Do you know acidity is a fairly recent disease? It is the most common condition we face due to the changing lifestyle. The older generation jokes about acidity as a result of technology, and rightly so.
To affirm their assumptions, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology conducted a study on 30,000 people for 15 years, and the results are shocking. Here are a few of their findings.
- The last 10 years saw a drastic increase in acid refluxes.
- Almost 60% of the people complained of acidity.
- Out of these, at least 24% registered severe acid refluxes
- Around 52% confirmed experiencing acid refluxes once every week
- The most shocking result was that people under 45 years were experiencing recurrent acidity instances
What is acidity?
Our stomach produces hydrochloric acid (HCl) to break down and digest food. Sometimes stress, dehydration, acidic food, etc., trigger acid production. The excessive acid moves up to the esophagus, which is not designed to withstand high acidic conditions. Hence one may experience a burning sensation in the chest, a bitter taste in the mouth, difficulty swallowing food, nausea, constipation, etc.
Acid refluxes can make you visibly uncomfortable. The positive thing here is that since it is a lifestyle disease, tweaking the same will bring changes to your gut. We have lots of natural acids around us in the form of food and drinks. One can include these in the diet to treat a possibly dangerous disease.
What are the best natural antacids?
Natural antacids are the multiple foods that help in soothing the stomach. When struggling with heartburn, you can reach out to your kitchen for these natural antacids and relieve yourself of the discomfort. Here we bring to you various naturally occurring food and drinks that neutralize stomach acid.
Food that reduces stomach acid
Green leafy vegetables
This one is a no-brainer. Your gut loves broccoli, spinach, asparagus, green beans, cucumbers, and other leafy vegetables. These are low in fat and sugar content and help in reducing stomach acids. Moreover, the vegetables are also high in fiber which means enhanced metabolism and zero constipation.
If acid reflux is a regular phenomenon in your lives, switching to non-citrus fruits can help. Opting for melons, bananas, apples, papaya, and guava will not trigger the stomach acid. In case you worry about your Vitamin C requirements, guava and papaya will keep up with the needs as both these fruits are loaded with Vitamin C.
Egg whites are 90% water and 10% protein. These make you feel fuller, hence, discourage overeating. Also, since there is no fat in egg white, they will not trigger hydrochloric acid production. Before gobbling the egg white, remember to remove the yolk as it has a prominent amount of fat. If you have yolk along, it will aggravate the stomach acid production and lead to acid reflux.
Ginger is a predominant ingredient in most of our dishes. It is used to season the food and enhance its taste. But, this superfood is much more than taste enhancement as it is the best natural antacid. It instantly relieves you of heartburn and the burning sensation. It can also remove the bitter taste in the mouth, which is the result of acidity.
Fennel seeds aid in digestion; no wonder people love to chew on them after a scrumptious meal. Even if you have acid reflux, drinking a cup of fennel tea or chewing ½ teaspoon of fennel seeds will surely help calm the stomach and relieve the burning sensation.
Licorice root is among the oldest herbal remedies for acid reflux. It calms inflammation and muscle spasms in the stomach lining. You can either chew on the root or infuse it into a tea. Though the herb is highly effective as an antacid, it may cause problems if taken in large quantities. Hence, it is advisable to consume not more than 2.5gm of the root.
Our body produces stomach acid to break down food. Nowadays, with a diet full of junk food, we are already compelling the body to make stomach acids in high quantities, the result of which is acidity. If we switch to taking healthy fat, it will not trigger our body to make lots of HCl.
Snacking on nuts, seeds, and cooking food in sesame oil, olive oil, or sunflower oil will provide healthy fats to the body without creating acid reflux. Also, you can suffice your protein needs with lean meat such as chicken, fish, turkey, and seafood, as they are also low in fat.
Almost everybody is switching to oats due to their nutritional properties. It is a superfood filled with fiber and protein, which makes you fuller and helps boost metabolism. Oat being a fibrous food not only relieves constipation but also promotes intestinal health.
