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How to prevent acid reflux and heartburn

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Many foods can worsen acid reflux symptoms by decreasing the tone of the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach, prolonging the shelf life of food in the stomach, or causing excessive production of gastric juice. To avoid increasing the contents of the stomach in the esophagus and, consequently, gastroesophageal reflux, it is useful to exclude or reduce the consumption of certain foods, let's see which ones.

1. Tomatoes

Rich in citric and malic acid, tomatoes, sauces, soups, and tomato juices can cause gastric juice in the stomach. As a result, excess acid can drain back into the esophagus. Unfortunately, little can be cooked with tomatoes, because even processing can not significantly reduce the acidity of this vegetable.

2. Citrus fruits

The pH of lemon juice is about 2.4, a very acidic value, just think that the pH of the gastric juice is 1.5-2.0. Lemon is actually one of the most acidic foods you can eat. Drinking lemon juice is almost equivalent to consuming gastric juice. On the one hand, it can promote digestion, but on the other hand, it can aggravate the problems associated with gastric reflux.

The same can be said of other citrus fruits, which, however, are less acidic than lemon because they have a lower pH.

Onions not only reduce the pressure at which the lower esophageal sphincter closes to separate the stomach from the esophagus, but, according to a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, in patients suffering from reflux, acid, by consuming onions, increases the amount of time that the stomach detects. that its pH is lower than 4 (the lower the pH, the higher the acidity), increasing the burning sensation and burping.

4. Carbonated drinks

The pH of Coca-Cola is 2.5, which is slightly higher than that of lemon juice and gastric juice, so this is undoubtedly one of the worst drinks for patients with gastric reflux. But this does not end there, the gas released from carbonated drinks increases gastric pressure. In fact, all these vesicles begin to press on the stomach, inflating it and causing the esophageal sphincter to open, contributing to reflux. Many of these drinks contain caffeine, including Coca-Cola, which in some people can aggravate gastric reflux, also because the coffee itself is acidic because it has a pH of 5.

5. Alcohol

On the one hand, alcohol helps the brain relax, on the other hand, the lower esophageal sphincter also relaxes, which leads to an easy rise in stomach acid in the esophagus.

When drinking alcohol, there is always valid advice - do it in moderation, and to avoid reflux, it is useful to avoid carbonated drinks such as beer, sparkling wine, champagne and carbonated cocktails.

6. Spicy food

Many people with gastric reflux complain of spicy foods. However, it has been repeatedly shown that spicy foods do not actually affect the functioning of the esophageal sphincter. Rather, the problem may be that spicy foods irritate the esophagus.

7. Fatty foods

Fats, especially saturated ones, are absorbed very slowly. They spend more time in the stomach, which gives the gastric juice a better chance of moving up the esophagus. However, the biggest problem with eating high fat foods is that they often contain few healthy nutrients and also cause weight gain. Obesity causes esophageal dysfunction associated with symptoms of acid reflux.

8. Coffee and tea

As mentioned earlier, pH is 5.0 for coffee and 5.5 for tea. When consumed in large quantities, caffeinated drinks can increase the symptoms of acid reflux.

Chocolate can cause worsening gastroesophageal reflux because it contains caffeine. However, the main reason, apparently, is not associated with this, but with the fact that chocolate promotes the release of serotonin. Which, in turn, contributes to the overall relaxation of the person, and therefore the esophageal sphincter. If you use low-quality chocolate with the lowest percentage of cocoa and a lot of sugar and milk, the symptoms of acid reflux will certainly increase.

Therefore, it is advisable to use chocolate, which contains at least 70% dark chocolate.

This herb, which we often find in sweets or herbal teas, is a kind of sharp sword for the stomach. On the one hand, mint can be used to reduce indigestion in those who do not suffer from acid reflux, on the other hand, in people with reflux problems, mint can aggravate heartburn. This is due to the fact that mint is a good carminative (that is, it can prevent the formation of gases in the gastrointestinal tract and help the body get rid of toxins), and menthol is a sedative that can relax the esophageal sphincter.

