If you frequently experience heartburn, bloating, regurgitation or a feeling of food stuck in your throat, it’s time to pay attention. These may be signs of acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acidity. Fortunately, an acid reflux diet can help reduce these uncomfortable symptoms. While medicines are used quite commonly to remedy issues like acidity, modifying your diet is just can help address the issue too! Here are some things you can do.
Remedy Your Acidity with Alkaline Foods
Modifying your diet is the easiest and most effective way to avoid reflux. Eating less acidic and more alkaline food helps reduce the backflow of acid into your oesophagus. Alkaline foods that neutralise the acidic contents of your stomach also numb the effect of a reflux. These foods include:
- Most vegetables (green or otherwise), including spinach, fenugreek, okra, cucumber, beetroot, carrot, broccoli, cabbage, coriander, cauliflower, sweet potato, eggplant, onion, peas, pumpkin and radish
- Most fruits, especially bananas, apples, watermelon, figs and pomegranate
- Unsweetened yogurt
- Beans, including green beans, navy beans, broad beans, moong bean sprouts, lima beans, pinto beans and lentils
- Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds
To incorporate more acid-reducing foods into your diet, bring colourful, nutritious green salads to work as a meal accompaniment or a stand-alone snack, and keep a small jar of seeds at your desk to eat in small doses. Swap your greasy dessert dish for a healthy cup of yogurt with fruit, especially in the summers. Add a pulse or legume dish, such as the conventional daal or contemporary sprouts salad, to your meal.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Keeping yourself hydrated is the most underrated health advice. Research has shown that drinking mineral water decreases the symptoms of reflux. Drinking enough water dilutes the acids in the stomach for symptom relief. Another trial has shown that drinking alkaline water (pH 8.8) largely helps reduce reflux symptoms. Alkaline water and water filters that increase the pH of water are readily available in stores. Consult your nutritionist or doctor to understand if making the switch will help your GERD.
Avoid Acidity-Causing Foods
It’s important to identify reflux-causing foods in your diet and nix them. Foods that are rich in fats tend to increase the perception of reflux. These include:
- Fried delicacies (puri, shakarpara, gujia and samosa)
- Fat-rich sweets (laddoos, barfis, jalebi and sheera)
- Oily side dishes (pickles and oil-based dressings)
Next in line are spicy foods that irritate your stomach wall and induce heartburn, such as:
- Sabji with added garam masala and tadka daal
- Chaat preparations, including pani puri, bhel puri, papdi chaat and aloo tikki
- Foods with a lot of chilli powder, such as spicy pickles and chutneys
Chocolates and coffee can also induce gastroesophageal reflux. Alcoholic and carbonated beverages tend to induce a reflux effect a couple hours after they’re consumed. Packaged foods are rich in sodium, which is known to cause acidity as well.
Watch Your Habits
When it comes to GERD, what you eat matters as much as when you eat it. Lying down, sleeping within an hour of eating or even wearing tight clothing post-meals can increase your chances of acidity. Being overweight can also set-off gastric issues that cause acid reflux — all the more reason to focus on fresh, healthy, alkaline foods.
Well-armed with this knowledge, it’s time to plan your menu around an acid reflux diet with these natural acidity remedies. You likely already have them in your kitchen!