Your chest is burning, your throat hurts and your stomach is not a happy place. Sound like you? If this is happening on a regular basis you may have acid reflux.
If you want to get rid of acid reflux you need to understand pH balance in the body. There are two things that determine pH – acidity and alkalinity.
A high pH in our body means it is more alkaline, a low pH means it is more acidic. Knowing how to balance the pH level in our body can keep us in good health and prevent those uncomfortable bouts of heartburn caused by acid reflux.
Strive to have your body be slightly more alkaline than acidic. This is crucial for controlling our metabolism and hormones, promoting healthy liver function and preventing acid reflux.
Many things can produce acidity in the body. When our body is too acidic it can cause digestive issues (like acid reflux), skin blemishes, brittle hair and puts too much stress on our liver. Acidity is not completely a bad thing. Our stomachs produces acid in order to properly digest food. The problem arises however, when there is too much acidity and not enough alkalinity. Our body naturally tries to balance our pH for us but only at the expense of pulling important minerals like calcium from other vital parts of the body.
Things that can produce acidity are:
- Refined carbohydrates
- Fatty, factory farmed Meat
- Trans Fats
- Chemicals (in house-hold cleaners, skin products, etc.)
Lucky for us there are many things we can do to counter balance acidity in the body. It can get a bit tricky sometimes however. When it comes to eating, you want to balance out the acidity in your body but you don’t want to completely eliminate it. For example, water is very alkalizing so you don’t want to drink too much of it when consuming food. Doing so could lower the acidity level in your stomach causing it to not be able to break down your food as well. On the other hand, when you are not eating you want to consume as much water as possible in order to balance the acidity back out.
Things that help alkalize your body are:
- Dark leafy greens
- Brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc.)
- Most vegetables!
- Olive oil
- Water (high mineral-alkaline water is best)
- Green tea
- Liquid Chlorophyll, Spirulina
How to get rid of acid reflux:
Play around with some of these and see where you may be out of balance in your life.
- Start each day with a glass of lemon water
- Eat a diet rich in unprocessed plant-based foods (especially greens)
- Eat acidic foods sparingly
- Drink acidic drinks sparingly
- Drink plenty of water daily (around 8 glasses)
- Quit smoking
- Eliminate as much sugar as you can from your diet
- Reduce stress (practice self-care such as – meditation, yoga, breath work, being in nature, etc.)
- Get plenty of sleep
- Promote waste movement in the lymphatic system (massage, breathing exercises, dry brushing, yoga)
- Eat less/better portion control
- Eat slower and more mindfully
- Lose weight (if overweight)
- Don’t eat 2-3 hours before going to bed
- Maintain good posture
All of these things are crucial to living a healthy life in general but they will also alleviate your acid reflux symptoms when adopted as part of your lifestyle. So which of these things are you missing in your life? How can you add them in?
Acid reflux can be a pain. But, it doesn’t have to be.
It is important to remember when treating any type of symptom that everyone is different and there aren’t any “quick fixes”. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is always your best bet at prevention and treating medical conditions. Eat more vegetables, get plenty of sleep, don’t stress too much, be active, don’t smoke and stay social. It doesn’t have to be much more complicated than that.
Do you have an acid reflux success story? What are you doing that works for you? If you have a fool proof plan I would love to hear it in the comments section below.
Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and experience host whose writing focuses on cooking, holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made foods.