We all need acid to digest food that we eat, but the problem arises when the acid levels in the stomach increase leading to burping, acid reflux and other digestive complications. Moreover taking antacids can cause various side-effects in the long run. This is why, Luke Coutinho, Holistic Nutritionist and Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine expert, Mumbai reveals a few lifestyle changes that can help you manage acidity and prevent acid reflux.
Don’t let there be a gap of more than 3 – 4 hours between meals. An average meal takes 3 – 4 hours to digest, after which the stomach starts producing acid automatically. So if there is no food in the stomach, the acid produced acts on the inner mucosal lining leading to acid reflux.
Eat at the same time every day as the brain, stomach, muscles and cells have a memory about the time you will have food and hence, the body starts producing acid uniformly thereby helping you to deal with acidity. Hence, follow a set schedule to have your breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner.
Chew your food properly and eat slowly to aid digestion. If you don’t chew food properly or eat meals quickly, larger bits of food go in the stomach undigested, causing the stomach to produce more acid to digest food. Moreover, excess acid also hinders nutrient uptake from food.
Watch the type of food you eat. When you eat a wholesome meal comprising nuts, seeds, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lentils, the stomach produces the right amount of acid to break it down. However, eating junk food or consuming excess of salt or sugar laden foods can cause excess acid production to digest, leading to acid reflux and acidity.
Increase your intake of alkaline foods which help you compensate the excess acid in the body. To keep your body alkaline, drink lemon water and up your intake of raw vegetables, carrot and cucumber. Also, make sure you meet your daily dose of water intake as it also help to maintain acid levels in the body.
If you are taking medications or antibiotics, then make sure you have probiotics and B complex vitamins. This is because, acidity is the side-effect of some medications and antibiotics wipe out good as well as bad bacteria and vitamins from the body, which causes the body to produce more acid.
Keep a gap of about 2 – 3 hours between dinner and bed time. And do not sleep or slouch minutes after finishing your meal as this position causes acid reflux naturally. Instead, sit upright, walk slowing or sit in yogic position or vajrasana which helps in digestion and also maintains your acid levels.