Acid Reflux: Signs, Symptoms – 10 Ways to Eliminate Acid Reflux & Improve Digestion
Protect & Restore Your Gut – To Restore &
Protect your Mind
Between 25 percent to 40 percent of Australians of all ages suffer from acid reflux symptoms. An estimated 20 percent of adults experience gastroesophageal reflux disease weekly or daily — commonly called GERD or referred to as heartburn, a more severe case of acid reflux.
Learning about Acid Reflux, the signs and symptoms will help you with what you can do to overcome these agitating, often persistent, symptoms of indigestion? There are many common causes of GERD and acid reflux, which include pregnancy, hiatal hernias, eating an unhealthy diet and an imbalance of stomach acid. All of these can result in the regurgitation of acid that triggers unpleasant acid reflux symptoms, such as burning or belching.
Acid Reflux Dysfunction
At the root of acid reflux is dysfunction of the the lower esophageal sphincter, which is supposed to close as soon as food passes through. However, if it doesn’t close all the way, acid can creep up from lower in the digestive system and begin to cause an array of problems. If it’s not treated properly, long-term acid reflux can cause severe damage.
What is Wrong with Medications
Easing acid reflux or GERD symptoms temporarily with medications or over-the-counter drugs is usually not a cure — it will only offer some relief of symptoms, only to suppress them in the short-term. These medications have been found to cause further problems and worsen the symptoms as there are known side-effects to these medications.
If you have been relying on over-the-counter and/or prescriptions to ease pain and discomfort, you may already be familiar with these side effects associated with their use. Some of these symptoms include headaches, muscle cramps, rapid heart rate and more digestive problems.
Below you will learn further information related to natural, self-help and lifestyle changes that will support managing acid reflux symptoms, providing you with a much better understanding of the causes and what you can do to support a healthier digestive system, that in turn will support a healthier you.
Symptoms and Causes
Acid reflux comes with a variety of symptoms & Causes.
In general it refers to regurgitation of acid or partially digested food coming from the stomach into the oesophagus (food pipe) or mouth.
Symptoms may include heartburn, this being a burning sensation behind the breastbone, burping, a sensation or feeling that food is stuck after swallowing. Together with these symptoms can include bloatedness, stomach aches and pain.
- Diet: Overeating, especially animal protein or processed foods. As these take time and more digestive enzymes to digest effectively. Whereas animal or plant based foods are much easier to digest, therefore making it much easier for your digestive system. The foods you eat as well as the timing of your meals can affect the acid production of your stomach. A diet rich in spicy or greasy foods can trigger excessive acid in your stomach in order to assist digestion. High-fiber foods can cause an overproduction of stomach acid, as digestion of such foods takes longer. Eating small meals of non-processed foods often will help to keep your stomach acid levels at a more balanced level. When you minimize the quantity of animal protein you eat and processed foods, incorporating fruit and vegetables these assist the digestive process and decrease the symptoms of acid reflux. An easy rule with animal protein is to keep the portion size to the palm of your hand (as this is the size of your stomach), also to not have dairy products with your animal protein. So exclude dairy with any animal protein meal.
- Other Food and drinks that can cause or aggravate acid reflux:
Deep fried and fatty foods;
Hot Spicy Foods
Onions & garlic: However, you will find these are great health assets and if you eliminate bad fats from your diet such as – animal fat, trans fats, chocolate & deep fried foods, onion and garlic can still remain in your diet, to support your immune system for a healthier you.
Tomatoes and tomato-based foods
Soda, carbonated soft drinks
Coffee and other caffeinated drinks
Some citrus fruits such as oranges and mandarins
Commercial Fruit juice
- Being Overweight or during pregnancy
Being overweight or being pregnant can increase the pressure on the abdomen, weakening the lower oesophageal sphincter, causing the stomach contents to reflux up into the oesophagus. Changes in your hormones during pregnancy can also contribute to reflux.
- Smoking – More than just a stomach irritant, smoking triggers acid production as it relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter. This then causes stomach acid to retreat to the throat region and causes acid reflux. Not to mention other major health problems that smoking attributes to such as heart disease, lung disease, alzheimers, dementia and circulatory problems, just to name a few.
- Stress – Life gives us many obstacles and issues to tackle. If we have too much stress, or chronic stress, this can be a major contributing to your stomach’s acid production. During times of excessive stress and chronic stress it is important to take care of yourself. Eating healthy foods, small meals that are easy for your stomach to digest and take time out to recharge engaging in activities such as walking, yoga or Thai Chi.
- Pharmaceutical Medications can cause acid reflux
Certain painkillers, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These include medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Codeine can also increase reflux.
Anticholinergics such as oxybutynin (brand name Ditropan), which is used to treat an overactive bladder. These medicines can increase the tendency of the lower oesophageal sphincter to relax. Older people are particularly sensitive to these medicines.
Theophylline, e.g. Nuelin SR (sometimes used in the treatment of bronchitis, emphysema and asthma).
Calcium channel blockers (these medicines are usually used to treat high blood pressure and angina).
Bisphosphonates (medicines used in the treatment of osteoporosis).
- Stomach Cancer – One serious condition that causes excessive stomach acid production is stomach cancer. This cancer increases gastrin hormone production.
