Best home remedies for acidity and heartburn
by Kankana Roy Jain | March 3, 2018, 7:00 AM IST
All of us have suffered from acidity at some point or other. Severe pain in the stomach, burning, bloating, hiccupping, flatulence and acid reflux are the common symptoms. While our immediate and natural response is to reach for that antacid when suffering from acidity, it will not give you long-term relief. Instead, we suggest, opt for these kitchen treasures to cure and control acidity and boost your overall stomach health. We give you the most effective remedies for acidity, heartburn and indigestion.
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Bananas are extremely beneficial for gut and stomach health because of their high fibre content which enhances the digestion process. They are rich in potassium and increase the production of mucus in the stomach which prevents excess acid formation and also fights the harmful effects of excessive acid production. A ripe banana is a perfect antidote to severe bouts of acidity.
It is a known fact that milk contains a high amount of calcium which makes it a superfood for bone health. But did you know that calcium is also one of the main ingredients in your over-the-counter antacids? Calcium helps to maintain the Ph balance and aids in proper digestion. This is the reason cold milk can provide you instant relief from the burning sensation one feels during acidity and acid reflux. The calcium in milk also curbs and prevents acid build up and also absorbs the excess acid produced. Remember though that cold milk is more effective than hot milk and not to add any additives like sugar, or chocolate powder to the milk.
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Cold buttermilk is another useful antidote to acidity. To get relief from heartburn, drink up a glass of cold buttermilk. Buttermilk contains lactic acid that neutralizes the acidity in the stomach. The lactic acid further soothes the stomach by coating the stomach lining and reducing the irritation and acid reflux symptoms. Besides, buttermilk is a naturally occurring probiotic. Probiotics are extremely important for good digestion process and that’s why many doctors recommend probiotic supplements on a daily basis. The good bacteria present in probiotics prevent the gas build-up and bloating that often causes acid reflux. It also allows the nutrients and foods to be digested and absorbed properly which ultimately eliminates and reduces the possibility of acidity occurrence and keeps your gastrointestinal health in good condition. This is why Indian meals are followed by buttermilk or chaas as it is known in Indian households. Next time you have a spicy or heavy meal follow it up with buttermilk and sprinkle a dash of black pepper powder to make it even more beneficial.
Fennel seeds contain a compound called Anethole which works as a soothing agent for the stomach and prevents spasm and flatulence. It is also loaded with vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre that aids the process of good digestion. As it also contains anti-ulcer properties it cools the lining of the stomach and helps in relieving constipation as well. Fennel seeds also come in very handy for tackling indigestion and acidity in pregnant women. A lot of pregnant women suffer from severe indigestion during pregnancy, but they are prohibited from taking a lot of food items and medicines. Fennel seeds function as an effective natural remedy to tackle indigestion, acidity and acid reflux. They are also beneficial for breastfeeding mothers as it is known to increase breast milk in nursing women. Chew a few fennel seeds to reduce the symptoms of acidity or soak a few fennel seeds in water and drink up the water and chew on the fennel seeds to get immediate relief.
Basil leaves or Tulsi, as we know them better, stimulates our stomach to produce more mucus which in turn helps to relieve heartburn and nausea that often occurs with acidity. Chew 2-3 basil leaves to minimize your stomach acid. Furthermore, basil leaves when consumed soothes the inflamed oesophagus and stomach lining caused by excessive stomach acid production. Basil leaves also have antiulcer properties which reduce the effect of gastric acids and curb gas production. Basil leaf juice and powder are also often used in Ayurvedic medicines for indigestion.
Pineapple juice is another natural remedy to provide relief from acidity and heartburn. Drink a glass of pineapple juice if you have had a spicy meal and detect symptoms of acidity. Pineapple juice is a tried and tested remedy to prevent as well as reduce hyperacidity and heartburn. Pineapples also contain bromelain, which is an enzyme that helps controls levels of hydrochloric acid in your stomach and works to prevent severe acid reflux. Besides pineapple juice, edible aloe vera juice is also known to be a coolant and a natural remedy to relieve heartburn.
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Another home remedy that works well to relieve acidity is raw almonds. Raw almonds are simply natural almonds that have not been soaked or tampered with in any way. In ancient times in the middle eastern countries, almonds were regarded as a natural remedy for ulcers and heartburn. Today, medical and natural therapy practitioners too advocate the benefits of the nut in curing acidity. Almonds are rich in natural oils which soothe and neutralize the acid in the stomach. The high fibre content of the nut also helps in the digestion process. Besides raw almonds, you can also have almond milk to keep your stomach in good health. Almonds and bananas, when taken together, can be a perfect antidote to acidity. Next time you are suffering from a severe heartburn, pop in a handful of almonds rather than over-the-counter pills.
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Mint leaves or pudina can also help when suffering from indigestion or acidity. Mint leaves are one of the best coolants available in nature and thus this property makes them reduce the burning and pain that often accompanies acidity and indigestion. Mint helps lower the acid content of the stomach and improves digestion. Chop on some mint leaves to control and soothe acidity or boil a few leaves and drink the water once it cools to boost stomach and intestine health.
