Acid reflux is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. After food enters the stomach, a muscle, the esophageal sphincter, acts as a valve and closes the stomach. When this valve does not close properly, the stomach acid produced by digestion enters the esophagus. This results in heartburn. This could be a one-time thing, but if you feel the burning sensation more than once or twice, you might be suffering from acid reflux or GERD.
The first response for anyone with heartburn and acid reflux is to buy over-the-counter antacids. While they may give you temporary relief, the symptoms will be right back if you do not follow these simple rules to avoid acid reflux:
1. Eat smaller meals
Eating can be a compulsive habit. Doctors always recommend eating only when you feel hungry. Missing an occasional meal will not hamper the overall health unless you have severe health complications. Instead of overeating or fasting for longer periods, smaller meals are ideal. A meal can be just a bowl of fruit or steamed vegetables, which puts less pressure on the digestive system.
2. Eat fresh food
Processed food contains excess sodium. Along with food additives, sodium can induce acid reflux. While cooking, please avoid using items like citrus and mint, these can increase acid reflux. Plan your menu and stock groceries so the need to eat packaged food is reduced to the minimum. Include GERD-friendly spices and grains.
3. Low carbs all the way
Undigested food can add to the pressure on the stomach and allow acid to escape, causing heartburn. That is why we belch and burp and pass wind after a heavy meal. The burps are accompanied by a sour and bitter taste in the mouth, and you may also feel bloated. A low-carb diet is easy to digest and reduces the pressure on the abdomen, and hence directly reduces the effect of acid reflux. Some of the low carbs that should be part of your diet are rice, plain pasta, oatmeal, whole grain bread, pancakes, boiled potatoes, crackers, etc.
4. Drinking herbal tea
One of the ways to reduce acid reflux is to consume something that will negate the impact of the acid. You can drink herbal tea, green tea, or any such preparation without adding milk or cream. They will not only soothe the heartburn but also improve digestion and reduce the impulse of burps and nausea.
5. Drinking plant-based milk
Today we are spoilt for choices when it comes to alternatives for milk. These cater to those who are vegan as well as those who are lactose intolerant. This is a boon for many others who need to avoid dairy. People who are suffering from acid reflux can choose from many plant-based options like coconut, almond, cashew, or soy milk. Plant-based milk can reduce acidity and help in better digestion.
6. Fruit juices
While citrus and grapes are acidic and can increase acid reflux, juices from healthy vegetables like carrot, beetroot, cucumber, aloe vera, pears, and watermelon will not irritate the esophageal sphincter. You can also combine fruits and plant-based milk and make smoothies. Smoothies not only reduce heartburn, but they can also be a healthy meal for you.