Acid reflux might seem like a simple condition, just a form of indigestion. While this is partly true, it can still be very painful. It’s caused by acid traveling up from the stomach instead of going the other way to aid the digestive process, producing a burning sensation in the chest as it rises and then again as it goes back down, so you suffer twice. Eating the wrong diet can bring it on, or it could be a medical issue such as a hiatal hernia. It can harm the linings of your stomach and digestive tract if you ignore it (which would be difficult), so effective acid reflux treatment is essential.
Whatever the reasons, the problem can be controlled by mild medication, but with or without it, the treatment to alleviate symptoms is a fairly straightforward matter. It involves using a common-sense approach, which will make day-to-day life much more pleasant, and might enable you to reduce the use of any drugs or manage without them altogether.
Some foods trigger off an acid reaction, although they vary from person to person, so, unfortunately, it can be a question of experimentation at first, until you know which ones should be avoided. Common offenders for many people can include raw onions, tomatoes, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, alcohol, and coffee. They can make mealtimes a misery, so make sure they’re off the menu if they affect you, and drink plenty of water to cleanse the system and keep it working efficiently.
1) Luckily, not only are there many foods that you can still eat, but there are also some that actually help, and the good news is that they are healthy foods. So get your acid reflux treatment off to a positive start by incorporating more fruit and vegetables into your diet. The latter are low in natural sugars and fat, so they will reduce the acid in your stomach. Low-acid fruits, particularly bananas and melons, are also beneficial, and at the same time, each one in either of these categories counts towards your recommended daily intake. Juices also count and have the same helpful effects.
2) Cereals and grains are an essential group. Start your day with healthy oatmeal, and treat your body to a stress-free breakfast. Oatmeal improves intestinal health and provides roughage, leaving you feeling full for longer, so an added advantage is that there is less temptation to eat unsuitable snacks. Brown rice, couscous, and wholemeal bread also come into this category.
3) As far as dairy products are concerned, eggs are an excellent protein source, with the whites more effective against acid than the yolk. Take care with milk though – we tend to think of it as a gentle drink to line our stomachs, but its fat content can actually cause problems, so stick to the skimmed variety. Yogurt is a different matter because its probiotics work with the good bacteria in the gut, and the protein content also adds to its health-giving properties.
4) Sweeten natural yogurt with honey, which is said to combat reflux. The acid can be caused by free radicals damaging cells along the digestive tract, and it’s been suggested that honey might remove these, lowering inflammation.
5) Meat eaters with digestive issues of this sort should stick to fish, skinless chicken, and lean meat. Fish, in particular, is a good choice, according to research into whether the Mediterranean diet can reduce problems for reflux-sufferers, with its emphasis on fruit, vegetables, grains, fish, and olive oil.
6) Don’t rule out herbs and spices. Ginger will settle your stomach, and can be taken as a caffeine-free tea, in tablet form, or chewed as a dried product, as well as being added to recipes. Licorice-flavored fennel also soothes.
So don’t despair – there are plenty of foods that you can still eat. You’ll also discover that logically, knowing that something will cause discomfort is likely to reduce your desire for it anyway. Hopefully these tips will help you ease the symptoms of acid reflux while still enjoying a varied and healthy diet.
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