Acid reflux disease is a very common disease in the United States. It can occur at any stage of life (even in kids).
Acid reflux disease:
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Acid reflux disease is a condition in which acid splashes up from the stomach into the esophagus. The esophagus is a tube which carries food from throat to stomach. At the bottom of the esophagus is a bundle of muscles called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). LES works as a valve and closes as soon as food passes through it preventing stomach acid from backing up into the esophagus. But sometimes, when the LES does not close at all or it opens too often, stomach acid can splash up into the esophagus. This can cause heartburn, cough, nausea, burning in the mouth and throat and other symptoms.
Acid reflux disease sometime progresses to gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), a severe or chronic form of reflux that can lead to some complications.
Causes of acid reflux:
Acid reflux disease can occur in people of all ages. It is usually caused by different stomach abnormalities. Hiatal hernia is the most common stomach abnormality which can cause acid reflux disease.
The following factors can make reflux worse;
- Use of alcohol and carbonated drinks
- Different medications such as certain muscle relaxers, nitrates, antihistamines calcium channel blockers and blood pressure medications
- Eating large and heavy meals
- Eating soon before sleep
- Lying down after eating
- Eating quickly
- Being physically inactive
- Low dietary fiber
Foods that can cause acid reflux:
- Spicy and fatty foods
- Tomato and tomato sauce
- High-fat dairy products
- Coffee and tea
- Citrus fruit and juices
Signs and symptoms:
Burning pain in the chest known as heartburn is the most common symptom of acid reflux disease.
Other symptoms include;
- A sour or bitter tasting acid splashing up from the esophagus into mouth or throat
- Trouble swallowing food
- Dry cough
- Persistent hiccups
- Hoarseness and soreness
- Pain and discomfort in upper abdominal
Apple cider vinegar for acid reflux disease:
Apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular natural home remedies for acid reflux disease. However, there is no medical research published yet to prove that if apple cider vinegar actually helps in relieving symptoms of acid reflux disease, so all we have is just theories. So before using ACV as a home remedy for acid reflux, consult your family physician.
Why use apple cider vinegar?
ACV has excellent pH balancing properties which help reduce excessive acid in the stomach. It also has natural vitamins, minerals and other nutrients which helps in improving digestion of food.
How to use apple cider vinegar for acid reflux disease?
- Mix 2 or 3 teaspoons (10-15 ml) of apple cider vinegar in an 8 ounce glass of water and drink it before eating meals or whenever you experience symptoms.
- If you do not like the taste of ACV then you can add a bit of honey into it.
- ACV can also be used in salad and you can also use it in cooking.
- Raw/organic apple cider vinegar is preferable.
Possible Side effects and precautions:
As said earlier, there is no medical research to support the use of ACV for acid reflux disease. ACV itself is very acidic and it sometimes can make acid reflux worse, so always ask your doctor before using it.
Apple cider vinegar can negatively interact with some medications. So if you are taking any medications, then consult your doctor before start using ACV. Apple cider vinegar can interact negatively with the following medications;
- Diabetes drugs
- Heart disease medication
Do not take apple cider vinegar at all if you have an ulcer. It can make ulcers worse.
Acid reflux and gastro esophageal reflux diseases can be prevented by bringing some changes in your diet and lifestyle.
- Adopt a physically active lifestyle
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid alcoholic drinks
- Avoid overuse of carbonated drinks, coffee and tea
- Do not eat soon before going to bed
- Avoid spicy and fried foods
- Do not overeat
- Eat slowly
- Do not lie down after eating
- Avoid fatty foods
- Take fiber rich diet
Certain foods also help avoiding acid reflux and GERD. Foods that fight acid reflux are:
- Aloe Vera
- Fish and seafood
- Green foods like cauliflower, broccoli and green beans
- Salad (avoid tomatoes and onions)