Fitness and health is something which everyone desires. The healthy people brim with energy and are optimistic towards life. However, in today’s hurly-burly life the lifestyle of people has changed considerably. The rising living standards are attained at the cost of something more precious that is health. The result is evident in the form of numerous health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc. One of the common health issues in the contemporary world is acidity which is a source of annoyance for all.
Acidity can occur at any time such as while partying around, traveling or working on deadlines. It can become a real nuisance as a person finds it to be irritating and difficult to handle. Moreover, acidity can be troublesome and can become dangerous if left untreated. Hence, it is better to know about what causes it and how can be it treated.
Meaning of Acidity
Acid reflux is commonly known as acidity which is a source of trouble, especially in Indian context. Acidity is also called ‘Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease’ or GERD. The person experiences heartburn around his lower chest. In acidity, the stomach acid goes back into the esophagus and leads to a burning sensation and heartburn. The person finds it difficult to at eat anything.
The acidity causes are mainly unhealthy lifestyle such as lack of exercise, poor eating habits, wrong food choices, eating at the wrong time, etc. However, people fail to realize these factors and often come up with a complaint of acidity.
Before understanding what acidity causes are, it is vital to understand the digestion process which results in acidity. The food eaten by a person passes through the esophagus and goes into the stomach. The acid is produced by the gastric gland present in the stomach for aiding the digestion process and for killing the germs. Acidity occurs when the acid produced is more than required for digesting the food. It leads to a burning sensation above the abdomen. It is important to note here that acidity is commonly experienced by Indian as the foodstuffs are generally heavy with lots of oil and spices. Acidity can occur to any person regardless of gender or age of the person.
Acidity causes are as follows:
- Poor food habits
- Overeating some food items
- Side effects of certain medications
- Some kind of illness
- Eating junk food, chocolate, and carbonated drinks
- Acidic fruits like oranges and lemon
- Lack of exercise
- Eating/snacking late at night
- Eating before taking a bath
- Drinking less amount of water
The foods which can flare up acidity and should be avoided are:
- Spicy food
- Processed food such as pizza, burger, French fries
- Fried food
- Carbonated drinks
- Acidic juices such as orange juice
- Caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee
- Tomato Ketchup
- Alcoholic drinks
- Non-vegetarian food
- Indian fried mithais such as jalebi, emarti, gulab jamuns, etc.
People Among Whom Acidity Can Be Commonly Experienced
Acidity can be commonly experienced among the following:
- People consuming a lot of alcoholic drinks
- People who generally eat rich and spicy food
- People who eat non-veg foodstuff
- People taking medicines such as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs(NSAIDs)
- Women approaching towards menopause
- Expecting mothers
- People suffering from diabetes, asthma, hernia, ulcers, etc.
- People who avoid exercises
- Obese/overweight people
Symptoms Associated With Acidity
Symptoms associated with acidity are burning pain in the stomach, throat, and heart. The person may experience restlessness. The person may find it difficult to swallow anything. The taste of the mouth may become sour. The other symptoms of acidity are nausea, upset stomach, and constipation. The person may experience respiratory problems. However, if the person is experiencing extreme symptoms such as such unbearable pain in the stomach, extreme nausea, and inability to swallow food; one should immediately . The serious condition associated with acidity can be peptic ulcers and even cancer; hence it should be given immediate attention, to avoid further complications.
Diagnosis of Acidity
If a person is having any symptom of acidity, he may consult a physician who may ask you to get the x-ray done for the entire abdomen. The person might have to undergo endoscopy for helping the doctor visualize the inner part of the abdomen including esophagus.
The medical treatment of acidity includes taking medicines such as antacids or going through the surgical treatment called Vagotomy which helps in controlling the amount of acid produced in the abdomen.
However, if a person follows an active lifestyle, one can easily avoid acidity. Following are the tips for it:
- Exercising regularly: One can do any exercise like walking, jogging, swimming, aerobics or yoga. Exercise helps in boosting up the immune system and also helps in better digestion of food.
- Maintaining a weight: It is important to maintain ideal weight by eating wisely and exercising regularly. Overweight can lead to accumulation of excessive food in the stomach and can result in poor digestion and acidity.
- Waking up early: Sleeping till late can make the person lethargic and ruin the entire digestive system. This can become the root cause of producing more acid in the body.
- Avoiding overeating: One should not eat after feeling full. Eating more than required by the body leads to stomach discomfort and makes a person feel heavy resulting in acidity and indigestion.
- Avoiding eating just before going to bed: Sleeping late leads to poor digestion which results in the formation of acidity. If one has to eat late, one should try to limit the consumption of food by taking light meals.
- Avoiding spicy and oily food: The spicy and oily food is difficult to digest, hence leads to acidity. One can limit its consumption. One can have plenty of fruits and salads in the meals to counteract its effects.
- Avoiding eating anything just before bath
- Avoiding smoking
- Avoiding or lowering substantially the amount of alcohol consumption
- Avoiding caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee: Although these can help in boosting up the energy, one must delimit its consumption to not more than one or two cups in a day. One should take small cups for consuming these instead of taking it in a big mug.
- Drinking plenty of water: Water helps in regulating the formation of acid in the body.
Food Items Which Can Help In Curing Acidity
Some food items which can help in curing acidity are as follows:
- Milk: One can have a glass full of cold full cream milk for relieving the acidity, just before going to bed. One can also add rose water it for making it more effective.
- Ice-cream: Ice-cream helps in rendering a soothing effect on the burning sensation, hence, helps in curing acidity.
- Fruits: Fruits such as apple and banana can also help in dealing with acidity. Banana is a low-acid food. It is rich in fiber, so it helps in strengthening of the digestive tract and helps in avoiding indigestion. Banana also contains soluble-fiber, pectin which allows the movement of food content through the stomach and doesn’t allow its accumulation. Melon is alkaline and is rich in magnesium. Due to its PH level of 6.1, it is good for treating acidity.
- Aloe Vera: It is an herbal cure for handling acidity. However, care should be taken to consume it in moderation as excessive intake can lead to stomach upset.
- Rice: The food items made from rice such as khichdi also helps in treating acidity. But care has to make it bland as too much spice can aggravate the situation.
- Potatoes: Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates and can help in relieving acidity. But one should boil it instead of frying it.
A person can avoid acidity by including the following food items in the diet:
- Low-cholesterol food items like almonds, beans, salmon and lentils.
- Whole grains
- Fruits rich in magnesium and potassium such as berries, pears, melons, and peaches
- Green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale, spinach. These have fewer fats hence don’t allow the formation of acid in the abdomen
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal is rich in fiber, hence it helps in treating acidity and even constipation. The oatmeal can be eaten as a dessert with some milk or can be eaten as a salty snack.
- Yogurt: Yogurt helps in handling acidity and heartburn. It is probiotic and contains good bacteria which help in improving the digestive system. Moreover, as it is rich in protein, it helps in improving digestion. A little ginger can be added to yogurt which can serve as an anti-inflammatory for handling all types of stomach issues.
The idea is that the primary focus of the person should be on having plenty of fresh fruit and vegetable which are rich in fibers. Besides, these the person should also have plenty of water. Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, where one is careful when and what to it are some crucial factors for avoiding acidity. Regular exercise is paramount for avoiding acidity. Oily and spicy food is a strict no, no and no. This was all about acidity and simple measures which can help in avoiding it. Anyhow, acidity should not be ignored if it persists for long as it can be extremely detrimental for health.