What is Acidity – Acidity is one of the most common problems with the human body. We all face it now and then. Acidity occurs when the gastric glands of the stomach secrete excessive acids than required, which results in heartburn. Acidity is generally triggered by consuming spicy food. Although, it is not a major disease like diabetes or heart diseases, but the discomfort it causes is similar to them.
When the acidified liquid content of the stomach backs up into oesophagus, the condition is known as Acid Reflux or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This disease can result in damaging the lining of oesophagus, resulting in inflammation. Thus, it needs to be treated well in time to avoid the weakening of the defence mechanism of the stomach. Some of the symptoms of Acid reflux are:
- Heartburn – the burning pain that moves from the stomach to middle and upper abdomen and eventually to the throat is called heartburn. The heartburn that is related to GERD can also result in bloating.
- Dyspepsia – The uncomfortable feeling in the upper middle stomach with the coming and going pain is called Dyspepsia. The symptoms for the same include nausea after the meals, burps, bloating and pain the in the upper abdominal areas.
- Regurgitation – when you get the feeling of acid coming up in your mouth and throat and results in sour or bitter taste. It can also result in ‘wet burp’ or puking.
Signs of Acid Reflux or GERD:
Acid reflux or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which the acidified liquid content of the stomach backs up into the esophagus. GERD may damage the lining of the esophagus, thereby causing inflammation. If it is not treated at the right time the excessive acid can weaken the defense mechanism of the stomach lining. Ulcers can be formed in the esophagus and stomach.
Some symptoms are:
Heartburn: Heartburn is a burning pain that can move up from your stomach to the middle of your abdomen, chest and eventually move into your throat. Some people are naturally prone to heartburn but in most cases, it is not so. Heartburn related to GERD can be accompanied by bloating of the stomach.
Dyspepsia: It is an uncomfortable feeling in the upper middle part of your stomach. The pain might come and go, but it’s usually there for most of the time. It is indicated via symptoms such as nausea post meals, bloating, burping and pain in upper abdomen.
Regurgitation: It is basically a feeling of acid coming back up into your throat or mouth. Regurgitation can produce a sour or bitter taste, and you may experience a “wet burp” or even vomit. In extreme cases, acidity can get so bad that surgery is required.
Acidity and Alkalinity:
A balance between acid and alkaline states in the body is important to obtain optimum health. The pH factor indicates the acidity and alkalinity of the body. The acid-alkaline state of the body determines disease states and plays a critical role in body chemistry. The pH scale lies is measured using a scale of 0 to 14.
A perfectly normal pH value is 7.0. Any value below this indicates acidity and values above 7.0 indicate alkalinity. This is the level your body aims to maintain as it provides various systems with the appropriate environment to function.
Home Remedies to Cure Acidity:
Acidity can be easily managed by making a few lifestyle changes. For example, foods that we eat play a major role in managing the acidity levels. Hence, nutrition has magical healing powers. Experts, too, say the best way to get healthier passes through our kitchen as you can easily get relief of acidity the natural way. Here are healthier ways that people affected by acidity should adopt:
- Say no to aerated drinks and caffeine; switch to herbal tea.
- Drink a glass of lukewarm water every day.
- Include banana, watermelon, and cucumber in your daily diet. Watermelon juice is great for curing acidity. Coconut water is known to soothe the system if you suffer from acidity.
- Have your last meal at least two to three hours before you sleep.
- Long intervals between meals cause acidity. Have small but regular meals.
- Oily and fried foods trigger heartburn, hence avoid them. Also avoid pickles, spicy chutneys, and vinegar.
- Boil some mint leaves in water and drink this after meals.
- Jaggery, lemon, almonds, and yogurt give instant relief from acidity.
- Excessive smoking and drinking will increase acidity, so cut down.
- Try chewing gum. The saliva generated helps move food through the esophagus, easing symptoms of heartburn.
- Eat veggies like drumsticks, beans, pumpkin, cabbage, carrot and spring onions.
Foods that Cause Acidity:
|Food type||Example||How acidity is triggered?|
|Junk food||Deep fried foods||Foods rich in oil and butter remain in the stomach for a long time and trigger more acid production.|
|Caffeine||Chocolate, tea, coffee & soft drinks||Caffeine containing foods are highly acidic and stimulate the production of gastric acid.|
|Citrus fruits||Lemon, orange, sweet lime & grapefruit||Citric acid in citrus fruits can increase the already acidic medium of the stomach.|
|Alcohol||Wine, beer||Alcohol usually relaxes the muscles, but large amounts can irritate the stomach lining and bring the digestive process to a halt.|
|Soda||Carbonated drinks||The bubbles of carbonation tend to expand once they reach the stomach and create pressure on the esophageal sphincter, causing it to open the wrong way and result in heartburn.|
|Spicy foods||Paprika, vinegar, pepper, chilies & cinnamon||Though moderate amounts of spices are good for the digestive tract, high quantities can stimulate gastrin, resulting in excess hydrochloric acid in the stomach.|