I used to suffer terribly from acid reflux disease ever since I was a little girl. As I found out, sometimes the cause of acid reflux is dietary and it takes a radical change to make it go away – I turned vegetarian about six years ago, and rarely feel “heartburn” anymore. It was easy to do because I never liked to eat meat and just kept it on my plate as an accessory, and so I had no problem cutting it out.
Still, once in a while, we all eat something that doesn’t quite agree with us, and in those cases, it’s good to have an arsenal of tricks to combat acid reflux – an acid reflux disease diet . In case acid-reflux still negatively impacts your life, read on for some natural tips on avoiding it.
Acid reflux treatment:
1. Baking Soda
First, reach for your trusty box of baking soda. I know I always recommend baking soda for everything – natural cleaning, teeth whitening, and the like – but the stuff really works for acid reflux, too. Sodium bicarbonate works to neutralize the pH in your stomach and calm it down. Take 1 teaspoon of baking soda and mix it with 1 cup of water, and drink down. Wait a few minutes before socializing, because this method will make you burp.
2. Chew Fennel Seeds
This one too is an old remedy used by Indian people for centuries. Fennel has digestive as well as soothing properties, and if you chew a handful of fennel seeds right after a meal, they can act as a preventative measure against heartburn. They’re also a great breath freshener. No wonder many Indian restaurants have fennel seeds prominently on display! As an alternative, get a box of fennel tea and brew that after a meal. Read more about fennel here.
3. Don’t Go to Sleep Right After a Meal
Sometimes we feel very tired after a meal; this is usually a sign of overeating, and you should avoid this, if possible, to prevent acid-reflux. Remaining in an upright position will keep the stomach acids where they belong – in the stomach – instead of allowing them easy access to travel up the esophagus.
4. Drink Coconut Water
Instead of milk, reach for a glass of this revitalizing stuff; coconut water does wonders for an upset stomach and provides you with vitamins and minerals as well. Coconut water is also a great long-term solution. Drinking a glass of it daily will help manage the acidity of your stomach and prevent acid reflex.
5. Don’t Eat Heavy Meals After 5 pm
This can be hard in a culture that often eats its dinner at 8 or 9 pm, but you can still have food – just make your earlier meal your heaviest of the day. This will give your body time enough to digest properly before you hit the hay.
If you experience regular acid reflux, don’t ignore it – it could become chronic and turn to GERD and become a permanent condition by wearing away at the necessary mucous linings of your stomach and esophagus. Consider, as I did, a fundamental diet change: going vegetarian has many other benefits as well. But if you can’t, at least cut down on your meat intake and eliminate processed and cured deli meats and hams. These are the worst culprits in causing acid reflux, and not eating them will provide relief.
Maria (Niina) Pollari is a poet, editor, writer and translator. She wrote two chapbooks, Fabulous Essential (2009) and Book Four (2011). Pollari’s writing has been featured in numerous literary journals as well as the Brooklyn Rail and Jezebel.com. She has received her Master’s in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.