Acid reflux is a condition that plagues millions of people worldwide. It is caused by stomach acid splashing up into the esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a ring-like valve at the bottom of the esophagus. It opens to allow food to enter the stomach and then closes to keep it there. When the LES becomes damaged and, or relaxed, stomach fluids are refluxed up into the esophagus and throat. The hydrochloric acid in this fluid has been compared to the corrosive acid in a common car battery.
It is important to remember why this condition usually exists in the first place. In most cases it is due to a damaged esophagus and LES. These can easily be scratched by eating foods with jagged edges like corn chips or crackers. Even crusty bread which has not been chewed properly can cause this type of damage. These little lacerations can then be irritated by acidic foods which are spicy or fried. Before you know it, you have a full fledged case of acid reflux. Once this cycle begins, it is not that easy to stop.
Let the esophagus heal by not eating the same foods in the same manner that caused the damage in the first place. Loosing weight, exercising, chewing properly, drinking sufficient amounts of water and eating in a pleasant atmosphere are all simple things that anyone can do to improve this condition.
There are also many natural ingredients found in any grocery market or health food store, which can help during the acid reflux recovery period. Herbs, like slippery elm and marshmallow have wonderful healing properties. Aloe vera juice, licorice and natural honey can sooth the esophagus and assist in the healing process.
By eating dinner at least three hours before retiring, one can drastically reduce the chances of acid reflux. Chewing gum between meals actually reduces stomach acid. Saliva is extremely alkaline in nature and chewing stimulates its production causing the system to be more alkaline.
Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Forget Acidaburn the “Three Big Meals” we have been taught to indulge in. Try eating four or five little meals each day. Start the day with Kukicha Twig tea instead of acidic coffee. This tea has been used for hundreds of years to make the body more alkaline. For breakfast, banish that cereal and instead eat fruit, like bananas and melons. Have several snacks of walnuts, almonds and more fruit during the day. For lunch have a salad, made with grilled chicken breasts, or tofu, mixed with hearts of romaine tossed with a little lemon juice and olive oil. Lemon juice is preferable to vinegar, as it is more alkaline in nature.
During this reflux recovery period, eating anything which could irritate or damage the esophagus must be avoided. Until the lacerations have had a chance to heal, spicy foods, such as acidic tomato products, hot peppers, raw garlic and raw onions should be eliminated from the diet. They just further irritate the condition. Eating chocolate, smoking and drinking alcohol relax the LES, allowing stomach acid to splash up into the esophagus, thus impeding the healing process.
The key to acid reflux recovery is to eat only mild, easy to digest food until the esophagus has healed. Eat early and slowly, chewing your food completely. Last, but not least, try to eat in a relaxed, pleasant and stress free environment.
There are many things one can do to improve the chances for success in defeating acid reflux. The choices in behavior that we make like exercising, losing weight, wearing loose clothing, eating and chewing properly and avoiding carbonated drinks are all very important. There is still another very potent technique for managing this condition. It is called meditation.