Acidity is quite a simple problem when it begins, but it can get out of hand easily if not taken seriously. It is a common ailment and results from a wrong diet. The excessive secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach causes acidity. Prolonged acidity can cause chronic indigestion, arthritis, gout, ulcers and even false angina pains.
Acidity tends to have a much higher incidence in highly emotional and nervous individuals. It is also more common in the developed and industrialized nations.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptoms of acidity are:
Causes of acidity:
Acidity may be caused by many conditions such as:
# Medical conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, stomach ulcers
# Hyperthyroidism - excessive secretion of the thyroid gland.
# Anxiety, anger and stress.
# Constipation, flatulence or intestinal gases.
# Artificial stimulants or the thought of nearing the food time can create acidity.
# Excessive intake of stimulants like tea, coffee etc.
# Excessive intake of fried foods, spicy or pungent food,
# As a side-effect of some drugs used for treating other illnesses
# Overeating along with bad food combinations. Overeating puts extra load on the stomach, liver, kidneys.
# Eating too rapidly, therefore improper salivation of food.
# Excessive smoking, intake of alcohol
# Tendency to eat and drink together
# Lack of exercise.
# Long gaps between meals leads to acidity, as it gives the acid in the stomach more time to act.
How is acidity treated?
Try to identify and avoid foods that disagree with the digestive system. Also, try not to eat too quickly and avoid stress.
Some people need to be given drugs to control their condition.
Medicines to treat acidity include:
What type of diet should be followed?
# Avoid canned and junk food, artificially ripened fruits and vegetables or those kept in cold storage. Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables.
# Avoid a heavy intake of spices and aerated drinks that are highly acidic and strong enough to dissolve teeth and bones.
# Cold beverages with or after meals should be particularly avoided. Cold drinks dilute the enzymes and put stress on the digestive system. As a result, the food gets fermented leads to acidity.
# Avoid excess smoking, tea and coffee. Both nicotine and caffeine are directly related to problems of acidity. Instead, take coconut water, fresh water melon, cucumber juice and thin-skinned lemons because these are alkaline.
# Bitter gourd, amla (Indian gooseberry) juice is an excellent remedy for acidity.
# Benign lactic acid present in buttermilk, yoghurt are helpful. Raita prepared with fresh curd, grated cucumber, fresh coriander, tomato is a sure shot remedy in aiding digestion, and helps remove acidity.
# If you are overweight, lose some immediately. Those who are overweight put too much pressure on the esophageal sphincter, which leads to reflux of the contents of the stomach into the oesophagus, and heartburn follows.
# Drink plenty of water, as it aids digestion and helps flush out toxins. Eat only when hungry because digestive juices are released in the stomach only when one is hungry.
# Go green. Green leafy vegetables and sprouts contain vitamins B and E that facilitate the elimination of acids from the body.
# Get moving! Not enough physical activity means not enough sweat, which in turn results in uric acid being deposited in the body.
# Avoid stress and get adequate amount of sleep. Insomnia disturbs the digestive system.
# Bring about a change in food and habits that is conducive to overall good health.
Some home remedies to treat and prevent acidity -
i. Mix 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1/4 teaspoon methi seeds, 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp ajwain seeds. Roast them on a low flame. Add a pinch of hing (asafetida) and salt and stir for a minute. Grind to a powder when cool and store. Mix 1/2 tsp of powder with 1 teaspoon of curd. Eat twice a day for quick relief.
ii. Pineapple acts as a tonic and relieves digestive disorders. Half a glass of fresh pineapple juice should be taken after a meal for treating and preventing acidity.
iii. Eat almonds to give relief to symptoms of acidity.
iv. Chewing of a carrot increases saliva and quickens digestion by supplying the digestive system with necessary enzymes, minerals and vitamins. The juice of carrot is also beneficial.
v. A very simple remedy for acidity is thin butter-milk mixed with 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper powder. For better results, an equal quantity of cumin (jeera) powder and rock salt is to be added to the buttermilk.
vi. A piece of jaggery or gur after lunch and dinner prevents acidity.
vii. Take one piece of clove and suck it slowly. This will give you relief from acidity.
viii. Eat a cup of vanilla ice cream or drink a glass of cold milk to get heartburn and acidity relief within minutes
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