It always helps to know the effects of what you put into your body, for the saying that ‘you are what you eat’ has earned its place as an old-age adage with good reason. A lighter, healthier diet consisting of fresh organic produce will always give your body more vitamins and nutrients than something that has sat in a storage warehouse for weeks and kept fresh with unnatural preservatives. The right diet can soothe most ailments and illnesses, often serving as a substitute for certain store-bought medications - the same can be said for combatting acid reflux.
The sharp, fiery sensation one feels in their chest as a result of heartburn, acid reflux is the burning feeling that comes from stomach acid travelling up your esophagus and leaving a nasty sour taste in your mouth at the end. With symptoms including foul-smelling breath, a rough voice and sore throat – as well as a bad case of hiccups that won’t quit – acid reflux is, overall, a pretty unpleasant experience. Thankfully, there are quite a few ways for you to help alleviate these symptoms, and one of the most beneficial is by adjusting your diet.
Foods to avoid when suffering from acid reflux
It’s always easier to know what not to touch when you’re trying to resolve an ailment by dietary means. For acid reflux, you’ll want to drop your consumption of caffeinated drinks, as these can aggravate your stomach acid, and even peppermint tea can upset your stomach acid. Avoid carbonated beverages as the bubbles from these drinks can expand in your stomach and cause mild to moderate pain; not to mention fizzy drinks are often high in sugar content and are to be avoided, anyway.
Steer clear of citric fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits, as their substantial acidity content can relax the esophageal sphincter and grants greater volumes of stomach acid more access to your throat, thereby worsening symptoms. To that effect, also try to limit your alcohol intake, as it also relaxes the esophagus sphincter but stimulates the production of stomach acid at the same time. Talk about a double blow.
Besides cutting out these foods, there are also a few habits that you need to be addressed as well, in order for your lifestyle to complement your healthier diet. Once you have worked out which foods trigger your symptoms, try to avoid those as best you can; cut down on your smoking (which is good advice in general, anyway, as there is no shortage of health detriments caused by tobacco); and wear looser-fitting clothing that won’t put any pressure around your waist.
Try and lose weight if you are considered to have an unhealthy BMI – again, generally good advice, anyway – and avoid eating no less than three hours before you go to bed, so your food has enough time to digest before you fall asleep. Many people toss and turn at night, and this movement can cause upset to your stomach if it has only recently been filled with food.
Best foods for acid reflux
Now let’s move on to what you can eat. Firstly, chicken breast isn’t just a great source of protein but this low-fat, lean meat is also a good way to reduce your stomach acid levels, though you’ll want to remove the fatty skin first. Chicken breast is best eaten when baked, grilled, or poached, as frying it will only aggravate your stomach; fried food generally is one of the worst agitators for acid reflux.
A variety of vegetables is a key source of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need, as well as a sure-fire way to soothe stomach acid. Good examples for relieving symptoms of acid reflux include broccoli, green beans, cauliflower and cucumber. Those of you really missing out on your hot drinks can take refuge in homemade ginger tea, as this aromatic plant is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties and is well regarded as a natural remedy for heartburn. It’s also packed full of flavor and can easily be incorporated into just about any dish, so getting more ginger into your new acid reflux-friendly diet should be anything but difficult.
And finally, we come to fennel, the crunchy root with the distinctive aniseed taste that can also be used as a substitute for celery in salads and when cooking. This one is a real tummy tamer, as its anti-inflammatory properties have been known to soothe many kinds of inflammation and muscular discomfort. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to cook with fennel, making it one of the most versatile organic ingredients out there – and you can get your hands on an entire case of it right now for just $12, thanks to the amazing deals we promote on Buffalo Market every day.
Beside increasing your consumption of these foods, it also helps to modify some aspects of your lifestyle: you can start by regulating your portion sizes. Eating smaller, more frequent meals that your stomach can easily digest is one important step, but an improvement to overall sleep hygiene is one of the best ways of naturally combatting acid reflux. Easing into sleep naturally and calmly, reducing your stress levels as much as possible, will help reduce acid reflux. You should also raise one end of your bed by 15cm, with your head and chest slightly tilted above your waist, so that stomach acid cannot easily travel up to your throat.
What causes acid reflux?
While heartburn is a common enough issue, there is no singular cause because many people suffer from its symptoms for various reasons. Generally these symptoms will feel at their worst when bending over or lying down, or after eating as your stomach digests the food you have eaten, and there are numerous triggers which could intensify these symptoms. Certain factors such as a person’s levels of anxiety or stress – caused by pregnancy as well as being overweight or a regular smoker – should be taken into consideration, or the consumption of certain spicy or fatty foods. Keeping clear of alcohol and coffee as much as possible is advised for those who suffer from acid reflux, but this issue can be inflamed by some kinds of anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen.
For more educational insight into the necessity of a healthier, more natural diet – with articles covering every topic from why eggs are good for you and the benefits of strawberries – take a look at the Buffalo Market food blog. Frequently updated with pieces on how food can relieve the painful symptoms of numerous ailments, as well as improve general health and wellbeing, our blog is a great resource for anyone keen to learn more about how what they put into their bodies can really make a difference.