We all are well aware of the discomfort due to acidity, indigestion and heartburn. These digestive issues are a very common affair for all. But it is often not given the due attention. One of the reasons could be its short spell; hence, we go for a temporary solution like popping pills, fruit salt and digestion syrups to ease off the pain and irritation. However, as per consultant nutritionist Rupali Datta, "Acidity and heartburn, if left untreated, can lead to severe damage to our health." And one such severity is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GRED). For the uninitiated, frequent episodes of heartburn lead to GRED, where the bile or stomach acid irritates our food pipe by flowing back to the oesophagus - a tube that connects our mouth and stomach.
Hence, it is always advised to take proper care of our health and diet to overcome these irritations. "A healthy lifestyle is a must to maintain good digestive health. Some instances are eating the right kind of food at the right time, eat small portions frequently, sitting straight while eating, chewing your food properly and more," explained Rupali Datta.
Adding to these healthy lifestyle patterns, a new study has come up with some basic guidelines that may help reduce the symptoms of heartburn, especially in women. This research on diet, lifestyle and health of women has found 5 factors that can make a significant impact on gastroesophageal reflux. The findings were published as a letter in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
The 5 factors that may help combat acid reflux are:
- Quit smoking.
- Restrict coffee, tea and sodas to 2 cups a day.
- Maintain a prudent diet. For the uninitiated, it is a diet pattern dominated by fruits, veggies, legumes, low-fat dairy et al. It also restricts the consumption of red meat, processed foods, calorific foods, eggs etc.
Alongside, these dietary changes, the researchers also advise:
- Maintain a normal weight.
- Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 30 minutes daily.
For the study, the researchers surveyed almost 43,000 women, aged between 42 and 62, from 2005 to 2017. The participants were asked to follow the guidelines. The survey also included various questions regarding GRED or heartburn symptoms. It was found that the women who strictly followed the guidelines had a lower risk of the symptoms.
"This study provides evidence that common and debilitating gastrointestinal symptoms could be well controlled in many cases with diet and lifestyle modifications alone," says Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH, the study's senior author.
Adding to these factors, Rupali Datta further shared 5 easy food tips and home remedies to combat acidity and indigestion. Let's take a look:
1. Ajwain water:
Soak a teaspoon of ajwain in a glass of water over-night and drink the next morning.
2. Saunf tea:
You may either add some saunf to your regular cup of tea or drink it like ajwain water to promote better digestion.
3. Cold milk:
Milk in cold or room temperature often helps relieve acidity with immediate effect.
Yogurt is a natural probiotic and helps boost healthy gut. Hence, you may add it to your diet to reduce the risk of indigestion.
5. Honey water:
Several researchers have found that taking a teaspoon of honey with lukewarm water may help combat acidity.
(Note: These expert tips are not a part of the study)