Acid reflux, accompanied by other unpleasant symptoms such as aerophagia, acid regurgitation, nausea, cramps, stomach pain or even asthma in predisposed people, is a condition that can happen frequently. However, some precautions, lifestyle changes and foods can help prevent or mitigate acidity and reflux. A few months ago a review that collects the main results of previous studies in order to shed light on what actually can promote or counteract acidity and reflux was published (Zhang et al, Ther Clin Risk Manag., 2021).
Habits that promote acidity and reflux
First of all, some habits such as skipping breakfast, having a snack at night and eating too quickly can promote the onset of acidity and reflux. Not only that, eating past fullness and ingesting foods that are too hot can pave the way for these conditions. Finally, even having dinner too late in the evening and not ensuring at least three hours of distance between the meal and the time you go to sleep, a high-fat diet, smoking, consuming alcohol and stress can promote acid reflux. (Taraszewska et al, RPZH, 2021).
Habits that protect against acidity and reflux
A diet low in meat and rich in fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of developing acidity and reflux. Moderate physical activity, at least 30 minutes three times a day, protects against the risk of acidity. But beware, not all sports are equally protective. Biking, walking and jogging reduce the risk of acidity and reflux, while activities such as weight lifting can worsen this condition. Not only that, even exercising immediately after meals can increase the risk of heartburn (Taraszewska et al, RPZH, 2021).
Citrus fruits and stomach acidity
Unlike what one might think, citrus fruits do not cause heartburn, on the contrary, they are protective, but as long as they are taken with meals and not on an empty stomach. Otherwise, they could worsen the reflux condition.
Spicy foods, spices and stomach acid
For those suffering from heartburn, beware of spicy spices and chilli, which can have an impact on the lining of the stomach, worsening acidity and reflux. Even ginger, but only if taken in excessive quantities, can cause a worsening of heartburn in predisposed people. On the other hand, if ginger is taken in moderation, it is even protective (Modi et al, StatPearls Publishing, 2021).
Carbohydrates and reflux
A diet rich in carbohydrates can worsen the symptoms of heartburn. In fact, it has been observed that, in predisposed people, the DASH diet, which is a high-carbohydrate diet designed to control hypertension and cardiovascular risk, can increase acidity and reflux (Wu et al, J Nutr, 2021).
Mint tea and acidity
Drinking mint tea every day is considered a risk factor, in predisposed people, to develop or worsen acid reflux (Jarosz et al, Prz Gastroenterol., 2014).
Natural remedies against acidity and reflux
Lemon tea is considered protective in case of acidity. In fact, thanks to its D limonene content it is able to neutralize gastric hyperacidity, to support normal peristalsis and to bring relief in case of acidity and reflux (Sun et al, Altern Med Rev, 2007). D limonene is mainly contained in the lemon peel, which is why in case of heartburn it is advisable to prepare a tea with both the juice and the lemon peel in the following way. Cut an organic lemon in half. Squeeze the lemon juice and pour it into a saucepan. Add the lemon peels and a large cup of water and bring to a boil. From the moment the water boils, wait five minutes, then remove from the heat and let it cool down a bit. Once warm, pour into a cup and drink. Not only that, tulsi is also helpful, in this case add two tablespoons of tulsi to a liter of boiling water, leave to infuse for ten minutes, then filter and drink. Then, as we saw in the previous paragraph, even ginger, if taken in moderate quantities, counteracts acidity (Ahmed et al, BMC Complement Med Ther., 2020). Finally, milk helps neutralize excessive acid in the stomach (Panda et al, Complement The Med, 2017).