Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), commonly known as acid reflux, is a way of describing heartburn medically. It is a very common problem, currently affecting 50 percent of Americans.
Heard of GERD?
Heartburn is a sign that you have eaten something that your stomach cannot handle. GERD is when the acid contents of the stomach or the pancreatic liquids themselves go back into the esophagus, which causes discomfort.
This seemingly harmless acid causes irritation, inflammation, and scarring, which may narrow the esophagus and lead to symptoms like nausea, coughing, wheezing, burning of the throat, hoarseness, food getting stuck in the throat, eroded tooth enamel, and asthma-like symptoms.
It is worth noting that GERD increases the risk of esophageal cancer, although not drastically. If it goes on for an extended period, you are likely to develop Barrett’s Esophagus, a disorder in which gland cells replace squamous cells in the stomach, eventually leading to dysplasia and cancer.
What’s triggering your GERD?
Determining the cause of your acid reflux is the first step. If you are older or overweight, the chances are your abdominal fat is interfering with esophagus function. Some of the most common aggravators of GERD symptoms include:
- Fatty, greasy, or spicy foods
- Artificial sweeteners
- Processed foods
Here are some of the best GERD relievers which should be tried out in the place of store-bought antacids:
1. Change your diet
Don’t get too excited; it only makes a difference for about 30 percent of people. Plus, the problem with the diet is that we find most people would rather die than be on that diet for the rest of their life. The first step includes eliminating the common offenders like spicy foods, chocolate, and alcohol and removing all processed and fast food from your diet.
Foods that can help improve acid reflux include fresh organic vegetables, free-range chicken and grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, free range poultry and eggs, probiotic foods like yogurt, and healthy fats like coconut, avocados or olive oil.
2. Lose weight
It has been scientifically shown that losing 8-10 percent of your weight significantly reduces acid reflux symptoms.
3. Room temperature water and lemon
By drinking room temperature water and lemon on an empty stomach 15 to 20 minutes before eating anything else, the body can naturally balance out its acid levels. Cold water is not recommended as it stresses the stomach and the intestines. On the other hand, warm water is better accepted by the esophagus and the stomach.
4. A tablespoon of baking soda in a half cup water
While this solution is not tasty at all, it does work wonders for acid reflux. I would not recommend this as a regular solution, but it can sure help in an emergency when you are in agonizing pain.
5. Raw apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is extremely versatile and it really works as an amazing cure-all. According to Christina K. Major, holistic nutritionist and naturopathic doctor in Trevorton, PA, “Many people mistakenly believe all acid reflux and indigestion is caused by an overproduction of acid. The latest research shows it’s actually the opposite for many people: There is too little acid produced to adequately digest the food eaten.”
Have 1-2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar in 4 oz of water about 10 minutes before each large meal.
6. Take probiotics
Take 25–50 billion units of high-quality probiotics daily. Adding healthy bacteria helps balance the digestive tract and crowd out bad bacteria that can lead to indigestion, leaky gut and poor absorption of nutrients.
7. Slippery elm
This herbal supplement is available in powder, capsule, and lozenge form. It is very effective in soothing the irritated tissues of the digestive tract.
8. Tea time
Fenugreek and chamomile tea are some of the most effective in reducing acid reflux symptoms. Peppermint tea is yet another good idea, as it helps with an upset or full stomach.
9. Reduce stress on the digestive system
Be sure not to try to eat solid foods when you are under stress. Stress reduces the secretion of digestive juices and enzyme production. You should only consume raw and liquid foods in small quantities during the stressful periods of the day. Enjoy your larger meal with healthy proteins. good fats and veggies at a more relaxed time of day.
10. Chewing gum
Chewing gum increases saliva production, which in turn lowers acid levels in the esophagus.
11. Sleep on your left side
It has been scientifically shown that sleeping on the right side or on the stomach causes pressure on the intestines and increases acid reflux symptoms.