Acid Reflux, Heartburn and GERD

For centuries people have thought of tea as an amazing digestive aid. However, tea, along with many other popular foods and drinks, may actually cause excessive acid production in the stomach and in turn cause acid reflux. Acid reflux is the regurgitation of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. This can cause a burning feeling behind the breastbone, which is also known as heartburn (even though it does not have anything to do with the heart), along with a bitter taste in one’s mouth. GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease, which is when the lower part of the esophagus becomes weak and cannot block the passage of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. Acid reflux, heartburn and GERD can all be prevented and even treated through a few simple lifestyle and dietary modifications.

Acid reflux is generally due to the overproduction of acid in the stomach. The acidity of the stomach can rise from such things as anxiety, smoking, drinking alcohol and/or caffeinated beverages and eating acidic foods such as tomatoes, oranges, lemons, onions, garlic and mint. Foods that are very spicy or high in fat are also to blame. I once had a customer who came up to the counter eating a bag of jalapeno chips and drinking orange juice with a prescription for Nexium in his hand. It really makes me wonder if some doctors are purposely trying to sabotage their patients by not informing them of the causes of their illnesses in order to keep them returning for more prescriptions. Believe it or not, most patients feel like their doctor visit was not worth it if they did not receive a prescription. So, some doctors give out unnecessary prescriptions just to make their patients happy. Just something to be aware of next time you visit the doctor.

Being overweight can increase the chances of acid reflux as well; however, so can exercise. Obesity increases the chances of acid reflux 6 fold. This is because of the increase in stomach compression and intragastric pressure that excess abdominal fat can cause. Tightly fitted clothes, especially around the waste, can also contribute to this. On the other hand, exercise (especially leg lifts and crunches) can also worsen acid reflux but at least there are precautions one can take before and during a workout to prevent this from happening. Eating at least 2 hours before working out and drinking plenty of water while exercising can drastically reduce the chances of acid reflux.

If you experience acid reflux at night, it is because the acid from your stomach can enter into the esophagus more easily when you are laying down. Try not to eat anything at least 3 hours before going to bed. Also, try elevating your head by adding more pillows so that your head is slightly above stomach level. This way the acid cannot enter the esophagus as easily.

Some natural remedies you can try to alleviate heartburn include licorice, baking soda, aloe vera, and non-fat milk. Licorice helps aid digestion and soothe the tissues of the stomach and esophagus that have been irritated by refluxed stomach acid. It may also act as an anti-inflammatory. Aloe vera juice also works by reducing inflammation in the stomach. Adding a little bit of baking soda to your water can help act as a buffer to neutralize excess stomach acid. If you do not like baking soda, non-fat milk works as a buffer as well.

Many antacids have recently gone over the counter, however, these are not meant to be used for more than 2 weeks at a time. Avoiding the causes of acid reflux could help you live a heartburn free life without having to resort to any medications at all. Remember, if you start with prevention, you will never need any treatment. Thanks for reading, this has been your daily dose of Vitamin Jas.

The Health Benefits of Quinoa

Quinoa seeds may be tiny, but they pack a big punch. Quinoa is filled with nutrients that will help boost energy, metabolism and even mental clarity. Let me elaborate…

Quinoa is considered one of the best sources of protein, containing all nine essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein). It also contains iron, which is crucial for proper oxygen transport throughout our body, aiding in the contraction of our muscles, increasing brain function and speeding up our metabolism and energy production. Quinoa also has a substantial amount of fiber, which helps control blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, relieve constipation, lower blood pressure, and keeps us feeling full for a long period of time. Quinoa is also rich in magnesium, assisting in proper nerve functioning and the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. You will also find manganese in quinoa, which is a potent antioxidant that protects our cells from damage by free radicals in our body. Quinoa also contains lysine, an amino acid known to aid in tissue growth and repair, shortening recovery time after an injury or illness. Lastly, quinoa is a great source of riboflavin, a B vitamin that helps increase energy production in the brain and muscle cells.

Quinoa is not a grain, but when it is cooked, it has a light, fluffy texture similar to white rice, and is subtly flavored. It actually cooks and tastes like a grain, which is why it is a great replacement for grains that are difficult to digest or pack a higher number of calories and carbohydrates. So, the next time you are preparing a dish that calls for white rice, try using quinoa. You will be pleasantly surprised and your body will thank you in the long run. Thanks for reading. This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.