Acidity in the stomach is a common problem in the Indian population. Not only is it related to the spicy foods that we enjoy so much, it is also closely related to the sedentary lifestyles and lack of exercise. One of the most common reasons why individuals visit a physician is an acidity and excessive burping. The problem can be quite troublesome and has a significant impact on an individual’s day-to-day activities.
In this article, we simply talk about what is acidity, talk about home remedies to cure acidity and also discuss how you could prevent this problem from affecting you in the long term.
What is Acidity?
The stomach is a reservoir that accepts food that we consume through our mouth. Once the food enters the stomach, acid is released from the cells that line the stomach. This acid is responsible for breaking down the food material into easily digestible components. This broken down food material is then transported to the small intestine and large intestine where the nutrients present in food are absorbed.
It is quite evident that the stomach plays a very important role in the process of digestion. However, on occasion, the amount of acid that is produced by the cells lining the stomach can be rather excessive. This usually takes place because the stomach lining is irritated by certain elements that are present in the food. It can also occur because of a bacterial infection called Helicobacter pylori which affects the stomach lining and causes increased acid production.
Treatment of hyperacidity is primarily through changing diet and lifestyle and also through medication. However, there are many home remedies to cure acidity that are available and rather effective.
When it comes to medical management, the commonly prescribed medications include H2 receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors. These medications need to be taken on an empty stomach in order to be effective. However, there is some evidence that long-term use of these medicines can have certain side effects. It is therefore not recommended that these medications be taken on a regular basis for years on end. Instead, trying to adopt simple natural remedies to cure acidity is more advisable.
Now let’s move on to the common natural remedies to cure acidity.
Home Remedies To Cure Acidity
1. Milk And Milk Products:
Probably the most well-known natural cure for acid reflux is cold milk. If you are struggling with hyperacidity all the time, then a glass of cold milk can help neutralise the acid completely and get rid of your symptoms within no time. In fact, medical textbooks have clearly described individuals suffering from ulcers in the stomach and the duodenum (first part of the small intestine) to have a craving for cold milk and subsequently increasing their body weight.
If milk is not your thing, you could even try to have a glass of cold yoghurt. This also has the same neutralising powers and is also rich in probiotics that can improve digestion. Similarly, cold buttermilk is extremely helpful provided it is not spiced up and does not contain added salt.
2. Stopping Smoking:
It is very well known that individuals who smoke regularly have an increased risk of developing hyperacidity. In fact, if you are looking for an effective home remedy to cure acidity, then you must consider stopping smoking if you are a smoker. Even if you try every remedy to get rid of the excess acid being produced in your stomach, if you continue to smoke, none of these would be helpful.
Smoking is also associated with a number of other medical problems which I will not list here as it is out of the scope of this article. However, there is no doubt that by stopping smoking you can greatly reduce your risk of developing multiple health problems. While it is quite a task to do so, it will take a few weeks before you can completely give up the habit.
Related Read: How I Managed to Quit Smoking: The Heavy Smoker Story
When we exercise, we improve the flow of blood to all our vital organs and this includes the stomach. If food is present in the stomach, those individuals who exercise regularly have better blood supply and better digestion. In fact, stomach movements are a lot more regular and faster in those people who exercise regularly.
Our busy lives these days mean that we are unable to follow a good diet and exercise regularly. However, regular exercise does not need to be a task. If you even have around 20 minutes to spare now and again, try and go for a brisk walk and get your heart pumping and blood flowing to your stomach. You will find that your digestion improves greatly and this is one of the best natural remedies to cure acid reflux.
4. Avoid Spicy Food:
The Indian diet is rich in spices. That’s what makes it so tasty and one of the favourite foods across the world. However, some individuals are rather sensitive to excess spice in the food when some of them can tolerate spicy foods like no others.
In those individuals who are intolerant to spices, it is quite important that they try and avoid consuming such foods as much as possible. While a small amount of spice is essential to make food palatable, excess spice is absolutely unnecessary.
While it is quite evident that excessive spice intake can cause hyperacidity, there are some clinical trials that suggest otherwise. However, from my clinical experience, it is clear to me that people who do eat spicy foods find that the acidity problems worsen. It is therefore quite essential for those individuals looking for home remedies to cure acidity to stop consuming spicy foods as much as possible.
5. Bananas And Almonds:
There are individuals who have found that eating bananas on a regular basis helps them relieve symptoms from hyperacidity. Similarly, people who consume almonds and similar nuts have also found some benefit as well. Just a handful of them is sufficient to keep hyperacidity at bay.
6. Reduce Coffee Intake:
Clinical studies have found that excessive coffee intake could weaken the lower oesophageal sphincter, which is a band of muscle present in the lower end of the food pipe. Normally, this sphincter prevents food and acid from the stomach regurgitating back into the oesophagus.
Caffeine also has a property of increasing acid production in the stomach. This can in turn worsen symptoms of acidity. Decaffeinated coffee may be slightly better, but some people tend to be sensitive to that as well.
There are many natural remedies for acidity. Given that it is a common problem, it is worthwhile trying each of the methods listed above.