Easy And Effective Ayurvedic Diet And Lifestyle Modifications For Acid Reflux Or GERD
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Acid reflux disease also called Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder in which acid from the stomach moves up into the esophagus (food pipe). Normally, this valve opens to allow food in, and then it shuts tightly. With GERD, the valve stays open, allowing stomach acids to flow back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn and many other symptoms.
According to Ayurveda Acid Reflux or GERD is a result of aggravation of pitta dosha. Intake of hot spicy food and foods of incompatible nature vitiates all the doshas, predominantly and this leads to acidity. Ayurveda identifies Acid reflux disease as Amlapitta. Pitta is an Ayurvedic humor that symbolizes heat or fire. It is hot, sharp, intense, acidic, and pungent and is located in the stomach. Aggravated Pitta leads to an increase of acidic content in stomach fluids.
The pitta is aggravated as a result of poor diet and lifestyle habits. Changes in seasons may also lead to excessive acid production. So Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of simple dietary changes with lifestyle modification to control the symptoms of Acid Reflux Disease or Amlapitta.
The disease often presents with symptoms like
- Indigestion (Avipaak).
- Tiredness (Klama).
- Nausea (Utklesa).
- Sour and bitter burping (Tikta-Amla Udgaar).
- Heaviness (Gauravata).
- Heart and throat burn (Hrit-Kantha Daha).
- Dislike towards food ( Aruchi).
One common cause of acid reflux disease is a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia. Others are
- Eating large meals or lying down right after a meal.
- Being overweight or obese.
- Eating a heavy meal and lying on your back or bending over at the waist.
- Snacking close to bedtime.
- Eating certain foods, such as citrus, tomato, chocolate, mint, garlic, onions, or spicy or fatty foods.
- Drinking certain beverages, such as alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee, or tea.
- Are pregnant since the weight of a growing fetus may lead to acid reflux.
- Have medicines such as painkillers, certain muscle relaxers, blood pressure medicines, or medicines containing estrogen.
Ayurvedic Treatment For Acid Reflux
One of the most effective ways to treat acid reflux disease is to avoid the foods and beverages that trigger symptoms. So Ayurveda recommends some of the simple dietary changes with lifestyle modification.
Eat Alkaline Diet: The best way to prevent Acid reflux is by modifying your diet. The secret is to eat less acidic and more alkaline foods because they neutralize the acidic contents of your stomach and also numb the effect of reflux. These foods include:
- 1. Vegetables
Most of the vegetables are low in fat and sugar. They are very helpful to reduce stomach acid. The best options are spinach, fenugreek, okra, cucumber, beetroot, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, coriander, cauliflower, sweet potato, eggplant, onion, peas, pumpkin, and radish.
- 2. Fruits
Noncitrus fruits like bananas, apples, watermelon, figs, and pomegranate do not trigger acid reflux symptoms like citrus fruits.
- 3. Unsweetened yogurt and Beans
They are the best ones to avoid acidity. Beans include green beans, navy beans, broad beans, mung bean sprouts, lima beans, pinto beans, and lentils.
- 4. Nuts and seeds
Almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds can act as acid-reducing foods.
- 5. Ginger
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. So it is taken as a natural treatment for heartburn and other gastrointestinal problems. Add ginger root to recipes or drink ginger tea to ease symptoms.
- 6. Oatmeal
Oatmeal, whole grain is an excellent source of fiber that absorbs acid in the stomach and reduces symptoms of reflux. .
- 7. Lean meats and seafood
Lean meats are good to include in the diet such as chicken, turkey, fish, and seafood, as they are low-fat and reduce symptoms of acid reflux. .
- 8. Egg whites
Egg whites are a good option but stay away from egg yolks because they may trigger reflux symptoms.
- 9. Healthy fats
Avocados, walnuts, flaxseed, olive oil, and sesame oil act as sources of healthy fats. They reduce the intake of saturated fats and Trans fats and replace them with healthier unsaturated fats.
To overcome the difficulties due to Acid reflux disease, Ayurveda prescribes the food to include your diet are healthy fats, egg whites, Lean meats and seafood, Oatmeal, Ginger, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables, unsweetened yogurt, and beans.
Acid reflux and GERD leads to heartburn which develops a burning sensation in the stomach or chest after eating certain foods. Some of the Apathya mentioned in Ayurveda are as follow:
- Avoid tea, coffee, and carbonated or alcoholic beverages.
- Avoid processed and fermented foods.
- Avoid using garlic, ginger, onions, tomatoes, and vinegar in cooking.
- Also avoid rich gravies, sour, salty, and spicy foods.
- Curd should be strictly avoided.
- Avoid physical activities just after eating.
- Spend time around cool surroundings or ambiance.
- Get adequate rest.
- Avoid excessive eating, conflicting foods.
- Avoid emotions like anger, and sadness, or stress.
- Avoid irregular meal times or skipping meals and eating too late at night.
- Try to finish your dinner by 7.30 pm and instead of taking three big meals, take 4-6 smaller portions.
- Do exercise regularly.
- Raise the head end of your bed or sleep on extra pillows so that your head is higher than your feet.
Ayurveda suggests some of the yoga asanas are very beneficial to reduce the symptoms of Acid Reflux. They are:
- Setu Bandhasana
Helps strengthen the abdominal organs and protect from acid erosion.
Supports digestion and protects acidity.
Doing Vajrasana immediately after your meal will help you to digest the food properly and prevent acidity. This asana will improve blood circulation in the intestine and stomach, improving the digestion process.
- Utthita Trikonasana (Extended triangle poses)
Trikonasana or Triangle pose is known to stretch the muscles and improve regular bodily functions. Trikonasana works for acid reflux as it helps in strengthening the liver. .
Ayurveda recommends the above- mentioned apathya, vihar, and yoga asana are very simple and effective steps to reduce the symptoms of Acid Reflux.
Amla is very effective in neutralizing stomach acids. It is a Pittashamak and hence it regulates the production of excess Pitta in the body. It also heals the inner lining of the stomach and esophagus, which reduces the burning sensation and discomfort.
This refreshing herb would cool down heartburn and soothe Acid reflux.
Licorice is said to increase the mucous coating of the esophageal lining, helping it resist the irritating effects of stomach acid.
- Shatavari (Asparagus Racemosus)
The juice obtained from the roots of Shatavari plant is very effective to get relief from acid reflux in the stomach. It can be consumed directly or with ghee (clarified butter) for better results.
- Moringa Leaves
Moringa extracts might help treat some stomach disorders, such as constipation, gastritis, and ulcerative colitis. The acetone and methanol extracts of Moringa Oleifera produced a reduction in gastric acid secretion proving their anti-secretory effect.
Use of certain Ayurvedic Herbs like Amla, mint, licorice, Shatavari, and moringa leaves may help to relieve the symptoms of Acid Reflux.
The information related to Acid Reflux or GERD is based on various Ayurvedic resources. Always consult with the advice of an Ayurvedic practitioner before starting any Ayurvedic Diet and Ayurvedic herbs for the treatment of Acid Reflux.