour taste in the throat and mouth
What is Acidity and Why does it Occur?
The proper acid-alkaline balance is essential for maintaining optimum health. Acidity, heartburn, and acid- reflux occurs because of an increase in the acid levels in the bloodstream.
Here, when we speak about acidity and alkalinity, we are referring to the acid/alkaline levels that remain in your body after digestion of the food and not the actual acidic/alkaline content of the foods you consume.
To explain with an example -
Though lemons are rich in citric acid, it leaves an alkaline residue after digestion. This is why drinking lemon water is considered a good remedy to treat acidity.To understand acidity, you have to understand pH Levels. You begin experiencing acidity symptoms when the pH level in your body leans towards the acidic side.
What’s the Ideal pH Level for our Body?
A pH of 7 is neutral. Lower than 7, it is acidic and higher than 7 is alkaline. If your pH levels fall on the extreme acidic side, it’s called acidosis, and similarly, if it falls on the extreme alkaline levels, it’s alkalosis. Both acidosis and alkalosis aren’t healthy. The ideal range is 7.365 to 7.45, a slightly alkaline range.
● Wrong food combinations
● Too much processed foods
● Too much coffee, tea or carbonated beverages
● Alcohol consumption and smoking
● Excess consumption of dairy products and non-veg foods
● Unhealthy eating habits such as
Eating as per the clock and not as per hunger
Eating close to bedtime or night time snacking
Compulsive eating – When the previous eaten meal has not been used for any activity and the next meal is already on the way, it causes indigestion and acid build up.
● Lack of Sleep and Chronic Stress
Before you start treating acidity, you have to identify the underlying cause. This will help you eliminate the issue, rather than just treating the symptoms.
What’s the Difference between Acidity, Heartburn, Acid-Reflux, and GERD?
Acid reflux occurs when the gastric acids get into the esophagus, thereby irritating the tissues. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux (acidity). It’s that painful burning sensation you feel in your chest, along with a sour taste in the mouth and throat.
GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease) is the more severe chronic form of acid reflux.
Some Home Remedies for Reducing Acidity Symptoms #1: Drink naturally soothing drinks like – coconut water, mint water, amla juice, tulsi water, and cucumber juice or lemon juice. All these drinks leave behind an alkaline residue after digestion, thereby reducing the acidic levels in your body.
#2: Place a cold compressor a wet towel on your stomach, throat or chest, for about 20 minutes to reduce the burning sensation and to control stomach spasms. The dampness helps to increase blood circulation to your digestive organs, activating metabolic functions, while simultaneously calming the nervous system, providing comfort and relieving pain.
#3: Certain yoga asanaslike Halasana, Ushtrasana, and Vajrasana, provide you with immediate relief from acidity. These poses to increase circulation to the stomach, intestines and other digestive organs, improving and strengthening the digestive system. Pranayama (deep breathing) can also help you reduce the stress that causes acidity.
#4: Ginger provides instant relief from reflux symptoms. Peel a piece of ginger (around 2cms) and bite and chew on it to reduce nausea and belching. Alternatively, you can brew ginger tea (fresh ginger boiled in water) and drink this liquid, whenever you experience acidity symptoms.
#5: Chew on cloves, jeera, and cardamom (Elachi). All these spices increase saliva secretion, which in turn activates the digestive system, helping to reduce acidity.
#6: Elevate your sleeping position slightly. Keeping your head and upper body at a slightly elevated angle while sleeping ensures the acid does not travel up the esophagus to your chest and throat. However, don’t just elevate your head by using extra pillows. This may lead to neck and shoulder injuries. Make sure your torso along with shoulder, neck, and head is also elevated evenly.
These remedies can help you relieve the pain and discomfort of acid reflux and heartburn. However, they don't resolve the underlying issue. Acidity, just like most other diseases is an effect of making unhealthy choices over a period of time. To eliminate the problem entirely, you will have to make some healthy lifestyle changes. Read our Part 2 of this post to know some of the lifestyle changes you need to make to eliminate acidity holistically.
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