Acid Reflux and Heartburn Risk Factors

Anyone can experience rare acid reflux and heartburn. For example, you may experience these symptoms after eating too quickly. You may notice them after eating a lot of spicy foods or high in fat.

You are more likely to develop GERD if you:

  • are overweight or obese
  • are pregnant
  • have diabetes
  • smoke

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa can also contribute to some cases of GERD. “People who have vomited or have had in the past may have an increased risk of heartburn,” says Jacqueline L. Wolf, MD, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Lifestyle changes

Sometimes or often, cases of acid reflux can usually be prevented by taking a few lifestyle changes. For example:

  • Avoid lying down for three hours after eating.
  • Eat less food more often throughout the day.
  • Wear loose clothing to avoid pressure on the stomach.
  • Lose excess weight.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Raise the head of your bed from six to eight inches by placing wooden blocks under your bed tables. Blood risers are another option for this.

Several types of food can cause acid reflux and heartburn. Pay particular attention to how you feel after eating different foods. Your triggers may include:

  • fatty or fried foods
  • alcohol
  • coffee
  • carbonated drinks like soda
  • chocolate
  • garlic
  • bow
  • citrus
  • peppermint
  • peppermint
  • tomato sauce

If you experience acid reflux or heartburn after eating certain foods, take steps to avoid them.

Many people can resolve their symptoms through lifestyle changes. Other people may require medication to prevent or treat acid reflux and heartburn. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription drugs, such as:

  • antacids such as calcium blockers (Tums)
  • H2, such as famotidine (Pepcid AC) or cimetidine (Tagamet HB) mucosal protective agents, such as sucralfate proton pump inhibitors (Carafate)
  • such as rabeprazole (Aciphex), dexlansoprazole (Dexilant) and esomeprazole (Nexium)
  • Note on proton pump inhibitors

Proton pump inhibitors are the most effective treatments for chronic acid reflux. They are generally considered very safe. They reduce the production of stomach acids by your body. Unlike some other medicines, you need to take them once a day to prevent symptoms.

There are also disadvantages to using proton pump inhibitors on a long-term basis. Over time, they can deplete vitamin B-12 in your body. Since stomach acid is one of your body's defenses against infection, proton pump inhibitors can also increase the risk of infection and bone fractures. In particular, they can increase the risk of fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. They can also be expensive, often costing more than $ 100 each month.

Surgery is only needed in rare cases of acid reflux and heartburn. The most common surgery used to treat acid reflux is a procedure known as Nissen fundoplication. In this procedure, the surgeon picks up part of your stomach and draws it around the joint where the stomach and esophagus meet. This helps increase pressure in your lower esophageal sphincter (LES).

This procedure is performed using a laparoscope. You will need to stay in the hospital for one to three days after it. Complications are rare, and the results are extremely effective. However, surgery may lead to an increase in bloating and flatulence or difficulty swallowing.

Symptoms of Acid Reflux

  • burning in chest and throat
  • the appearance of sores in the tongue
  • bad breath
  • bad sleep with regular awakenings
  • dry mouth
  • gum bleeding
  • loss of appetite
  • sensation of acid in the mouth

People suffering from acid reflux often describe their condition as a painful burning sensation in their throat after eating. Most often, this condition is described by the phrase "increased acidity of the stomach," although in fact it is not at all. Acid reflux can be caused by malnutrition, dysbiosis, or anatomical defects. The acidity is normal, but the gases formed in the stomach push the gastric juice into the throat.

Westerners suffer from acid reflux daily (up to 10% of people), as well as weekly (up to 30% of people) depending on their diet and lifestyle (2).
Responding to the variety of causes of the disease, various cultures have come up with many original ways to deal with it. So among the ways to solve the problem mention yoga, acupuncture and special diets. We are talking about alternative ways to solve the problem, although it is worth starting the treatment with a visit to the gastroenterologist.

Causes of Acid Reflux

  1. You eat too fast, without having to carefully chew food - this is one of the most common causes of the disease.
  2. You overeat or press on the stomach, preventing the digestion of food.
  3. You eat 1-2 times a day, but in large portions.
  4. You are overweight.
  5. With age, the acidity of the stomach has changed.
  6. Pregnancy can also be a cause.
  7. You eat food that is harmful to the stomach.
  8. You take medications harmful to the stomach (antibiotics, asthma, arthritis, osteoporosis).
  9. You are regularly stressed.
  10. You have a shortage of substances necessary for health.
  11. You have bad habits - smoking, drinking alcohol, a lot of caffeine.

