Ailments & Remedies
Our stomach produces acid to digest the food
that we eat. This is a regular and natural process. Whenever we
eat, cells within the lining of the stomach pump acid to liquefy
your sumptuous dinner, from mash potatoes to a slab of steak.
Problem occurs when these cells produce large
amount of acid, more than your stomach needs. When this happens,
you will suffer from stomach acidity. You would know if you were
suffering from stomach acidity if you feel a burning sensation
just above the stomach, or right below (the hollow part) your
breastbone. This is the most classic sign of acidity.
A weakness of the valve between the stomach
and oesophagus (food pipe) can cause a reflux of the acid from
the stomach to the lower part of the oesophagus. This gastro-oesophageal
reflux can cause heart-burn.
Sometimes, a heavy meal or increase in intra-abdominal pressure
such as while straining or lifting weights, can bring about this
Excess acid secretion can also cause acidity and ulcers, when
the normal protective lining of the stomach and duodenum (the
part of the intestine that joins the stomach), is damaged. The
resulting ulcer is called gastric ulcer if it is in the stomach
and duodenal ulcer if it is in the duodenum.
In a condition known as Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome, a large
amount of acid is secreted because of stimulation by tumours
located in the pancreas or duodenum.
Any kind of break down in the defense mechanisms that protect
the stomach and intestine from damage by acid can cause acidity.
The body secretes bicarbonate into the mucous layer, which
neutralises the acid. Hormone-like substances known as
prostaglandins, help to keep the blood vessels in the stomach
dilated, ensuring adequate blood flow.
Lack of adequate blood flow to the stomach may contribute to
Prostaglandins are also believed to stimulate bicarbonate and
mucous production, which help protect the stomach.
Consumption of alcohol, highly spicy foodstuffs, irregular food
habits, and Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) also
predispose to gastric acidity.
There is a higher incidence of acidity in highly emotional and
nervous individuals. It is also more common in the developed and
industrialized nations, though a recent increase in incidence
has also occurred in the developing countries.
- Yastimadhu (Glycyzrrhiza glabra)
- Amla (Phyllanthus emblica)
- Lavanga (Syzygium aromaticum - Clove)
- Black pepper (Piper nigrum)
Avoid foods that are rich in oils and
fats. These foods are difficult to digest, so they may
make the stomach release more acids.
The diet should contain a proper blend
of all the tastes. Spicy food must be just one dish rather
than the whole meal.
Fibers are necessary in the diet as
they help in the digestion.
Red meats must be eaten only
occasionally, if at all.
After a meal, the body must be given
some sort of exercise. This could be as simple as going
for a stroll.
Too much addiction to strong foods such
as tea and coffee may cause hyperacidity. This is also
true for other addictions such as smoking and alcohol.
Do not consume sour foods as they
already have acidic contents. Acidic foods to avoid are
pickles, curds, tamarinds, vinegar, etc.
Avoid or limit alcohol.
Maintain upright position during and at
least 45 mins after eating.
Try elevating the head of bed 6 - 8
inches when lying down.