Oh no! Not again!! Did you go overboard with your consumption of the panipuri and chat with your friends? This could be the thought going on your head when you feel that burning pain in your chest after a night of indulgence of your favourite foods!!
Who hasn’t experienced the occasional heartburn or acidity that is caused by some indulgence either at a party or some spicy food or maybe gaps in your meals or skipping meals or whatever reason and it’s so uncomfortable especially when this burning is coupled with pain. Most often than not, it is caused by acidity.
What is acidity?
Acidity is the pain is caused by the backflow of the acid from the stomach into the food pipe, also called the oesophagus and also is called Gastro esophageal Reflux Disease or GERD.
Some people will straightaway start taking conventional medicine and get themselves thoroughly checked. But many of us resort to natural remedies or alternative therapies to get relief from the symptoms of acidity or heartburn.
How do you treat acidity besides using conventional medicine?
Basically, the way to do it is to have a lifestyle modification and take some natural remedies to avoid getting regular heartburn or acidity. Also, you can avoid the foods that cause all these issues as if you have too much coffee or tea or spicy food or alcohol or fried foods and some kind of sweets.
There are several ways you can improve your acidity symptoms mainly by making certain changes to your lifestyle.
- You can have fixed timings for your meals because if you don’t have meals at regular times your stomach will produce more acid.
- Mindful eating habits: It is better to eat meals at the right place sitting down without distractions– without looking at your mobile or the television.
- Avoid eating quickly or overeating so that you chew your food properly.
- Better to eat smaller frequent meals than larger meals
- Eat 3 or 4 hours before bedtime because if you lie down soon after eating, it can cause heartburn.
- Elevate your bed: So that the reflux does not happen and it’s better to sleep on the left side.
- Don’t wear tight clothes especially at the waist as it will restrict the stomach’s functioning.
- Decrease stress: Practice meditation to ease your stress. Even yogic practices like Ujjayi breathing which helps to increase saliva which is alkaline secretion and helps to curb acidity.
- Quit smoking: If you smoke, have spicy foods or consume alcohol- stop completely.
Here are some useful natural remedies to treat acidity:
- Holy Basil Leaves or Basil Tea: The holy basil or tulsi leaves help increase the mucus in the stomach and reduce the burning symptoms caused by acidity.
- Cold milk or even ice-cream: Milk has calcium which is the main ingredient of over-the-counter antacid medicines. The calcium helps in absorbing the acid and prevents its build up.
- Buttermilk or even curd: These help to cool the stomach and have probiotics / good bacteria to ensure good digestion and reduce acid secretion.
- ACV or Apple Cider Vinegar: This helps when acidity is caused by too little acid in the stomach and having a teaspoon or two in half a cup of water helps in relief of the symptoms.
- Banana or Apple: These can reduce bloating and the fibre in them can help good movement in the intestines.
- Gur/ Jaggery: The magnesium in gur or jaggery helps to make our digestive system strong and alkaline.
- Cinnamon: This wonder spice is full of nutrients and is a natural antacid. Make and consume cinnamon tea to combat acidity.
- Aloe Vera juice: This can help soothe the stomach lining.
- Coconut water: This can help by making the acid-alkaline and has fibre to help in good digestion.
- Fennel: Remember how most Indians end their meals by chewing on sauf or fennel seeds? This is because it prevents bloating.
Other popular choices are consuming licorice, cloves, cumin, chamomile, and ginger.
Acupuncture and some homeopathic remedies have been proven to help in the treatment of acidity as well.
The key is to prevent the ailment even before it starts. The best solution is to have a balanced life, avoid spicy foods or foods that trigger the issue. It is best to increase water or fluid intake, have meals on time and mindfully; and even exercise regularly to improve digestion. Also, one must be aware that self-medication, may not be always right, as the symptoms may be of those of some underlying life-threatening disease and it’s better to always consult your primary care physician.
What are the natural methods you choose to have an acidity free life? Would love to know your thoughts in the comments below!
Geeta Hansaria is a homeopath with a passion for writing, especially food poems, binges on DIY kid crafts and cooks up yummy ‘thalis’ for her vast Instagram fan following.