Acid reflux is a highly common medical condition that affects an estimated 50% of Americans.
It is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or peptic ulcer disease. The identifying symptoms of acid reflux is the sensation of heartburn.
This is a burning sensation located behind the breastbone that often migrates up your throat. People who experience acid reflux mistake it for a heart attack. Doctors think that acid reflux is caused by large amounts of acid in the stomach. This is why drugs that have acid-blocking properties are frequently used to treat acid reflux.
Heartburn occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter inappropriately relaxes which allows stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. Acid reflux can happen to anyone, but if it is consistently (more than once a week) plaguing you it may be time to consult with a physician.
Typically GERD is treated with over-the-counter medications like antacids or dietary changes. Sometimes prescription medications are used when the pain is particularly severe.
The Mayo Clinic endorses four herbs that have the ability to soothe your acid reflux: chamomile, licorice, marshmallow, slippery elm.
Some foods are known to trigger acid reflux.
You should be cautious of the following foods because they can aggravate your symptoms:
If you take care to eliminate or at least moderate your consumption of these foods you may experience decreased symptoms. Sometimes it’s useful to keep a food journal to keep track of your progress.
When you eat smaller portions it creates less digestive stress on the stomach. This can decrease the amount of acid that potentially back flows.
There is no scientific consensus on which foods are ultimately the best for those suffering from acid reflux. In addition to avoiding the trigger foods that we already listed, the American Academy of Family Physicians endorses foods that are high in protein and low in fat. Decreasing intake of dietary fat could be effective in ameliorating your symptoms. Proper protein and fiber in your diet will make you feel full and keep you from over eating. As well, you can try chewing some non-mint gum after a meal. This will boost the amount of saliva in your mouth and potentially prevent acid from flowing into the esophagus.
These natural approaches to treating acid reflux disease can be effective in alleviating the pain of occasional flareups. You are experiencing more severe distress, you may be at risk of damaging your esophagus. Schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist to discuss a treatment plan that makes sense for you. You can always complement their recommendations with some of the natural treatments we suggested above.