After enjoying a massive meal, and a big helping of sweets, it's only natural to feel uneasy. But if indigestion is a frequent problem and even eating regular meals brings a cycle of pain, there can be loss of sleep, stress and serious discomfort – and it’s a symptom of acidity in the stomach.
Most people find a way out from their constant problem of heartburn (main symptom of acidity) by taking an antacid every day. But what will they do when one antacid per day is not enough? Will they take one after every meal?
Not if they mend their approach and work towards prevention of acidity rather than worrying only about it’s cure.
Acidity is a simple problem (at the onset) but gets out of hand quite soon; so do not take it lightly. The upside of this fact is that you can work on your body and cure it. Following are some tips in consultation with a doctor, which will help you keep your body acidity-free (yes, it is possible) – the natural way.
1. Maintain the acid and alkali balance of the food that you consume
- Have coconut water and cucumber water.
- Kagzi lemon (with very thin skin) is alkaline, so choose lemons carefully.
- Bitter gourd is an excellent vehicle to dispel acidity.
- Have amla powder (1 tea spoon) diluted in water.
- Have buttermilk once a day.
- Banana also helps.
2. Have small volumes and avoid heavy foods
They tend to delay gastric emptying.
3. Weight reduction
It’s essential in overweight people, in fact this might be all that is required to relieve symptoms in many people. That is because when you are overweight there is too much pressure on the oesophageal sphincter – that leads to reflux of the contents of stomach into the oesophagus - and thus heartburn.
4. Stay hydrated
Have enough water, as it aids in digestion.
5. Eat only when hungry
Digestive juices are released in the stomach only when one is hungry. Otherwise undigested food gets deposited in the stomach leading to fermentation, thus, acidity.
6. Have lots of sprouted foods
They battle against the acids. Green leafy vegetables and sprouts have vitamin B and E, which help in digestion and also aid in excreting acid from the body.
7. Avoid refined foods
For the same reason – that they lack in vitamin B and E and also fibre.
8. Try to have some foods in pre-digested form
For example soak almonds overnight and then have.
9. Hot tip: Raita recipe
A recipe from the old world that’s a sure shot digester – raita. Mix grated cucumber with curd, fresh coriander leaves, turmeric powder (quantity to taste) and 1 teaspoon mashed mustard (for flavour).
10. Maintain balance between physical activity and rest
If we do not indulge in enough activity, there is not enough sweat and uric acid gets deposited in the body.
11. Avoid stress
Nervous system coordinates the digestive system and disturbances in nervous system are bound to have an effect on your digestion.
12. Sleep well
Lack of sleep is often a cause for stomach issues.
13. Yoga helps
Some asanas, kunjal kriya and pranayam (breathing technique) all help curb acidity and indigestion.
Too many antacids must be avoided as they only provide symptomatic relief. So ideally, work towards the long-term solution rather than looking only at the short-term relief and bring about a lifestyle change – both in food and habits.
(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).)
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