When excessive stomach acid and reflux become a chronic condition with not being treated by change of diet and lifestyle habits it can lead to stomach ulcers, stomach cancer, bowel and kidney problems. You will also notice that a decrease in energy due to inadequate supply of nutrients to your organs and tissue.
As a Naturopathic Practitioner What I Recommend & Know that works:
10 Ways to Eliminate Acid Reflux & Improve Digestion:
- Eat small regular meals based on wholefoods such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrain cereals such as organic muesli, oats and grains. Moderate the meal portion sizes of proteins to the size of the palm of your hand and change them to lean meat, chicken, fish and eggs. Keep cheese to a minimum amount and only eat whole cheese not processed cheese, if you have a lactose problem then change to goats cheese and lactose free products. Eliminate processed foods especially the mass produced processed foods that are full of chemicals, food additives and toxic fillers that will cause you damage.
- Yogurt for gastric reflux: It is a cool, smooth and alkaline food that has soothing effect on the esophagus. Yogurt contains probiotics, a form of beneficial bacteria that are found in the digestive tract. This also helps to boost the immune system for overall health.
Yogurt aids proper absorption of proteins and nutrients by the body. Yogurt is a healthy protein source and is very useful in the prevention of acid reflux as it properly digests the food. Yogurt is also a great source of calcium which helps to strengthen the muscles in the lower esophagus.
Yogurt reduces the inflammation, the formation of gas in the intestine, improves intestinal motion and also reduces the pain and discomfort.
- Basil leaves give relief upon the first signs of trouble. Chew on a few leaves or add to hot water to drink. These leaves are known to soothe your intestinal system by eliminating symptoms such as flatulence and nausea.
- Bananas – Choose an overripe banana to combat excess acid as it contains more potassium than a ripe one. Bananas are known to aid in stomach mucus production to protect the stomach lining from acid damage.
- Ginger – Ease the discomfort of symptoms by chewing on a small piece of ginger or drinking ginger tea. It can prevent stomach ulcers as it triggers the secretion of mucus to line the stomach walls. Ginger helps your body digest and absorb essential nutrients and maintain a healthy digestive system when consumed regularly.
- Clove – By including cloves into your daily diet, can steep a couple of cloves with your favourite herbal tea or add to your meal, this will help to aid digestion.
- Cinnamon – Mix a cup of boiled water with one teaspoon of ground cinnamon and drink this at least three times a day for relief of symptoms.
Cinnamon targets bloating and flatulence and works as a natural antacid.
- Bicarb – for instant relief and safe reduction of stomach acid levels. Add a teaspoon of Bicarb to a glass of filtered water and drink. The bicarb has a natural alkalizing effect and is how it is seen as a support treatment for cancer or preventing cancer.
- Kefir is a cultured milk drink with a thick, creamy consistency, served plain or flavoured. Traditionally, it’s prepared by combining fresh milk with Kefir culture, which is made up of living yeasts and bacteria. It’s these live cultures that provide Kefir with many health benefits, including helping soothe acid reflux and other gastrointestinal symptoms. These beneficial bacteria, known collectively as probiotics, may help counteract acid reflux triggers.
- Apple Cider Vinegar & Apples – some people find a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar added to a glass of filtered water, drunk morning and night helps to reduce acid reflux. The eating of one – two apples, especially red ones per day has been found to help reduce stomach
Do’s and don’ts for Acid Reflux
- Do take time to relax, allow some form of leisure activity during your day, that helps you to eliminate anxiety, stress and feel good about you. This might be going for a walk, playing a sport, dancing, swimming, watching your favourite movie or listening to your favourite music. Just choose one thing a day.
- Always Eat – Slowly, sitting down and in a relaxed atmosphere. Make meal time an enjoyable time.
- Eliminate Smoking – If you smoke, then give it up. It’s not that hard when you measure it against the harm that it is going to do to you and the life it is going to rob you of.
- Eliminate or Minimize – Drinking of Alcohol, Soft drinks and juices.
Decrease or eliminate the taking of medications, certain pain killers cause bleeding of the stomach and therefore aggravate the lining of your stomach.
- Get Enough Sleep – whether you like it or not, whether you believe you can perform well on little to no sleep, the truth is that it is not possible to perform well, nor for your body to repair when you don’t get enough sleep. The recommended time frame is 8 – 10 hours per night. If you are a shift worker this may well be during the day, ensure that you go to bed in a well darkened room, herbal teas such as chamomile or lemon balm, valerian, also if you keep your banana skins, boil these for 10 minutes keep the juice and drink with a teaspoon of honey this will also help you sleep. Also empty your mind, no matter how much you worry about something, the worry isn’t going to change the situation or person, the best thing that will help is a “Good Night’s Sleep”, because it will all look better in the morning.
- Avoid Tight Clothing and Belts – These restrict your stomach’s ability for proper digestion.
- Reduce the Quantity of Coffee you drink and also eliminate the drinking of instant coffee. Only drink coffee in the morning and limit it to one to two cups. Then if possible change to black coffee with no sugar, this is what will benefit your health the most and will prevent bloating.
Is it common knowledge throughout Medicine
“All disease begins in the gut” – Hippocrates
Keep your Gut Healthy and you will Prevent Disease –
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