One might feel that acidity and acidic reflux or heartburn is caused only by consuming a heavy meal rich in fat and spices especially late in the night. But recently, I have been seeing a surge in the number of clients approaching me for diet counselling who also suffer from chronic acidity. These people are from varied occupations- busy executives, housewives, young men and women (age less than 30) and even adolescents!
Acidity is caused due to excess production, decreased utilization of the digestive juices (which are acidic in nature) in our stomach. This predominantly happens when there are long gaps between two meal times, the meal consumed is heavy in fat sugar and spices, when a person leads a very stressful lifestyle and due to lack of exercise. As a result, one gets a burning sensation in the stomach, throat and can often have an acidic reflux on lying down. Acidity is common in pregnant women as well, but that is because of the hormonal surge in pregnancy.
– The trick to managing acidity is to keep the stomach neither too full nor too empty. So the best way is to break down your breakfast, lunch and dinner into smaller portions and eat that food at an hourly interval.
– Another method is having sipfuls of cold milk every now and then- it helps stabilize the gastric acids. But beware, eating icecream is not equivalent to drinking plain cold milk as the fat (cream) and sugar in the icecream can actually aggravate your acidity.
– The most common tip, avoid spicy, oily, deep fried and fatty foods as they are a sure shot way of increasing the reflux.
– Increase the amount of fibre in your diet by increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fibre absorbs the extra acid in the stomach and helps to discard it out of the body. The salts that one gets from the fruits also help in neutralizing the acidity.
-Start the morning with half a cup of cold milk and a couple of digestive fibre rich crackers.
– When sleeping, elevate your head by adding an extra pillow under your head so that the acid remains low down and does not come up to your throat once you sleep.
– Drink atleast three litres of water every single day, it dilutes the acid.
– Drinking tender coconut water is also known to be beneficial.
– Advance your dinner time by atleast a couple of hours; dinner should be done by 8 pm so that you still have a couple of hours before you go to sleep.
– Practice yoga or meditation techniques which can help you relax- stress is the biggest lifestyle trigger to acidity.
– And of course, Exercise, Exercise, Exercise- EVERYDAY!
Bring into practice all of these points and I am sure you won’t be stuck in the cycle of acidity and antacids.