Acid reflux is also called acidity or GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
Acid reflux, in simple terms, means the upward movement of acid from the stomach to the esophagus. This causes acidity, because of which we feel a burning sensation in the chest and heart.
How does Acidity (or Acid Reflux) occur?
It occurs because of LOOSENING of the sphincter cells that are present right at the junction between the esophagus and stomach.
Generally, the food is chewed and swallowed. The action of swallowing will lead to the relaxation of the sphincter cells. When the swallowed food moves through the esophagus and finally reaches the stomach, here is where the relaxed sphincter cells play a major role in pushing the food inside the stomach (unidirectional movement).
Once all the food enters the stomach, the sphincter cells get back to their original position in order to prevent the reverting back of food and acids into the esophagus.
But, in certain conditions, when people tend to consume food that does not suit them or that they are allergic to, then it will lead to the relaxing or the loosening of the sphincter cells unnecessarily though there is no food left to enter the stomach. Thus, in this situation, instead of food entering the stomach, the stomach acids enter the esophagus and throat, causing acidity.
The inner lining of the esophagus and throat is sensitive to such acids and thus causes a burning sensation in the chest and heart as a symptom of acidity.
SYMPTOMS of ACIDITY or ACID REFLUX
Acidity is a common problem that is faced by most people today.
It starts with very mild symptoms that we face in our everyday life. But in certain cases, they tend to get very severe with many adverse effects.
Mild symptoms are —
1. Inflammation and ulcers
3. Burning sensation
4. Dry cough
5. Sore throat
Severe symptoms are —
2. Chronic cough
4. Barrett’s esophagus
DIET FOR ACID REFLUX DISORDER:-
One major reason that causes acidity in our bodies is food. There are certain kinds of food that are known to cause acidity in the body when consumed in excess amounts or when the person is allergic to them. So, it is important for people with acidity problems to stay away from such food items.
Likewise, there are also certain foods that help in preventing acidity or giving relief from the problem. Such food is recommended to be consumed under a proper diet plan in order to fight acidity.
DIET THAT IS TO BE AVOIDED DURING ACID REFLUX PROBLEM
The food items that can cause acidity or increase the persisting acidity are:-
1) JUNK or FATTY FOODS
When these foods are consumed in excess quantities, they lead to the relaxation of the sphincter cells (Lower Esophagal Sphincter – LES) unnecessarily though there is no food left to enter the stomach; instead, the stomach acids enter the esophagus and cause acidity.
– French fries
– Whole-fat milk
– Creamy gravies
– Fried and oily food
– Sugars and desserts like ice cream, cake, etc
2) CITRUS FRUITS
Citrus fruits containing a large number of acids increase the overall acidic effect on the esophagus.
They contain methylxanthine, coco, and caffeine that relax sphincter cells at the wrong time. for eg. Dark chocolates, Sugary chocolates, or Milk chocolates.
It is a drug that increases acid reflux.
Caffeine is present in –
– Kola nuts
5) SPICY and TANGY FOOD
Spicy food contains capsaicin which slows down the process of digestion and also irritates the esophageal lining when consumed in excess.
The indigested food, along with the acids, moves up to the esophagus when the sphincter gets relaxed, thereby causing acidity.
- Black pepper
- Peri peri
- Tabasco sauce
Beer, Wine, Whisky, Vodka, and so on
7) CARBONATED DRINKS
Pepsi, Coke, Cola, Sprite, Mountain dew, Sparkling water or seltzer
Mint, Chewing gum, Mint tablets, Mouth freshening sprays
Smoking often triggers adverse effects of acidity.
DIET THAT IS TO BE FOLLOWED DURING ACID REFLUX PROBLEM
- Coconut water
They are rich in proteins and vitamins, whereas they have fewer fat components. Thus, it is the best-suited form of diet for acidity.
Its anti-inflammatory properties help in reducing inflammation of the esophagus and throat that was caused as a result of acidity.
Thus, ginger gives instant relief from pain and also reduces heartburn.
- Raw ginger
- Ginger tea
- Ginger root
- Ginger smoothies
- Cereals, grains, and seeds
They are an excellent source of fiber. When they are consumed, the fiber mixes with the other food components in the stomach and helps in easy and faster digestion by absorbing the stomach acids.
- Brown rice
- Whole grain bread
- Fennel seeds
- Chia seeds
- Seafood and light meat with less fat
They are mostly preferred to be consumed after steaming, poaching, baking, or grilling instead of deep frying.
- Egg whites
Egg whites are a good source of protein, whereas egg yolk has high-fat components. Thus, the egg white alone can be consumed from a boiled egg.
- Exceptionally healthy fats
In the name of acid reflux, it is not good to rip our body off from fats itself because we do need a certain amount of essential fats in our balanced diet to maintain a healthy life. Such fats are called unsaturated fats, and they are-
- Olive oil
- Flax seeds
- Sesame oil
- Sunflower oil
- Soy milk
Apart from all of this, it is important to check on the foods that can trigger acidity in our body by observing our eating habits since everybody’s body reacts differently to different foods. And it is always better to see a doctor before the condition could get severe.
MEDICAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER:
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The Author does not provide any medical advice on this platform.
Viewing, accessing, or reading this blog does not establish any doctor-patient relationship.
The information provided in this blog does not replace the services and opinions of a qualified medical professional who examines you and then prescribes medicines.
And if you have any questions of medical nature, please refer to your doctor or qualified medical personnel for evaluation and management at a clinic/hospital near you.
The content provided in this blog represents the Author’s own interpretation of research articles.