Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux disease is defined as a disorder in which the abnormal reflux of stomach acid produces mucosal damage into the esophagus or food pipe. This is commonly due to transient or permanent changes in the region between the esophagus and the stomach, referred to as lower esophageal sphincter.
Acidity occurs when there is excess secretion of acids by the gastric glands of the stomach. It is a problem which is aggravated when one has poor eating habits.
Acidity is generally accompanied by heartburn, which is characterized by a pain accompanied by burning in the chest behind the sternum (breast-bone). It occurs after having meals and is caused by conditions associated with excess intra-abdominal pressure like lifting weights or straining. It can also occur while lying down and is relieved when the individual sits upright.
The digestive gland of the stomach and intestines also secrete various types of enzymes. Pepsin is one of the enzymes that breaks down and digests food. These enzymes could also contribute to symptoms of heartburn.
Do’s in Acidity
Diet modifications advised in patients with acidity and heartburn are:
- Dates, figs, apple, papaya and pomegranate can be added to the diet.
- Carrot leaves, celery leaves and curry leaves are helpful in controlling acidity. Celery has a high level of magnesium and iron as well.
- Vegetables like carrot and beetroot are good for relieving acidity.
- Spices like cumin seeds, coriander and cardamom should be taken.
- One should include barley, jowar and wheat as a staple food.
- A glass of cold milk is also helpful.
- Almonds are also a good remedy for relieving heartburn and acidity.
- Take some mint leaves and chop these, then boil in a cup of water and sip slowly after meals.
- Eating bananas are also helpful in preventing the symptoms of acidity.
- Basil (tulsi) leaves help to get relief from burning, nausea and gas.
- Eating a serving of cucumber or watermelon is useful to fight against acidity.
- Ginger is very useful for digestive disorders. Make a fine powder by adding equal amounts of ginger powder, black pepper, dried mint leaves, asafoetida (hing), anise seeds, coriander seeds, cumin, fennel and common salt. Take about 1 teaspoon of this powder with water, twice a day after meals. Do consult your doctor before taking it.
- It is advised to drink 10-12 glasses of water daily. Drinking water gives immediate relief to symptoms like gas and acidity.
- Drinking 1-2 glasses of lukewarm water early morning keeps one healthy and relieves one from acidity.
- Remain Calm: One may find that doing yoga or other stress-reducing activities will be very effective for their acidity.
- Use Gravity: When you feel acid reflux symptoms, remain upright. This also means that you should not lie down soon after you've had a meal.
- Loosen Clothing: Wear loose clothes. By undoing a belt, removing tight-fitting pantyhose, or releasing any other kinds of tight waistbands, the pressure is released from the stomach.
- Eat small, regular meals based on whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals and a moderate amount of proteins such as lean meat, eggs.
Here are some of the things you should avoid in case you suffer from acidity:
- Spicy foods such as chili and barbecue sauces made with hot pepper
- Indian dishes containing thick curry and Chinese recipes that contain red pepper
- Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit as they are high in acid
- Full-fat dairy products such as sour cream, cheese or ice cream
- Fatty foods like hamburger or cuts of meat with excess fat
- Eggs, tuna and sandwiches made with cold cuts like cheese
- Coffee, tea, chocolate and soft drinks
- Peas, beans, broccoli and cabbage
- Tomatoes and onions
- Pickles, oily and spicy food
- Cheese items and junk food
- Raw salad vegetables like onion, radish, cabbage, and peppers
- Carbonated beverage, tea and coffee which stimulate the stomach and irritate the esophagus
- Alcohol and smoking
- Preservative-containing food, which is irritant to esophagus producing backflow of food content into the mouth
Latest Publications and Research on Diet Management in Acidity and GERDGastroesophageal reflux symptoms among Italian university students: epidemiology and dietary correlates using automatically recorded transactions. - Published by PubMed
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Obese Patients. - Published by PubMed
Dietary Supplement and Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Are Highly Prevalent in Patients with Gastrointestinal Disorders: Results from an Online Survey. - Published by PubMed
Management of gastroesophageal reflux disease in adults: a pharmacist's perspective. - Published by PubMed
Barrett's esophagus in children: what is the evidence? - Published by PubMed