Stomach acid (HCl) plays a vital role in the digestive system, particularly to digest high protein foods like meat, eggs, milk, nuts, beans, fish and dairy.
It activates the production of important digestive enzymes such as lipase – to digest the fats in our diet. It also kills off any bacteria we ingest, and keeps a healthy balance of gut flora throughout the digestive tract.
So as you can see it’s really important for everyday life. But what happens when it gets too high?
Geeta Sidhu-Robb, raw food pioneer and creator of the Nosh Detox, shares her tips and advice on how to avoid high stomach acid.
What can be very confusing is that the symptoms closely mirror those of low stomach acid.
First and most important : AVOID taking antacids. These may (or more likely not) provide an instant relief…but they are only masking the problem, not dealing with the underlying cause. And, even more critically, if your symptoms are a result of low stomach acid, they are actually going to make the problem worse.
Secondly: the most common symptom is heartburn. This occurs when excess stomach acid leaks back into the oesophagus (the tube that links your mouth with your stomach)
Third you may also experience the following: the feeling of acid in the throat, bad breath, indigestion and the presence of ulcers.
Symptoms are usually worse after a very heavy, protein rich meal.
So if you suspect high stomach acid, what can you do through diet is to help reduce this? The good news is, a lot. And you don’t need medication.
What to Avoid:
- Avoid very spicy foods. Excess stomach acid can lead to tissue inflammation in the digestive tract, and spicy foods can exacerbate this.
- Reduce foods that increase the secretion of stomach acid. The big ones are alcohol, chocolate, meat and fatty/ fried foods.
- Avoid eating large meals which can put pressure on the LOS. Instead, eat smaller and lighter meals more regularly.
- Avoid eating late at night so that your stomach acid production is not raised when you are trying to sleep. Also, sleep with your head in a slightly raised position to prevent reflux.
- Normally fantastic for digestive issues, peppermint tea should actually be avoided with high stomach acid. Peppermint relaxes the LOS muscle which allows the acidic stomach juices to reflux and can worsen the symptoms of heartburn.
- Being overweight can put pressure on the surrounding muscles, which can force open the LOS. Losing weight can provide a long-term solution to high stomach acid and heartburn.
- Some medications can make the symptoms worse- most commonly aspirin and Ibuprofen.
- Smoking. The chemicals in cigarettes can cause the LOS open and make acid reflux more likely to occur
Decrease Stomach Acid
- At the first sign of heartburn, gently sip 1-2 glasses of water. This may relieve the heartburn by washing the acid out of the oesophagus.
- Baking soda will directly reduce the acid in the stomach, neutralize, and prevent stomach contents refluxing back into the oesophagus. Stir a heaped tablespoon into a glass of water and drink to help ease symptoms.
- Raw organic honey-can help to relieve and soothe any inflammation caused by high stomach acid. Take 1-2 teaspoons. If you suffer at night in particular, take before bedtime.
- Fresh ginger tea- one of nature’s best anti-inflammatory and healing foods, ginger steeped in hot water can help ease your symptoms.
- Organic, raw, apple cider vinegar. To ease symptoms, mix a teaspoon in a glass of water, and drink. Apple cider vinegar is rich in potassium which can help to neutralize stomach acid.
- Increase your intake of other potassium rich foods including bananas, melon, millet, quinoa and sweet potato.
- Increase your intake of raw fruit and vegetables. Fruit & veggies are alkaline by nature, but cooking them lowers their alkalinity. Raw they are also rich in natural digestive enzymes.
Femalefirst Taryn Davies
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