Foods that help ease acid reflux

Ginger is alkaline in nature and has great medicinal properties. 

What you need to know:

  • Here are foods you might want to consider adding to your diet to help you combat heartburn by either preventing it or helping to relieve it.

While occasional heartburn is nothing to worry about, when it becomes common, Resty Kimbugwe, a nutritionist, says it is worth dealing with. 
“Someone who suffers from constant heartburn may battle with belching, burning discomfort, and bloating every time they have a meal,” she says.

Kimbugwe explains that the muscular tube that the food uses as a path way into the stomach (oesophageal sphincter), closes as soon the food gets into the stomach to stop it from coming back up the oesophagus. 
“This protects the oesophagus from the brunt of the stomach acid. In instances where this sphincter relaxes, food finds its way up, hence the acid reflux,” she says. As such, the kind of food we eat is key in preventing or reducing heartburn signs. 

Foods that cause acid reflux
Marion Namulindwa, a nutritionist, says foods that cause heartburn make the sphincter relax, which slows the digestive process, therefore, food sits in the stomach longer. 

“These include foods rich in spices, salt, or fat such as processed foods (carbonated beverages), fast food and pepper. Others are chocolate, and peppermint,” she says, adding that one should take these in moderation because elimination may not be that easy. 
“Avoid eating at certain times such as in the evening just before your bedtime to keep food from sitting in your stomach. This is because as you lie down, the food will come up your oesophagus. Also, take small and frequent rather than heavy meals,” she advises. She adds that one can instead eat the foods that alleviate acid reflux and these include:

Alkaline foods 
While acidic foods such as spicy foods cause acid reflux, Kimbugwe says, alkaline foods help lower its occurrence. These include nuts, cauliflower, melons, and bananas.
Foods high in fibre
Foods high in fibre will cause one to get satisfied quickly. This way, eating heavy or big meals is avoided. Therefore, Namulindwa says, eat foods such as whole grains (brown rice, and unprocessed oatmeal), green vegetables (green beans, and broccoli), as well as root foods (cassava, sweet potatoes, beetroot, and carrots.

Watery foods
These are foods that have a high content of water and weaken the stomach acid concentration. Kimbugwe says these include cucumber, watermelon, celery, and herbal tea.
Heartburn can happen to anyone and is generally not cause for concern. If you find yourself experiencing prolonged heartburn, speak with your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause so you can work toward getting some relief.

Home remedies
While many while take milk when they have acid reflux, Marion Namulindwa, a nutritionist, says not all milk types work. Instead, she suggests taking skimmed milk as it is low in fat. Low fat yoghurt will also help in reducing the effect of acid reflux. This yoghurt also gives you probiotics, which the digestive tract needs to better digestion,” she says.

Ginger
Resty Kimbugwe, a nutritionist, says ginger is alkaline in nature and has great medicinal properties. Ginger tea is a popular herbal tea with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it an excellent natural remedy for heartburn relief. Ginger tea also calms the digestive tract and neutralizes acid production during acid reflux. However, taking too much ginger in any form can irritate the stomach and worsen acid reflux symptoms.

Lemon water
Although it is acidic, Marion Namulindwa, a nutritionist, says, when mixed with honey and taken in small quantities, lemon is a great remedy for acid reflux. Honey not only neutralises the acidic lemon but also comes with antioxidants which are good for our cell health.
 

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