Do you know our stomach produces an acid called hydrochloric acid to digest food? Without this acid in the stomach, the food we eat will not be able to digest properly. At times when a person is unable to consume food regularly, the acid produced by the stomach to digest food starts digesting the inner lining of the stomach in the absence of food in the tummy. When no food is consumed for a prolonged period, it can also lead to stomach ulcers.
When hydrochloric acid produced by the stomach enters the esophagus, it causes a burning sensation in the chest and leads to irritation in the esophagus’ lining. Acidity is generally caused due to unhealthy foods and poor lifestyle choices in most cases. Read the complete blog and get to know about what is acidity and how to cure acidity effectively.
What Is Acidity?
Before we discuss the best strategies to cure acidity, it is essential to know what exactly is acidity.
The food we intake goes to our stomach through the esophagus. The gastric glands in the stomach then produce acid to digest food. When these gastric glands produce more acid than required for the digestion process, it causes a burning sensation below the breastbone. This condition is commonly referred to as acidity.
Acidity, also known as acid reflux, is a condition that is described by heartburn that is felt around the lower chest area. Acidity is a condition caused when the stomach acid flows back to the esophagus (food pipe). The most common symptom of acidity is pain and a burning sensation in the chest. Most people develop acidity in their lifetime but aren’t aware that poor or inadequate lifestyle choices are the main culprit behind it.
When your acidity symptoms occur more than twice a week, the chances are significant that you might have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Chronic acidity can lead to serious complications, including:
- Esophagus damage: Oesophagus is the tube that joins your mouth to your stomach. When acid flows back up and reaches the esophagus, it increases the risk for esophageal ulcers, esophageal strictures, oesophagitis, and Barrett’s Oesophagus.
- Greater risk of esophagus cancer, which is more likely if you have a family history with the disease
- Acid reflux may damage the enamel of your teeth and cause cavities.
What Causes Acidity?
Acidity occurs due to excess production of acid in the stomach by the gastric glands. Several factors can cause acidity, including:
Unhealthy eating habits
Following unhealthy eating habits generally causes acidity:
- Skipping meals or eating at irregular times
- High intake of table salt
- Diet low in dietary fiber
- Eating just before sleeping
- Consumption of spicy food
Excessive intake of certain foods
- Extremely spicy food
- Fat rich food such as fried food, pizza, doughnuts, etc.
- Drinks such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, and carbonated drinks
Side effects of certain medications
It includes the following medications:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Depression and anxiety medications
- Medicines for high blood pressure
Some stomach disorders can also cause acidity, such as:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Peptic ulcers
The other causes of acidity include:
- Lack of sleep
- Excessive stress
- Consumption of non-vegetarian food
- Frequent consumption of alcohol
- Lack of physical activity
- Frequent smoking
Consider the following tips for acidity prevention:
- Practice mindful eating and make sure to have a balanced and nutritious diet.
- Schedule meal timing and patterns.
- Limit the intake of caffeinated beverages
- Avoid deep-fried, sour, spicy, and junk foods.
- Be physically active; engage in moderate-intensity workouts.
- Avoid going to bed immediately after having a meal.
- Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake.
- Maintain a consistent sleeping pattern.
- Manage stress by participating in yoga, meditation, or cultivating some new hobbies.
A doctor orders a series of tests before treating acidity. These tests help doctors to carefully determine the acidity level and then prescribe the type of medication required. The tests ordered to diagnose acidity include:
- X-ray of the upper digestive system
- Upper endoscopy
- Ambulatory acid (pH) probe test
- Esophageal manometry
Depending upon your condition and severity of the acid reflux problem:
- You will be prescribed an antacid that comprises calcium, aluminum, or magnesium.
- Your doctor may also recommend using histamine blocking agents (H2 receptor blockers), such as cimetidine, famotidine, nizatidine, or ranitidine.
- If your condition is severe, the doctor may prescribe proton pump inhibitors.
- If the condition is extremely serious, your doctor might order Vagotomy surgery that helps to minimize the production of acid in the stomach.
Your doctor may also provide you with a list of dos and don’ts based on your health. Follow the instructions carefully to cure acidity better.
Also Read: Helpful tips for acidity relief
Home Remedies For Acidity
Following are some of the best home remedies for acidity:
- Coconut water: This savory treat is known to soothe your stomach and the digestive system. When you drink coconut water, your body’s acidic pH level turns basic. It also helps produce mucus in the stomach, which protects the stomach from the adverse effects of excessive acid production. Since coconut water is rich in fiber, it improves digestion and prevents acidity from reoccurring. Take at least two glasses of coconut water each day.
- Bananas: Bananas hold a great significance when it comes to health benefiting properties. Bananas comprise natural antacids that can act as a buffer against acidity. This is one of the most convenient home remedies one can consider to cure acidity. Eat one banana each day to prevent acidity-related discomfort.
- Basil leaves: Basil leaves have soothing and curative properties, which can provide you with instant relief from acidity. When you first observe any sign of acidity, much on a few basil leaves or boil them in water and drink it several times a day to cure acidity effectively.
- Fennel: To prevent acidity, make it a habit to chew fennel seeds after meals. Fennel seeds are known to have a whole lot of gastrointestinal benefits to improve the health of your gastrointestinal tract. The oil found in the seeds is considered beneficial to relieve various symptoms of acidity, including indigestion and bloating.
- Buttermilk: If you develop acidity after having a heavy or spicy meal, skip the antacid, and drink a glass of buttermilk instead. Buttermilk contains lactic acid that standardizes the acidity in the stomach. For better test and optimum results, sprinkle one teaspoon of ground coriander or a dash of black pepper into your buttermilk.
- Jaggery: Have you ever wondered why many people finish a meal with jaggery? It’s because of its high magnesium-content, which improves intestinal health. It facilitates the digestion process and makes the digestive system more alkaline in nature, thus minimizing stomach acidity. To reap maximum benefits, suck on a piece of jaggery after a meal. Since jaggery also helps maintain normal body temperature, cooling the stomach, many health experts recommend drinking jaggery soaked in ice-cold water during summers.
- Ginger: Ginger has excellent anti-inflammatory and digestive properties. To cure acidity, you can munch on a slice of fresh ginger. You can also use ginger in cooking or boil it in a glass of water for consumption.
- Cold milk: Milk helps neutralize gastric acids in the stomach. But if you are lactose intolerant, please don’t choose this home remedy to relieve acidity. Milk is rich in calcium, which helps prevent the accumulation of acid in the stomach. The next time you suffer an acidity, all you need to do is to drink a glass of cold milk.
- Cinnamon: It acts as a natural antacid for stomach acidity and can settle your stomach by enhancing digestion and absorption. For relief, have a cup of cinnamon tea to recover infections in the gastrointestinal tract. Cinnamon is a powerhouse of nutrients and jam-packed with numerous health benefiting properties.
- Cumin seeds: Cumin is an effective home remedy to cure acidity, which aids digestion and relieves stomach pain. All you need to do is to boil a teaspoon of cumin seeds in water and drink it up after every meal to relieve your symptoms.
- Cloves: Cloves prevent the formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract. You can suck on a piece of clove to relieve your acidity or include it in your foods, such as black grams and kidney beans that tend to trigger flatulence. Alternatively, you can eat equal amounts of crushed cardamom and cloves to get rid of your foul breath and acidity.
- Apple cider vinegar: In some cases, too little stomach acid can also cause acidity. That’s where apple cider vinegar jumps in. Take one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a full glass of water each morning on an empty stomach.