An overly acidic stomach can easily be prevented and treated with a few simple, and very natural, approaches. Don’t reach for those over-the-counter antacids just yet… try some other natural options instead!
What causes an acidic stomach?
You can’t fix something unless you know why it broke in the first place, right? Well, the same goes for indigestion and an overly acidic stomach. Indigestion can be a sign that your body is too acidic, so it’s crucial to not just ignore it and pop an antacid. In fact, some antacids can weaken the body’s natural stomach secretions over time and can sometimes cause the stomach to produce more acid. It’s therefore important to know about foods that cause indigestion and an overly acidic stomach.
Here is a list of things that can cause indigestion:
- Eating too fast
- Eating while on the move (walking, running, driving)
- Not chewing sufficiently
- Eating too much protein or fat at one time
- Drinking acidic beverages with a meal
- Eating an excessive amount of animal products at one meal
- Acidic foods like chocolate, sugar, refined grains, gluten-containing grains, processed foods, artificial sweeteners
- Sensitivities to citrus, tomatoes, and other naturally acidic foods
- Too little stomach acid being produced
- Greasy foods and fast foods
- Foods you’re allergic to (can cause similar symptoms and can cause inflammation in the digestive tract leading to indigestion)
- Food intolerances
- Poorly combining your foods (too much protein/animal foods with fruit or heavy, cooked foods with fruit)
Firstly, take a look at this list and see if any of these things stand out. If they do, try to reduce or eliminate them so that you can prevent the fire before you have to worry about putting it out.
Once you’ve done as much as possible to remove the triggers of your heartburn, you’ll next want to look at ways of relieving it when you experience the occasional flare-up. Sometimes stress gets in the way, or we can’t avoid eating on the run due to a busy schedule. And, let’s be honest, we all sometimes eat too much, indulge in a little chocolate, or perhaps enjoy too many healthy, natural foods, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits. We know they cause heartburn, but we eat them anyway!
Here are five ways to reduce heartburn naturally and quickly:
Consume apple cider vinegar before a meal
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains acetic acid, which is a natural acidic component in certain foods and drinks. However, ACV is the only alkaline-promoting vinegar, which is actually good for indigestion and an upset stomach. Apple cider vinegar’s enzymes break down foods (specifically protein) and help reduce acidity. It can quickly relieve heartburn as a result.
Add lemon juice to a glass of water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar for best results. You can consume this post-meal or even drink it before a meal to enhance digestion. Please note, however, it is not a smart option to use this as an excuse to eat poor foods like fast food, but it does work extremely well if you have a sensitive stomach and suffer indigestion frequently.
Apple cider vinegar can also help increase the body’s levels of HCL, the enzyme needed for digestion. A certain level of acidity in the stomach is actually needed for optimal digestion — and too little can also be the cause of indigestion. So it is important to redress the balance of this digestive enzyme in order to improve digestive function. Though you can take an HCL supplement, apple cider vinegar has been shown to provide similar results and is a more natural option.
Consume green juice before a meal
Green juices are phenomenal for so many ailments, an overly acidic stomach being one of them. Green juices alkalize the body and reduce inflammation, but they also help stimulate gastric juices and can help with digestion at the next meal. This is most effective if you drink them before a meal — within 30 minutes or so. You can also drink a green juice first thing in the day or late in the afternoon if you suffer from indigestion at those times as well.
Don’t drink your green juice right after a meal though; this can actually disrupt the digestive process that has already begun to occur after a meal. So drinking your green juice on an empty stomach is best! Here’s a great recipe for an acidic stomach: one head of romaine, a half-inch piece of ginger, one lemon, one cucumber, one stalk of celery, and one cup of parsley. Juice all the ingredients and enjoy!
Have a green smoothie for breakfast
Green smoothies are a great option for breakfast and are a fantastic way to alkalize the body at the start of the day. You can also make them quickly and you’ll be sure to have an easily digested meal for optimal energy. Use some spinach, berries, the juice of a lemon, half a frozen cucumber, a teaspoon of raw almond butter, a scoop of raw hemp protein and a little unsweetened almond milk (or water). If you’d like it sweeter, use a teaspoon of raw honey or some pure non-alcoholic liquid stevia.
Eat more raw salads and vegetables
Raw salads and vegetables are naturally alkaline and full of digestive benefits. They are some of the easiest ways to prevent inflammation and an acidic stomach around the clock, so they double as prevention and treatment. If you do have an overly acidic stomach, be sure you avoid heavily cooked foods at your next meal and eat a mostly raw meal or at least a raw salad. This will tame the fire, satisfy your hunger, and will help prevent those post-meal indigestion pains and symptoms we all know too well. Leafy greens, carrots, cucumbers, celery, asparagus and lettuces are some of the most powerful foods for reducing inflammation.
Opt for olive oil and/or honey
A tablespoon of olive oil can also help with heartburn and indigestion as it coats the stomach and provides anti-inflammatory benefits. Around a teaspoon of olive oil is all you need since it could be a bit heavy on an already upset stomach. You can also drizzle olive oil on your foods, instead of cooking with it, as another option.
Once oils are heated, they become more acidic, so try drizzling olive oil over your cooked vegetables or fish, for example, instead of cooking with it. Also, be sure to avoid cooking with oils such as canola, corn, soy, peanut and other vegetable based oils that are more acidic in nature. Healthy oils include virgin and cold-pressed olive, coconut, macadamia and avocado oil.
Honey is also a fantastic remedy for heartburn and can be consumed pre-meal or post-meal. Raw, organic manuka honey is a great option, or opt for local, raw and organic honey if you can’t find (or afford) the manuka variety. Just keep in mind that like olive oil, a little goes a long way, so a teaspoon or two should do the trick. You can also stir it in tea instead of sugar and artificial sweeteners as another way to replace acidic components in your diet with a healthier option.
Also remember to eat slowly, eat in the quiet if you can, and reduce your stress whenever possible before you sit down to eat. Include more alkaline foods in your diet, consume water instead of acidic beverages, and add a squeeze of lemon here and there — to your water and even to your meals — to provide even more alkaline benefits.
If you enjoy coffee, try to drink it with almond milk instead of cow’s milk to reduce the acidity. Also opt for a low-acid coffee and always drink your coffee outside of mealtimes if possible. Drinking it with meals acidifies the food you eat, which leads to an overly acidic stomach more quickly.
The best way to treat an inflammatory stomach is to live by prevention — and have an arsenal of natural remedies if it does flare up. What are some other natural ways we might be able to reduce stomach acidity when it shows up unexpectedly?
— The Alternative Daily