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Also known as acid reflux, acidity is a common problem faced by people of all ages from time to time. It occurs due to excess secretion of acids in the gastric glands of the stomach, more than what is required for the digestion of food. Common symptoms of acidity include burning sensation in the stomach, nausea, indigestion, bad breath, constipation, restlessness, and burning sensation in the throat and heart (also known as heartburn).
There are various factors that can trigger acidity such as irregular eating habits, excess intake of spicy food, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking, a sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise, etc.
Identifying the foods that trigger acidity and eliminating them from your diet or reducing its intake is the first and foremost step towards addressing the problem. Managing acidity at home involves dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, and natural remedies using commonly available kitchen ingredients. Let's take a deeper dive into the lifestyle modifications to relieve acidity naturally:
Spicy foods are often the cause of painfully discomforting acid reflux episodes. Common acidity-inducing foods that you should avoid are chili powder, hot peppers, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and red chili pepper flakes.
Irregular and unbalanced eating pattern such as overeating, eating too close to bedtime, keeping long gaps between meals can also trigger acidity and heartburn. You should keep your portion size small and eat several small meals at regular intervals to keep your acidity under control. Also, have your last meal at least 3 hours before you go to bed.
Nicotine found in cigarettes can increase the risk of heartburn and GERD by hampering the function of the lower esophageal sphincter. For the unversed, the lower esophageal sphincter allows the food to pass through the food pipe into the stomach but prevents the stomach contents from flowing back into the esophagus.
In the same way, alcohol consumption can also weaken the lower esophageal sphincter and pave the way for increased acid reflux. In addition, alcohol may increase the acidic content of your stomach.
Heartburn can give you sleepless nights. Changing your sleeping position may help keep the acid reflux in check. Place your head on a raised level can help to push the stomach contents downwards, and thus prevent acid reflux. You can elevate the head of your bed or prop some extra pillows under your head.
Overweight or obese are more prone to acidity. This is because the extra weight around the abdomen puts pressure on the stomach, pushing its contents upwards into your esophagus. So, maintain your weight at a healthy range to prevent or address acidity, GERD, and heartburn.
Note: If you suffer from persistent heartburn, it is wise to consult a doctor. Frequent episodes of severe heartburn may be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a chronic digestive disease. In severe case of acidity, surgery (vagotomy) is done to curb the acid production in the stomach.
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