These reasons are confirmed by many studies (4, 5).

How to get rid of acid reflux?

Since the problem is related to digestion, it is logical to start solving it with food. Firstly, you should decide on a diet. Gassing and sour foods can harm you. Secondly, certain types of food can protect your throat from acid and improve digestion.

Literally every study of acid reflux confirms that the cause is malnutrition. We eat too much pre-cooked food and do it fast without paying enough attention to chewing. Since the digestive system of each person reacts differently to the same food, it is impossible to say specifically what causes the problems for an individual without proper research. However, there is a whole class of products that are harmful to everyone.

Try to consume more foods containing fiber, support the intestinal microflora with probiotics, take high-quality protein. All this should reduce the pain that acid reflux causes.

Acid Reflux Foods

Drink a camomile, it will help!

Milk products, kefir and yogurt help the intestinal microflora, improve digestion and protect the digestive tract from acid. Choose foods with live bacteria and a minimum shelf life.

Bone broth (or bone broth) contains collagen, glutamine, proline and glycine, which are useful for many body functions, including digestion.

Kombuccia or Kombucha have a solid dose of probiotics.

Apple vinegar helps intestinal microflora and can alleviate symptoms of acid reflux. Use a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water.

Coconut Water contains potassium and electrolytes. Drink coconut water during the day and drink a glass before you go to bed. Coconut water can be added to kefir, which contains probiotics.

Coconut oil It is an excellent source of healthy fats and reduces inflammation in the body. You can consume a tablespoon of coconut oil daily. Use whole grain bread to make coconut oil more enjoyable and healthy.

Eat green vegetables, especially artichokes, cucumbers, asparagus.

Sea Tuna and Salmon help you get the right amount of omega-3 and omega-6.

Useful honey, almonds, homemade cheese.

They do not affect acid reflux, but they help protect your digestive tract: ginger, aloe vera, fennel (8).

Supplements to aid digestion:

Additional tips

Try to sleep on a high pillow (13), less bend over after eating, do sports (but not after eating!), Give up smoking. Remember, medication is not enough. You must take care of your health and nutrition.

How to choose a pill for acid reflux? Try to raise your head 10-15 cm from the plane of the bed. You can use a soft block or an extra pillow if necessary. Studies have shown that a slightly raised head reduces symptoms and improves the condition of the throat.

Refuse food 3 hours before bedtime. Your stomach needs to digest food before you fall asleep.

Chew food thoroughly, otherwise it will be difficult for your stomach to digest it. It is very important.

Wear comfortable clothing after eating. Tight clothing may harm digestion.

Refrain from physical activity and especially bending after eating.

Food to Avoid

with acid reflux, sleep on a high pillow

As you read above, there is a whole category of food that people prone to acid reflux should avoid. This kind of food works like a “fan for a flame," amplifying the unpleasant effects of acid that gets into the throat. Meat, fast food, chocolate, alcohol, caffeine and some types of cheeses fall into this category (7).

Alcohol. There is nothing wrong with consuming minimal alcohol. Most likely, you will not notice any difference in relation to the stomach and throat. However, avoid spirits and beer. It is worthwhile to refrain from any alcohol at bedtime, as well as limit alcohol when eating food, as it can enhance the negative effect of acid reflux.

Caffeine. Drinking coffee, some types of tea, and energy drinks can damage the functions of the sphincter that closes the stomach from the throat.

Carbonated drinksincluding alcohol, energy and mineral water. Affect gas formation and cause acid to enter the throat.

Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners. They can cause overeating and excess weight. With dysbiosis, sugar can become the main cause of acid reflux.

Fried food is fatty and harmful to your digestive system. It can be the cause of the development of harmful bacteria in the body.

