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13 Pretty Easy Swaps for Better Acid Control

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Americans spend billions of dollars on over-the-counter and prescription drugs to find relief from acid reflux symptoms. But the conventional treatments for relief come at a price: dangerous side effects with longterm affects such increased risks of heart attacks, bone loss, and even heightened risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Fortunately, there are ways to improve digestion without adverse reactions, like avoiding food triggers and adopting a nutritious diet.

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Here are some swaps that can make a big difference:

1. Exchange the American Diet for the Mediterranean Diet

Consider exchanging the typical American diet, which is full of processed food, unhealthy fat, and sugar for a diet of wholesome “real” food that can work wonders.

A 2017 study published in the journal American Medical Association Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery indicated that the Mediterranean diet might be as effective in treating reflux symptoms as PPIs.

The study concluded that “Nevertheless, this study suggests that a plant-based diet and alkaline water should be considered in the treatment of LPR. This approach may effectively improve symptoms and could avoid the costs and adverse effects of pharmacological intervention as well as afford the additional health benefits associated with a healthy, plant-based diet.”

This plan of following Mediterranean Diet centers around eating fruits, whole grains, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish. It has the huge advantage that have side benefits, rather than side effects.

2. Switch Refined Oils for Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut Oil

Trade in refined oils, such as soy, corn and canola oil, for virgin olive oil and coconut oil. Refined oils promote inflammation, which underlies a host of ills, including reflux. While in contrast, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil contain anti-inflammation properties.

3. Opt for Raw Dairy Products Over the Pasteurized Variety

There are some experts that believe milk relaxes the esophageal sphincter, which results in worsening reflux.

Dr. Josh Axe, a noted doctor of natural medicine, recommends eating raw milk and cheeses instead. In addition, unless you are unable to tolerate regular dairy products at all, yogurts with active bacterial cultures that aren’t sweetened with sugar, are recommended to aid with reflux.

4. Shun Caffeinated and Carbonated Beverages in Favor of Water

Caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea, have been known to cause irritation in the esophagus and affect the esophageal sphincter. Sodas should be avoided as well because they contain bubbles of carbonation that expand within the stomach and contribute to reflux.

5. Substitute Non-Frying Cooking Methods for Frying

Foods that are fatty take longer to exit the stomach and are more difficult to digest. Consequently, they can also trigger excess acid production. Instead of frying, try alternative cooking methods such as baking, boiling or broiling.

6. Swap More Spicy Food for Less Spicy Food

Although spices are generally healthy, select varieties like chili, cinnamon, cayenne, mint and black pepper can trigger reflux in for some people. If spices bother you, try seasoning your food with a light hand and experiment with different herbs and spices to identify the ones that worsen your symptoms.

7. Replace Tomatoes and Onions with Other Vegetables

Tomatoes, tomato sauce, and onions are healthy foods, however, they can lead to reflux symptoms in certain people. While in contrast, green, leafy vegetables; asparagus; cucumbers; broccoli; cauliflower; squash; pumpkins; green beans; and artichokes are all excellent foods to include in your diet. Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi are extra beneficial.

8. Select Non-Citrus Fruits Instead of Citrus Fruits

Because citrus fruits contain acid, they may make symptoms worse. However, fruits are extremely nutritious, so include plenty of non-citrus varieties in your diet. Examples include berries, melons, apples, pears, and bananas.

9. Choose Wild-Caught Salmon and Tuna Rather Than Beef and Pork

Beef and pork contain unhealthy fat and cause them to linger longer in the stomach. Turkey and chicken are better choices, and salmon and tuna are especially good because they are sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

10. Shun Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners in Favor of Raw Honey

Both sugar and artificial sweeteners promote inflammation and even lead to weight gain. Raw unprocessed honey or pure maple syrup can be used to sweeten a dish instead.

11. Switch Refined Grains for Whole Grains

Having a high fiber intake has been linked to a reduced risk of acid reflux. Try eating whole grains like oatmeal, whole grain bread, brown rice, and bulgur wheat and avoid white rice and any product made with white flour such as breads, donuts, crackers, cookies, and cakes.

12. Trade Big Fast Meals for Smaller Slow Meals

A common cause of reflux is eating food too fast. Make sure to dial it back and eat slowly, chewing your food thoroughly. Overeating can tax the digestive system; therefore eat three smaller meals rather than one to two big meals a day.

Some other tips regarding meals are making sure to chew thoroughly. Digestion starts and the mouth and if food is properly broken down before entering the digestive tract, it can make the stomach’s job that much more difficult. It is also important to avoid consuming food three hours prior to bed, letting your stomach digest your meals of the day.

13. Choose Natural Remedies over Pills

Instead of depending on pills to ease discomfort after a meal, prevent indigestion by trying natural remedies such as homemade ginger tea.

A highly recommended remedy involves mixing a teaspoon to a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into a glass of water and sipping it throughout a meal. While it may not make sense to get relief from an acidic food, reflux is often caused by having too little stomach acid, according to the natural health practitioner, Dr. Joseph Mercola, of Harvard University reports that the apple cider home remedy has an abundance of anecdotal evidence that attests to its efficacy.

In a study where participants were advised to avoid reflux triggers such as alcohol, chocolate, coffee, greasy and fatty foods, spicy foods and tea, lead by author Dr. Craig Zalvan, chief of otolaryngology and medical director of the Phelps Institute for Voice and Swallowing Disorders at Phelps Hospital, Dr. Zalvan concluded that, “These results really show you can treat people with a diet-based approach using a plant-based diet. If you take all patients with LPR and put them on a plant-based diet … the majority do get better. And they stop their drugs, which overall leads to much better health.”

Sources:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/article-abstract/2652893
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/apple-cider-vinegar-for-heartburn-2018032813530
https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/condition-15/heartburn/treating-acid-reflux-disease-with-diet-lifestyle-changes
https://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/diet-nutrition

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