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Relieve Acid Reflux Naturally

By Paul Rothbart

Heartburn and acid reflux cause great discomfort. It's unsettling to have the burning feeling in the chest. But it can be worse than that. About 14 to 20 percent of adults in the United States have been diagnosed with some form of reflux. When stomach acid gets pushed up into the esophagus, it burns. That is what reflux is. 

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is the worst form. With this type of reflux, the acid damages the esophagus and can lead to cancer. It is the most common digestive order in the U.S. I was diagnosed with it 30 years ago. There is medication for it, with omeprazole being the most common. I was on that for a while. But omeprazole may have long term side effects. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to relieve reflux symptoms and stop the acid from backing up. I have personally used several and they work.

Lose Weight

I'm starting with this one because it made the biggest difference for me. Overweight people generally have a lot of belly fat. This can cause pressure against the stomach that pushes the lower esophageal sphincter up. This is the opening between the stomach and the esophagus. Pressure can open it and force acid up into the esophagus, causing reflux. The solution is simple, even if losing weight is not. Less belly fat, less pressure, the acid is not forced up through the sphincter. Given that losing weight has many healthy benefits in addition to this one, anyone suffering with reflux should make an honest effort. I did and got down to a healthier weight and now rarely have a reflux attack. 

Diet

There are several adjustments to diet that will really help. The first is, don't overeat. Stuffing the stomach beyond its limit can easily force acid up into the esophagus. When you feel full, stop. There are also foods to cut back on. They don't have to be eliminated all together, but be careful. They tend to produce stomach acid. Any acidic foods are obviously on this list. Tomatoes, citrus fruits, vinegar. Mint also tends to produce acid as do spicy foods. Raw onions are one of the worst offenders. Be careful with garlic too. Chocolate and carbonated beverages can also bring on a reflux attack. 

Alcohol and Caffeine

I can hear you all from here. "But those are two of my favorite things!" Mine too, but you can still have a little, just cut back. Coffee has been shown to weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, most like due to the caffeine. Alcohol relaxes the sphincter, while also increasing stomach acid. It's a double whammy, so use caution here.

Acid reflux is not only uncomfortable, it is potentially dangerous. Omeprazole is effective, but with the possible long term side effects, may not be worth the risk. There are natural ways to curb acid reflux that just require some discipline. They work. I know firsthand. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Aventura, Fla.

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