The discomfort people experience from acid reflux can sometimes be quite debilitating. It can start interfering with your daily activities. It is essential to know that when symptoms become chronic, we need to seek medical help.
However, in India, we have some ancient wisdom to rely on in the form of home remedies and Ayurveda. Do not blindly fall for any concoctions and claims that proclaim immediate benefits. These can have long-lasting ill effects, which you may come to know quite late. One needs to only go by what works and has been proven to help. Here are a few remedies that you can try at home to help relieve your symptoms of acid reflux.
Eating a ripe banana
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Ever wondered why our elders always used to top up a meal, especially heavy ones with a banana? While we were dishing out the wisdom of the new-age fad diets about the right time to eat fruits, they probably already knew about the benefits of eating a banana after a meal. They are a great source of potassium that increases mucus production in our stomachs. This prevents the excess formation of acid and resulting problems of acidity and bloating. It increases the good bacteria in the stomach and also diminishes fluid retention. It is also a good source of prebiotics and fibre that aids food digestion and bowel movement. Bananas also come with a host of other health benefits and thus, are a good addition to the daily diet, backed by scientific evidence.
Note: Please pick a ripe one only as unripe ones can have the opposite effect.
Apart from giving some good exercise to the facial muscles, chewing gum also helps one relieve the acid reflux symptoms. Strange as it may seem, there is a simple scientific explanation for this. Chewing gum generates more saliva in our mouth, which we keep swallowing. This pushed back the acid from the oesophagus. Also, saliva is one of the best acid buffers. Scientific evidence suggests that chewing gum for half an hour after eating a meal can help reduce acid reflux symptoms.
Note: Pick ones that do not have mint as that can have adverse effects as mint triggers acid reflux. Also, pick sugar-free ones. Preferably pick gums that contain bicarbonate for maximum benefits.
Sleep on your left side
Few scientific studies have revealed that sleeping on the left side can bring down the symptoms of acid reflux. The explanation for this is said to be based on our anatomy and the positioning of the stomach and oesophagus. The stomach acid covers the lower oesophagus when we sleep on our right side. This doesn’t happen when we sleep on the left side. Hence, even if we cannot sleep on the left throughout, we should try alternating at least.
Aloe vera juice
Some scientific evidence is available to prove that purified and colorised aloe vera juice does help bring down acid reflux symptoms. More importantly, it did not have any major side effects other than as mentioned below. It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps reduce stomach acid production. Both these properties could be what is helping aloe vera to help relieve symptoms of acid reflux. Start with a small dose per day to see if it helps or is causing any side effects.
Note: This juice should be taken only after consultation with a doctor. For diabetics, this can cause problems of hypoglycaemia. In a few cases, it does cause diarrhoea; hence caution is advised.
Most other suggested home remedies like ginger or chamomile tea, carom or jeera tea (kaada), chewing fennel (saunf) seeds, buttermilk, cold milk, etc., have no scientific backing. Cold milk or buttermilk seems to help a few people. However, the milk would have to be fat-free. Usually, dairy products are considered as known acid reflux triggers. The same is the case with mint tea or lemon water. While it helps soothe the symptoms in a few people, it could worsen the situation for most. Some say eating raw almonds helps even though there is no scientific evidence to back the case. The bottom line is not to go by mere suggestions and try something in small quantity if you must. Try what works for you and avoid what doesn’t.