Processed food(and what you buy in cooking or in a special department of a supermarket) contains a lot of salt and sugar. Avoid foods with corn and potatoes. Give up chips, crackers, cereals. Most of these foods contain corn or its syrup, which can cause acid reflux. Excess salt is another big problem with packaged foods. One Swedish study, in which 1,000 people took part, showed that eating a saturated salt diet promotes acid reflux (9).

Chocolate. Many people note that refusing cocoa and chocolate reduces heartburn. Many chocolate products contain trans fats, caffeine and sugar - the worst enemies of digestion.

Milk products. Not all dairy products are equally healthy. Fatty milk can cause the production of gastric juice and its entry into the throat. The same problem is relevant for cheeses. The stomach needs more juice to digest hard cheeses, so cheese can cause heartburn.

Spicy food it may be good for health (cayenne pepper, chili, cinnamon), but with acid reflux it can enhance the unpleasant effect. You should check the effects of spicy food on yourself, as the body's reaction is individual for everyone.

Tomatoes and Tomato Products with Onions. In general, they are good for health, but can cause acid reflux for individuals. One way or another, but everyone should avoid ketchup, it has a lot of salt and sugar.

Citrus and Juice. They affect acidity and worsen symptoms.

Mayonnaise and Salad Sauces. They are oily, contain salt and are harmful to your health.

Mint badly affects the sphincter protecting the throat, allowing acid to rise in the throat.

Suitable foodUnhealthy food
Skinless chicken breastCoffee
Salad and bell pepperCarbonated drinks
Brown riceChocolate
MelonMint
CerealsCitrus
FennelTomatoes
GingerAlcohol
WaterFried food
Pears, bananas, carrotsSpicy food

Conclusion

  1. Acid reflux occurs due to the fact that gastric juice rises up the throat. Symptoms are heartburn, unpleasant breathing, belching, pain when swallowing food.
  2. The causes of acid reflux are: malnutrition, overeating, rushing with meals, pregnancy, obesity, dysbiosis.
  3. You can get rid of acid reflux due to proper nutrition, diet and the choice of healthy foods.

Acid reflux is a common problem, but you should not think that this is a normal condition. Your lifestyle affects the digestive system, and your condition depends on it. This is a vicious circle and it is extremely important for you to make it good. Go in for sports, eat right and keep your youth and beauty.

If you feel discomfort from acid reflux for more than 2 weeks, then this is an occasion to visit a specialist. Most likely, you will have to undergo tests and go through a gastroscopy procedure, but you should not be afraid of it. Now it is done without pain and any discomfort.

In order for you not to have to go to the doctor, you need to decide on a diet, give up junk food, chew food thoroughly and go in for sports!

Where to buy vitamins and dietary supplements?

We recommend ordering them from iHerb. This store offers delivery from the United States of over 30,000 quality products at affordable prices.

Fatty food

Fat entering the stomach slows down the digestion process, resulting in increased pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, which in turn will increase the manifestation of acid reflux. Avoid eating deep-fried foods like fish and potatoes. In addition, if you suffer from acid reflux, you should exclude fatty meat from your menu, in particular pork and lamb.

Spicy food

As for spicy foods with lots of spices, it all depends on how your body perceives these foods. Some people complain that spices aggravate their condition, while others say that eating spicy foods did not cause poor health. Watch your feelings and, if necessary, exclude spicy foods from your diet.

Peppermint

Peppermint tea is often recommended after dinner as a digestive aid. However, for those who suffer from acid reflux, drinking this drink is not a good idea. This is due to the fact that peppermint relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, as a result of which gastric acid enters the esophagus.

There is some evidence that chocolate can worsen acid reflux symptoms, but this is often dose dependent. Excessive consumption of this product will enhance acid reflux.

Alcoholic beverages not only increase the production of stomach acid, but also weaken the lower food sphincter, causing or exacerbating acid reflux.

Medical studies suggest that caffeine can temporarily relax the lower food sphincter and aggravate symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn.

Carbonated drinks

Excessive consumption of carbonated drinks causes an accumulation of gas in the stomach, which causes bloating. In the event that your stomach is stretched, the pressure on the lower food sphincter increases, which contributes to the occurrence of acid reflux.

Have you encountered such a problem as acid reflux? How did you deal with this?

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