Clove helps to soothe inflamed and damaged stomach lining thus proving very beneficial for heartburns and stomach spasms. Clove since ancient times have been a part of Indian kitchens and this cooking staple which has alkaline and carminative properties also helps to ward off effects of excess acid produced in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract which implies that it does not allow the formation of gas. Sprinkle crushed cloves and cardamom in your curries and Indian desserts to treat acidity, prevent flatulence, and even get rid of bad breath.
This is another kitchen staple that has myriad health benefits. Gingerols is the main ingredient found in ginger that gives it it’s healing properties whether for a normal cough and cold or various digestive and intestinal disorders. So here’s how ginger helps in alleviating acidity. Ginger has properties that destroy the acidity triggering pylori bacteria, decreases inflammation, minimizes nausea and calms the stomach muscles. Fresh ginger also helps in the treatment of nausea. Ginger is also an active ingredient in plenty of Ayurvedic medicines for indigestion. Ginger can be consumed raw, in tea or in cooking. When suffering from severe indigestion and acidity, combine 1 tbsp of ginger and lemon juice with 2 tbsp. of honey in warm water. This will help to reduce the symptoms of acidity, keep your metabolism strong and relieve weakness and pain associated with acidity.
A lot of people feel surprised to know that garlic is a great natural remedy in the treatment of indigestion. Garlic is actually a powerhouse of antioxidants which obviously makes it a champion of heart health, but it is equally powerful as an antidote to acidity too. Raw garlic kills the pathogenic microorganism that is a major culprit in causing gastroenteritis. Including garlic in your everyday meals can actually stimulate your stomach health and prevent indigestion and consequently acidity. However, like most things, too much of garlic in rare cases can lead to minor heartburn. In that case, one or two cloves can reverse this kind of heartburn.
Amla in Ayurveda is considered a Sattvik food which means it is a food that has an overall calming effect on our body, which makes it a natural deterrent for acidity. Amla also contains a high amount of vitamin C which helps in healing the injured stomach lining and oesophagus. Have one teaspoon of amla powder daily to prevent those annoying bouts of acidity.
So, now that we have told you some super accessible kitchen ingredients to beat the acidity blues, try to opt for these natural remedies rather than the closest bottle of antacid available when you experience discomfort, nausea or burning due to acidity. We are also arming you with some other easy hacks to fight acidity.
Other Useful hacks to treat acidity
Sleep on your left side
When you hit the bed, turn onto your left side and sleep. This position prevents acid reflux as it does not allow corrosive stomach acids to enter the oesophagus.
Chew your food properly
Our elders always told us to chew our food thoroughly before ingesting it. Turns out, it indeed is a great piece of advice. Our stomach has to work really hard to break the food down when we don’t chew properly. This not only makes the process of absorption of nutrients difficult but also hinders the entire digestive process thus paving way for indigestion and consequently acidity. On the other hand, you eliminate the possibility of acidity to a large extent when you chew your food well and allow it to reach your stomach and intestines in a much more digestible form. Also, take care to finish your meals 2-3 hours before bedtime so your stomach gets ample time to carry out the digestive process and empty itself.
Get some form of exercise at least for half an hour in a day
Exercise is the answer to almost all our ailments. It’s no different when it comes to acidity, and we tell you exactly how. Lack of exercise leads to excessive deposition of fats, especially in the abdominal area. Excess abdominal fat pushes stomach acids up into the oesophagus which can further lead to frequent heartburns. Do those crunches and runs regularly to prevent acidity and shed those extra pounds.
Drink lots of water
Water helps to neutralize the acid and throw out the excess digestive juices present in the stomach. Flushing out the excesses helps to keep your digestive system robust and better functioning. If you are suffering from frequent bouts of acidity and heartburn, drink a glass of lukewarm water in the morning and at night before going to sleep. You will benefit immensely.
Eat smaller portions at regular intervals
A large meal often triggers acidity more often than not. What happens if when your stomach is full, there is a greater chance that the stomach acids can be pushed back up the oesophagus which will trigger reflux, indigestion, stomach spasms and discomfort. Instead, eat smaller portions but at regular intervals to prevent acidity. This is a good tip also because staying hungry for too long or having long time gaps between your meals can also cause acidity.
Spend some time in the sun
Surprised? Spending time outdoors can actually boost your digestive process. Sun rays help the body produce vitamin D which further balances the production of over200 antimicrobial body chemicals that fight stomach irregularities and helps treat acid reflux. So, make sure to get your dose of sunlight and vitamin D.
It’s really that simple. The digestive process actually begins in our mouth. Gum stimulates the flow of saliva, which in turn keeps the acid levels down and balances your pH levels. After your meal, chew a gum for ten minutes to get fresh breath and prevent acidity.
Avoid tight jeans
Tight clothing is binding on your stomach. Loosen that buckle or wear a size bigger denim to allow your food to have an easy passage and not restrict your stomach’s functioning.
Yes, smoking can cause heartburn too. Nicotine present in cigarettes weakens the valve which prevents the stomach acids from flowing into the oesophagus and gastrointestinal tract which causes reflux and heartburn. Kick the butt. It’s always a good idea.
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