Drinks that act as an antacid and cure acid refluxes
Buttermilk is rich in lactic acid, which neutralizes stomach acids. It can also soothe your stomach and reduces the irritation and burning sensation of acid reflux. Apart from that, buttermilk is a natural probiotic that aids in digestion and reduces your chances of recurring acidity.
When you wish to start your acidity neutralizing journey, there is nothing better than having a cup of herbal tea. The tea acts as an elixir to the gut by soothing stomach problems and improving digestion. You can sip on Chamomile, marshmallow root, ginger, licorice, or slippery elm teas to get rid of the stomach acid.
However, peppermint tea is one divisive drink. The first few sips may seem like an antacid, but it does more harm than good. If you are prone to frequent heartburns, stay away from peppermint, as it will relax the sphincter forcing stomach acids to flow back into the esophagus.
For many of us, using lemon water as an antacid may seem sinful. However, the lemon has science-backed research to prove that it is highly beneficial in curing acidity. One must mix the highly acidic lemon with water before using it as an antacid. It helps in making the mixture alkaline, hence, neutralizing the stomach acids.
Curing acidity with milk is a grandma’s tip that works right away. The only condition they say is that you must use low-fat or fat-free milk. Otherwise, the stomach acids will go berserk to digest the excess fat. Milk is calcium-rich, which acts as an antacid since the latter has an acid-neutralizing effect. Apart from that, protein also helps in curing indigestion and soothes inflamed stomach lining.
Apple cider vinegar
People incorporate apple cider vinegar in multiple recipes as it is known to have numerous health benefits. When mixed with water, a small quantity of the ACV can help eliminate acidity and balance the pH levels. Besides, the apple cider vinegar drink is an instant relief from heartburn. The only issue is its taste, but you can always mix some honey and enjoy the natural antacid.
Plant-based milk is an excellent alternative for those looking for low-fat or fat-free options of dairy products. Their low-fat content requires minimum effort to digest hence does not trigger the stomach acids. These are also neutral or alkaline; therefore, they can neutralize the stomach acids. Soy milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, almond milk are all examples of vegan milk that act as natural antacids.
Fruit juices are loaded with nutrients and can soothe your intestines. However, take care not to use any of the citric fruits such as pineapple or oranges. Instead, opt for cucumber, carrot, beetroot, aloe vera, watermelon, or pear to relieve the burning sensation.
Smoothies are the all-time favorite. They are a glass full of necessary nutrients, and having one of these in the morning is the best start to your day. But do you know that smoothies can also help get rid of stomach acids? Grab some low-acid fruits and blend them in a few vegetables and plant-based milk to ready a natural antacid. It will envelop your stomach lining and cool it off the acid. A mixture of spinach, white grapes, ripe avocado, and honey is an excellent smoothie recipe to cure acid reflux.
Coconut water is abundant in electrolytes. These electrolytes maintain the pH balance of your body which helps keep acidity at bay. The magic elixir is also loaded with fiber which helps improve digestion and controls acid reflux.
Few lifestyle changes to treat acidity
All the above foods will neutralize your stomach acids and act as the best natural antacids. However, it is also necessary to make few other lifestyle changes to stay away from acidity. To say a final goodbye to acid reflux, consider making the following changes and witness the difference.
- Always prefer small portions of food at regular intervals
- Chew your food well before swallowing
- Drink lots of water throughout the day
- Make time to exercise at least half an hour daily
- Spend some time in the morning sun
- Eliminate smoking from your life
- stay away from alcohol and carbonated drinks
- Avoid tight clothes
As we know, acid reflux is not a dangerous disease, but it may turn fatal if left untreated. Suppose you are experiencing heartburn for around 2 weeks. In that case, it’s time to drop all the home remedies and consult a doctor since prolonged acidity may lead to esophagitis, ulcers, stricture, aspiration pneumonia, or even stomach cancer. Remember, you need not suffer the burning sensation and easily reach out to the kitchen counter for instant relief.