(NaturalNews) It is estimated that at least 50% of Americans suffer with acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The condition occurs mostly after consuming fatty foods such as pizza. Most people's first response is to reach for the nearest antacid medication. But before you are forced to deal with side effects or worry about mixing the antacid with any other medications you might be taking, keep reading to garner some information on a more natural alternative. An apple a day may not keep the doctor away, but it will help with problem meals. So let's go over the disease itself, its causes, symptoms and the other 12 natural ways to end acid reflux.
What is acid reflux disease (GERD)?
Acid reflux disease, or GERD, occurs when tiny acid contents of food and pancreatic juices back up into your esophagus. This leads to irritation, scarring and inflammation. Over time, it can even narrow the circumference of the esophagus, which can increase your odds for developing esophageal cancer. People who are overweight and older citizens are more prone to this, because abdominal fat can interfere with the function of the esophagus and the esophageal sphincter. The esophageal sphincter prevents backsplash and weakens as a person ages.
The symptoms and the usual suspects.
GERD symptoms include burning, food getting stuck, coughing, wheezing, nausea, hoarseness, asthma symptoms and tooth enamel erosion. The usual suspects that can cause all this dismay are chocolate, alcohol, smoking, caffeine and greasy, spicy and fatty foods.
Here are the other 12 ways to end the suffering.
Another good reason to lose weight is that it would decreases the occurrence of acid reflux.
Most people would rather be thrown into a raging volcano than give up the fatty foods and other indulgences mentioned earlier, so just show some moderation with them and life will still be worthwhile.
Not a high rating on the taste meter, but a tablespoon of baking soda in a half glass of water can ease the symptoms.
Two ounces of unprocessed aloe vera juice every day is extremely helpful.
Eating raw almonds is a great source of calcium. Plus, Dr. Millie Lytle, a naturopathic doctor from New York, says they produce alkalinity that can balance the pH levels in the body.
The irritated tissues of the digestive track can be soothed by taking slippery elm in powder, liquid or capsule form.
Rebekah Fedrowitz, an applied holistic nutritionist, says that, if you start the day with a warm cup of water and fresh lemon juice 15-20 minutes before the first meal, it will balance out the acid levels in the body.
Instead of lemon, try mixing some apple cider vinegar in your teas.
With the onset of acid reflux symptoms, try some chamomile, mint or fenugreek tea.
Stella Metasovas, author of The 21-Day Digestive Health Detox, says to add the supplement Saccharomyces boulardii. It is a probiotic strain for the small intestine. It will help key vitamins be better absorbed by the body.
After meals, try chewing a stick of gum to increase saliva production. Current research says that it can reduce acid levels in the esophagus.
Studies have shown that sleeping on your right side or stomach can increase GERD symptoms, so try sleeping on your left side.
Finally, here are a few more tips form Dr. Jamie Koufman, author of Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure: do not wear tight clothing, don't exercise right after eating, don't lie down after eating when bedtime is three hours away and the perennial plea -- stop smoking.
About the author: Sofiya has written articles on most health-related topics, including traditional medicine, alternative and naturopathic and natural treatments, wellness, medical marijuana, diets and fitness.