Wellness by Luke Coutinho: Heartburn warfare

How many times have you experienced a severe burning sensation in your chest right after a meal? Or felt your food rise back up your throat and leave a rancid taste in your mouth? Chances are you may be experiencing a classic case of acidity.

Popping antacids may seem like the easiest fix, but an overdependence on them can lead to low stomach acids, which is even more dangerous. If left untreated, chronic acidity can change the environment in and around your cells and possibly lead to cancer, diabetes, poor skin and hair quality, inability to lose weight, and more in the long run. Here are six lifestyle tips to help beat acidity.

Avoid long gaps between meals

An average meal takes about three to four hours to digest, after which your stomach automatically produces hydrochloric acid to aid in digestion. A gap of over four hours between meals produces excess acid that can eat on the inner mucosal lining of your stomach, causing acidity. Adopt a fixed eating schedule. This will remind your stomach that it will get food at particular intervals and encourage the uniform production of acid.

Chew slowly and mindfully

Digestion starts in the mouth—chewing helps you break down food into smaller bits and extract maximum nutrients. Not chewing your food well causes food chunks to go down undigested and pushes your stomach to produce more acid to break them down.

Avoid drinking tea or coffee on an empty stomach

While tea and coffee consumed moderately are good for you, avoid consuming them excessively on an empty stomach. Adding these acidic beverages to your system can erode the inner lining of your stomach and lead to the production of excess acids.

tips and tricks

Check your medication

Are you on medication? Check if its side effects include acidity. Antibiotics wipe out both good and bad bacteria from your intestines and deplete the B-complex vitamin, making you more acidic. When on antibiotics, take adequate probiotics, prebiotics, and B vitamins.

Breathe deep

Practice yoga, pranayama, and breathing exercises to reduce acidity. Take three deep breaths before your meal to flood your body and stomach with oxygen. After every morsel, get into the habit of taking a deep breath. This helps your body balance its acidic and alkaline levels naturally.

Move, sleep & manage stress

Take a 30-minute walk after every meal and never skimp on sleep. When you feel acidic, sleep on your left side instead of your right and elevate your head. Managing your stress levels can also help you reduce the severity of symptoms drastically.

Luke Coutinho practices in the space of Holistic Nutrition—Integrative & Lifestyle Medicine and is the founder of You Care – All about You by Luke Coutinho

Catch Luke Coutinho’s column every fortnight in HT Brunch. It will appear next on June 25, 2022.

From HT Brunch, June 11, 2022

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