What is reflux or acid reflux? Acid reflux or otherwise known as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux is a type of health condition that can cause damage to the lining of the esophagus. This is characterized by the content of the stomach that refluxes or goes back to the esophagus instead of going down the duodenum. Because of the acidity of the gastric content, the lining of the esophagus, which is not protected by any mucus barrier unlike the stomach, can cause irritation thus producing pain and discomfort. The acid reflux develops whenever the food in the stomach is not properly digested and broken down by the enzymes of the gastric acid. Fortunately, there are many natural remedies available that can help us combat this kind of condition. So what are the natural remedies for reflux?
Identifying the Symptoms of Reflux
Before we discuss the effective remedies against acid reflux, we must first be aware of the different symptoms that can be produced by this kind of health condition. Some of the common symptoms of GERD or acid reflux are listed below.
Heartburn is described as a painful burning sensation located at the chest area and can go as high as the neck. Although it is called heartburn, the heart is actually not the one causing the said symptom. Heartburn is felt when the acid goes up to the esophagus causing a painful reaction on the chest area. It is only called as such since the pain is found exactly near where the heart is located.
Regurgitation of the food back from the gullet to the mouth
This is caused by the pressure forced by the gastric contents up to the esophagus.
Pain in the Chest
Similar to the heart burn. Can also be described as stabbing pain.
Difficulty in swallowing liquids and food
Due to the blocked passage in the esophagus.
Sore throat and hoarseness of the voice
This can occur when the gastric contents have already affected the throat and the vocal cords.
Occurs when the acid reaches the area around the throat or lungs.
Erosion of the teeth and gums
Caused by vomiting the acid, which can affect the different parts of the mouth.
These are just some of the most common symptoms that can occur in the acid reflux condition. These can actually last for months and can also worsen as time goes, if and only if it is not treated correctly.
Role of our Diet in Acid Reflux
Food can also be a factor in triggering the occurrence of acid reflux or heartburn. Because of this, it is necessary for us to know and identify first what are the different foods that can be safely eaten and what are the foods that should be avoided. Below is the complete list of safe and unsafe foods in relation to GERD or acid reflux.
Certain fruits are considered safe for GERD patients such as apple and banana.
Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, peas, carrots, potato (baked) and green beans can also be consumed.
Some meat products are approved to be eaten by individuals with GERD such as extra lean ground beef, broil steak, egg whites. Skinless chicken breast and no fat fish.
Dairy foods such as fat free cream cheese, goat cheese, fat free sour cream and low fat soy cheese are allowable.
Brown and white rice, multi grain and white bread, corn bread, cereal like bran or oatmeal, pretzels, graham crackers and rice cakes are also classified as safe foods
Water is the primary beverage prescribed for patients with GERD.
Salads and Sweets
Low fat dressing, fat free cookies, red licorice, baked potato chips and jelly beans can be consumed.
Tomatoes and citrus fruits like lemons and oranges can increase the acidity of the stomach.
Cranberry juice, grapefruit juice, lemonade and other juices from citrus fruits must also be avoided.
Raw onion, French fries, mashed potatoes
Ground beef, nuggets, Buffalo wings and other spicy meat recipes.
Regular cottage cheese, sour cream, ice cream and milk shake
Spaghetti with tomato sauce, macaroni and cheese
Wine, liquor, alcoholic beverages, caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea
Salads and sweets
Oil and vinegar dressing, brownies, creamy salad dressing, etc.
Effective Acid Reflux Remedies
There are also several ways or remedies that we can use in order to prevent or reduce the symptoms of acid reflux. Below are some of the most commonly used remedies that are not only effective but are also very easy to do and affordable.
Increase the amount of water intake
Increasing OFI or oral fluid intake can be beneficial in combating GERD. The increase in water intake can help dilute the acid in the stomach thus reducing its potency of causing irritation and harm on the esophageal lining. Because of this, drinking a glass or two of water every after meal is recommended.
Almonds is a type of nut that can help eliminate the symptoms of acid reflux. This can be eaten in the morning every after meal. The nuts must be chewed thoroughly in order to experience its benefits against acid reflux symptoms.
Fennel or chamomile tea
These types of tea are considered effective in eliminating the effects of the reflux. This aids in the relief of the symptoms and reduces the discomfort it brings. The tea can be drunk any time of the day.
Just like what is mentioned above, apples are not only safe foods for GERD, but they are also capable of providing benefits against the said condition. Apples that are organically grown and are chewed properly can help reduce the acidity in the stomach.
Ginger is another plant product that is known to have positive effects on GERD. Candied ginger, ginger tea or ginger supplements can be taken in order to reduce gastric acid reflux.
Apple cider vinegar
We all think that vinegar can cause acidity in the stomach. However if this is coming from apple cider, then it can be used to treat the condition instead of making it worsen. This can be consumed by adding apple cider vinegar to half a glass of water before drinking it shortly after every meal.
Chewing gum is known for its benefits in assisting proper food digestion. This can also stimulate the increase production of saliva which is also very efficient in diluting the acid once it reaches the mouth just like what water does.
These are just some of the most popular and effective natural remedies that we can use or utilize in order to treat the awful GERD condition. Acid reflux may not pose an immediate serious threat to our health, but once this is left unmanaged, it can already cause many complications to our body.