The stomach normally secretes acid that is essential in the digestive process. This acid helps in breaking down the food during digestion. When there is excess production of acid in the stomach, it results in the condition known as acidity or APD.
Normally, there are some protective mechanisms against the acid, in the stomach and proximal intestine. But an imbalance between the protective mechanisms and the level of acid secretion can cause acidity.
Why should I be aware of this?
- Acidity affects sleep
- An acute attack of acidity miight need hospitalisation.
- It might lead to weight loss in chronic cases.
- Acidity can be managed through balnaced diet, timely meals, and avoiding stress.
All about acidity
The stomach normally secretes acid that is essential in the digestive process. This acid helps in breaking down the food during digestion. Normally, there are some protective mechanisms against the acid, in the stomach and proximal intestine. But an imbalance between the protective mechanisms and the level of acid secretion can cause acidity.
Causes and triggers for acidity
- Sometimes, a heavy meal or increase in intra-abdominal pressure such as while straining or lifting weights, can bring about this reflux.
- Excess acid secretion can also cause acidity and ulcers, when the normal protective lining of the stomach and duodenum (the part of the intestine that joins the stomach), is damaged. The resulting ulcer is called gastric ulcer if it is in the stomach and duodenal ulcer if it is in the duodenum.
- In a condition known as Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome, a large amount of acid is secreted because of stimulation by tumours located in the pancreas or duodenum
- Acidic eructation and a burning sensation in the chest.
- Loss of hunger or false appetite, nausea, vomiting, weakness and irritation.
- Aggravated pain on an empty stomach or immediately after a meal.
- Pain and tenderness in the upper area of the abdomen.
- History of preference for spicy, fried foods, tea, coffee and alcohol.
- Haemorrhage might be seen in chronic cases.
Home remedies for acidity
- The fresh juice extracted from aloe vera is an excellent remedy. Take 20-30 ml twice a day, preferably on an empty stomach.
- Take approximately 30 ml of the juice of a white pumpkin with some coconut milk and mishri, twice or thrice a day.
- Take the juice extracted from Amla on an empty stomach in the morning.
- Take fresh pomegranate juice in moderate quantities twice a day.
- Try taking an infusion prepared with coriander seeds with some mishri added to it.
- Take 3-5 grams of of powdered mulathee, along with cow's milk. This is a good cure for acidity and also heals stomach ulcers.
- Coconut is beneficial in curing hyperacidity and its associated symptoms like gastritis, excessive thirst and heartburn. Take coconut water twice or thrice a day for a few days.
- Add a few drops of ginger and lemon juice to a glass of warm water and add a teaspoon of honey and drink this twice daily.
What can I do?
- Avoid canned food and junk food, artificially ripened fruits and vegetables or those kept in cold storage. For instance, cold storage potatoes get sweet and acidic.
- Stick to 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. Our body needs a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius for optimum digestive enzyme functioning. Cold drinks dilute the enzymes and stress the digestive system; the food gets fermented and produces gas and acidity.
- Too much tea and coffee is bad, of course; and if you're a smoker, quit. Nicotine and caffeine are directly related to problems of acidity. Start taking coconut water, cucumber juice and thin-skinned lemons because these are alkaline. Bitter gourd is an excellent vehicle to dispel acidity; a teaspoon of amla (Indian gooseberry) powder diluted in water is also effective. Besides, intestinal toxins can be counteracted with benign and protective lactic acid — present in buttermilk, yoghurt and sour milk.
- Weight reduction is essential to combat this problem. Those who are overweight put too much pressure on the oesophageal sphincter. This leads to reflux of the contents of the stomach into the oesophagus, and heartburn follows.
- Alcohol is not advisable for those who suffer from acidity because it tends to aggravate the problem.
- Lots of water, on the other hand, aids digestion and helps flush out toxins.
- Eat only when hungry because digestive juices are released in the stomach only when one is hungry. Otherwise, undigested food in the stomach leads to fermentation.
- Green leafy vegetables and sprouts contain vitamins B and E, which aid digestion generally and also facilitate the elimination of acids from the body. Refined foods, however, lack both vitamins and fibre.