Is acid reflux sneaking up on you during your day to day activities? Are those little antacid tablets not doing the trick? Let's see if Ayurveda can help remedy your stomach woes.
What is Acid Reflux? According to Mayoclinic, Acid reflux is the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus — the tube that connects the throat and stomach. Acid reflux is more specifically known as gastroesophageal reflux. During an episode of acid reflux, you may taste regurgitated food or sour liquid at the back of your mouth or feel a burning sensation in your chest (heartburn). (Mayoclinic) Occasional acid reflux can be eased with simple lifestyle changes such as: losing excess weight, avoiding foods that trigger heartburn, eating smaller meals, and possibly avoiding nicotine and heartburn. However, chronic acid reflux occurring on a weekly basis is a sign of a deeper imbalance and, if left untreated, could be a sign of a much larger issue.
Often, the common the remedy for acid reflux is to take an antacid which will indeed help the symptoms but not get to the root of the problem. It might also lead to more acid in the future. The Ayurvedic Tradition recommends that we determine the root cause of acid reflux and treat that accordingly in order to create balance in the body. A preventative approach is always the approach in the long run. Below, we will present several kinds of acid reflux that could be bothering you and how to treat them.
Hypoacidity, also known as Hypochlorhydria, is a condition caused by the stomach being unable to produce hydrochloric acid. The cause of Hypoacidity includes: acid blocking drugs, loss of chloride, sodium and zinc through sweat, loss of hydrogen, also protein deficient diets. Symptoms of Hypoacidity include: bloating, gas, abdominal tightness, heartburn, indigestion, undigested food in stools, constipation abdominal cramping, foul smelling gas, and halitosis.
Hyperacidity, also called Acid Dyspepsia, is a medical condition in which the stomach secretes too much acid. The cause is generally medications, alcohol, smoking, a stressful lifestyle and eating habits. There are many symptoms of hyperacidity: Raspatory issues, coughing, vomiting, heartburn, stomach and chest pain, flatulence and bloating, stomach ulcers, pain in ears, Gastroesophageal reflux, Pain in muscular contraction.
Gastritis is a general term for a group of conditions with one thing in common: inflammation of the lining of the stomach. The inflammation of gastritis is most often the result of infection with the same bacterium that causes most stomach ulcers. (Mayoclinic) Gastritis can be caused by drinking too much alcohol, eating spicy food, smoking, extreme stress, long-term use of aspirin and over-the-counter NSAIDs as well as: infections caused by bacteria and viruses. Symptoms of gastritis can include: nausea, vomiting, and a burning pain in the upper GI Tract.
Overwhelmed Stomach or Food Stagnation is caused when we don’t properly digest our foods, they sit stagnate in our stomachs and we accumulate toxic material, Ama. Food stagnation does not allow us to absorb the bodies necessary nutrients, vitamins that it would normally benefit from food. Overeating sweet, rich, oily foods such as ice cream, wheat and cheese can cause food stagnation. They can cause mucus to accumulate and slow down digestion, creating more issues in the stomach, leading people to believe they have heart troubles. Food stagnation can be caused for dehydration in the body which takes moisture away from the intestines and stomach or heat in warm climates which focuses heat and energy to cool your skin and causes a loss of blood flow to your organs. Symptoms of Food Stagnation can Include: Nausea, Loos of Appetite at Breakfast, Gas and Bloating, Dehydration.
Ayurvedic Solutions for Acid Reflux:
Now that you know of several possible causes for your acid reflux, you can take a look at these solutions with some knowledge.
Eat your largest meal between 10am and 2pm. This is the Pitta period, when the digestive fire burns strongest and digestive enzymes are working their hardest.
Eat mindfully. Eat Fresh. Eat foods for you your Dosha.
Avoid acidic foods. Foods such as: grapefruit, orange, tomatoes, raw onions, as well as cheeses will create and imbalance in your stomach.
Keep a gap of at least 2 hours between meal time and bed time. This will allow your food to digest properly. And be sure to get enough sleep.
Fresh Coconut Water will give you quick relief of acid reflux.
Avoid drinking chilled water. Drink warm water with fresh ginger throughout the day.
Add a teaspoon of warm ghee (clarified butter) to a glass of milk and drink this before bedtime. This will coat the stomach as a protective barrier against an acid attack.
A popular remedy is to eat ¼ teaspoon baked fennel seeds after meals.
Avoid high stress situations as our body is connected to the mind and can react to outside stimuli.
Drink Pomegranate Juice, while it tastes sour, it is actually astringent and will help to balance Pitta.
Good luck to you and your stomach! The journey is long. Seek balance.