Treat GERD/Acid Reflux the Natural Way

Treat GERD/Acid Reflux the Natural Way

Nobody likes stomach related problems, but there may be one particular class of symptoms everybody absolutely hates – the acidic feeling of heartburn that consumes your mind and body, create a great amount of discomfort, and render you unable to do anything other than wait desperately for the feeling to pass by. While all of us may have faced the occasional acidic indigestion issues, regularly feeling such symptoms may be indicative of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, commonly called GERD.

Our food has a pretty straight downward passage in the body, starting from the mouth, going down the food pipe or oesophagus, and then into our stomach and beyond for further digestion. The lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) controls the movement of food from the food pipe to the stomach, opening when food goes down and then closing back again. In GERD however, the LES doesn’t close properly, thus allowing partially digested food and acidic contents of the stomach to make their way upwards. The bitter taste, burning sensation, and feeling of your food ‘coming back up’, comes from this upward movement.

While a challenging condition to suffer from and deal with and quite pervasive in the population today, GERD is fortunately easily treatable. Medical diagnosis is usually followed by some changes in lifestyle practices such as eating habits. Additionally, some medications may be provided such as antacids or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).

Hence, symptom alleviation and recovery from GERD is actually in your hands – alongside following medical recommendations, there are some important lifestyle changes that you can make to eliminate this annoying and uncomfortable condition from your life.

One major change you would need to undertake is a change in your diet. As GERD is a digestive issue, changing your dietary practices can go a long way in improving your health. While there is no blanket diet that can cover all individuals who suffer from this problem, some common evils to steer clear of include chocolate, caffeine, carbonated beverages, alcohol, and foods rich in citrus. This does not mean, however, that you have to completely give up on these food items. Instead, try reducing the quantity to take them in, and space their consumption over a longer period of time to give your body relief. Time is also an important factor – for example, consuming some items towards the end of the day may cause a flare-up in heartburn during the night. Eating smaller meals, adding more fibre and lean meat, and adding more non-citrous fruits and vegetables are other good changes to make.

You can start by keeping a log or journal of the food you eat and the time you eat it at, which can help to pinpoint specific triggers that cause your condition to become worse, thus helping you in making more planned and strategic long-term changes in your diet.

Interestingly, you may think that GERD means your body is producing too much acid, but even too little acid can produce symptoms of the condition. The acid in our stomach is needed to break down the food we into nutrients we can absorb. If the body produces too little acid, digestion is slowed down, which means that the food remains inside the stomach for a longer period of time, which in turn can cause reflux.  The kind of GERD you experience can be checked by a simple test – try having a spoonful of something acidic, such as apple cider vinegar or lemon when you experience symptoms. If you feel relief, you need more acid, which you can then incorporate into your diet.

In addition to changing diet patterns, there are also some natural herbs you can add to your diet to help alleviate symptoms of GERD and provide long-term recovery from the condition. These include –

  • Ginger – Known as a very effective digestive aid, ginger reduces inflammation, gas, and production of stomach acid, all of which help in alleviating symptoms of GERD. It can also be easily integrated into daily diet, such as through ginger teas or raw consumption.
  • Chamomile – Known for its overall soothing effect, chamomile also helps in reducing inflammation of the digestive tract.
  • Licorice – Believed to increase the mucous coating of the oesophagus (which prevents acid from coming in direct contact with the walls of the food pipe), the effectiveness of licorice has been demonstrated in many studies as a way of preventing GERD symptoms.

* Want to learn about more magic herbs? Click here

Another lifestyle practice that can help in controlling the symptoms of GERD and recovery from it is Yoga. As an exercise of both the mind and body, Yoga works from multiple angles to provide relief from the problem. Studies have suggested that one major situational cause for GERD flare-ups is stress. While there is still debate about whether or not there is an actual increase in your acid levels during stressful times, the fact is that many people do experience more painful symptoms when they are stressed. Yoga is considered one of the most effective tools to deal with stress, and thus can help in ensuring both better mental and physical health for patients of GERD. Many yoga poses are known to specifically help with GERD. You can find some major poses here.

Yoga also helps in GERD treatment by boosting medical aids. Studies have shown that practicing yoga alongside medications such as PPIs can help in both reducing the severity of symptoms and delay the need of extreme surgical methods in serious cases. In the long run, Yoga can help in completely managing GERD without the aid of medical supplements, too.

Indeed, it may be possible to successfully shift from a medical approach to a completely lifestyle-based approach in the management of GERD. This shift cannot be sudden however – you will need to first integrate lifestyle practices, such as dietary changes and yoga into your daily routine, and then slowly remove the medical component till you remain dependent on lifestyle practices alone. In doing so however, remember to work under the supervision of experts such as yoga instructors, dietician and a medical practitioner who knows your medical history, so that you can make this change without risk.

[1] “Diet Changes for GERD – About GERD.” 19 Sep. 2019, https://www.aboutgerd.org/diet-lifestyle-changes/diet-changes-for-gerd.html. Accessed 14 Jan. 2020.

[2] “Cool the Fire of Heartburn – Yoga International.” https://yogainternational.com/article/view/cool-the-fire-of-heartburn. Accessed 14 Jan. 2020.

[3] “Herbal remedies for heartburn – Harvard Health.” https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/herbal-remedies-for-heartburn. Accessed 14 Jan. 2020.

[4] “Alternative Treatments for GERD: Herbs and … – Healthline.” https://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/melatonin. Accessed 14 Jan. 2020.

[5] “Cool the Fire of Heartburn – Yoga International.” https://yogainternational.com/article/view/cool-the-fire-of-heartburn. Accessed 14 Jan. 2020.

[6] “Can Stress Cause Acid Reflux? – Healthline.” 11 Jul. 2017, https://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/stress. Accessed 14 Jan. 2020.

[7] “Yoga: Fight stress and find serenity – Mayo Clinic.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/yoga/art-20044733. Accessed 14 Jan. 2020.

[8] “Can yoga be used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease ….” 14 Jun. 2013, http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2013;volume=6;issue=2;spage=131;epage=133;aulast=Kaswala. Accessed 14 Jan. 2020.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Style switcher RESET
Body styles
Color scheme
Background pattern
WhatsApp chat