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Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows up into your esophagus (the tube connecting the throat to the stomach). For this reason, it’s specifically known as gastroesophageal reflux. When this happens, you taste a sour liquid or regurgitated food at the back of your mouth. One of the main symptoms is heartburn, a burning sensation in your chest.
Frequent acid reflux can develop into a more severe form of reflux called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Apart from acid reflux symptoms (tasting a sour liquid or regurgitated food), other GERD symptoms are frequent heartburn chest pain, difficulty swallowing and coughing, and wheezing. If you have these symptoms, seek medical advice. Frequent acid reflux damages your esophagus, causing inflammation, irritation, and scarring. In the long term, it can lead to health problems like esophagitis, and it also increases the odds of developing esophageal cancer.
Occasional acid reflux is common and not a serious worry. It can be treated with over-the-counter medication, but there are many home remedies to prevent and reduce acid reflux.
Many food cause heartburn such as spiced, fried and fatty food, garlic and onion that you should avoid. However, eating a red apple or drinking a chamomile tea after heavy meals can help you reduce acid reflux symptoms.
Fight acid with another acid. Lemon is a very good option: drink fresh lemon juice, mixed with water if preferred, on an empty stomach to help your stomach balance its acid levels. Another useful ingredient is apple cider vinegar. Take 1to 2 teaspoons daily to regulate your body pH and maintain it stable.
- Baking soda
Baking soda contains bicarbonate, which helps you to neutralize stomach acids and reduce acid reflux and heartburn. Take 1 tablespoon of baking soda diluted in half a cup of water.
- Small meals
Avoid eating too much and try to eat smaller meals. If your stomach is too full, the pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (the muscle that lets food go into the stomach) is higher. Thus, it puts pressure on your stomach and causes acid reflux.
Try to lose excess weight in a healthy and gradual way. Excess weight exerts pressure on your abdomen and stomach and thus causes acid reflux. If you aren’t overweight, maintain a healthy weight.
- Upright position
Keep yourself in an upright position or sitting position after eating. Don’t lie down after eating because it allows acids to go into the esophagus easily and this can cause reflux.
- Sleeping position
A remedy to stop heartburn at night is elevating your upper body (from the waist up). The reason is easy: gravity helps to keep the acid in the stomach and prevents it from going up into the esophagus. To do this, you can place a wedge under your mattress to lift the upper part of your body.
- No alcohol or nicotine
Avoiding alcohol and nicotine is beneficial for you and it’s useful to control acid reflux.