By Marc Courtiol
Acid reflux is an unpleasant and painful condition that many people suffer from. It happens when the stomach acids flow back up into the esophagus. Unfortunately, doctors’ prescriptions for it do have long-term side effects that are almost as bad. And since there are several reasons for this flow-back of acid, a one-size-fits-all prescription may not be the ideal solution.
Some prescription medications works by stopping the body from producing acid. But this acid is necessary to break down food particles so that the body can digest them and extract the necessary nutrients. If there is less acid, then the process will be impaired and lack of nutrition will be the result. Other medication contains products such as aluminum, which are actually quite harmful.
So before seeking prescription medication for your reflux problem, try some small changes that could quite well make a difference. Firstly, make sure you eat slowly and chew your food properly. A calm and pleasant atmosphere during mealtimes will also help. Rush, tension and stress do cause the stomach to produce more acid.
Eating smaller meals to reduce pressure on the esophagus will also be beneficial. And the evening meal should not be eaten too close to bedtime. Leave at least two hours before going off to bed or resting in a prone position. Taking a walk after eating will also help as the gentle exercise helps to massage the stomach and ease the passage of food and gas.
Aerobic exercise is not only good for your muscle tone; it also helps to tone up the digestive system. Thirty minutes of exercise every day will be found helpful. Any exercise that includes bending should not be undertaken soon after a meal as this increases pressure on the stomach and esophagus.
Eating foods that are more alkaline than acidic will also help to control acid reflux. In addition, raw vegetables, fruit and nuts all help to keep your digestive system healthy and are easy to digest. Chewing gum is also beneficial because it helps to increase saliva, which is alkaline.
Taking digestive supplements such as probiotics and full spectrum digestive enzymes will certainly help in the quest to stop that acid reflux. Avoid eating peppermint-flavored foods, as peppermint is actually a muscle relaxant. It can be responsible for relaxing the sphincter muscle that should remain firmly closed against stomach acids.
Other simple changes to lifestyle that could help with reflux problems are to avoid tight-fitting clothing, lose weight, cut back on alcohol and smoking and eat smaller meals. You can also enlist the aid of gravity by raising the head of the bed; place 6-inch blocks of wood under the bedposts.
Herbal remedies for acid reflux include such products as slippery elm, orange peel extract in tablet form, Aloe Vera juice, and twig tea. Twig tea is a Japanese tea that contains both the twigs, stalks and leaves of green tea. It has a creamy, nutty taste and neutralizes stomach acids. For those who don’t mind a bitter taste, chicory root tea may be found helpful.