Introduction I am a natural health practitioner who helps people to solve their health problems naturally. I know exactly how it feels to have reflux, as I have had it many times on some occasions the chest pain being so painful that I thought I was having a heart attack. I took myself to hospital only to find out I had what I call “the shepherd’s pie effect”, as I had eaten shepherd’s pie in the hours prior which had resulted in terrible reflux. I did not know then that you could treat this condition naturally and with very good effect. I also did not know that my diet and lifestyle was causing my reflux… You see my diet was terrible, I loved cakes, biscuits, pastries infact anything that was filled with fat, sugar and carbs was what my body craved I knew no different. It was not entirely my fault as I had grown up on a diet like this where bread, flour, pasta, rice and potato was the staple for the family diet. I never knew that this would eventually affect my health, leading to insulin resistance, or that it would even lead to gut health issues. I found that when I changed my diet my reflux went away, I also found that I lost weight naturally, I had more energy to do the things I wanted to do and my mood improved.
What is reflux…
Gastric reflux is a painful condition for many of us, I know because I have experienced it many times. It has been suggested for a long time that reflux is used by an over production of acid that builds up in the stomach and reflux’s back up into the oesophagus causing heart burn that often feels like chest pain. If you get chest pain, you must treat it
as a heart related problem until proven otherwise so my recommendation is to always go to the hospital if you have chest pain. However, if you have had heartburn or reflux before and know how it feels you can treat it naturally and safely.
Why does reflux occur… In contrast to what was previously thought gastric reflux is not caused by an over production of acid it is a problem with not enough acid being produced by the cells in the stomach. The stomach has cells in the lining of stomach that produce hydrochloric acid, this is required to break down proteins so they can be digested in the small intestine. Without enough acid in the stomach the proteins will just sit in the stomach and putrefy until they are able to move in to the small intestine, this will slow the progression of food through the gut and causes the contents of the stomach to build up and splash back up into the oesophagus leading to heartburn or gastric reflux.
What are the negatives of medical treatment for reflux… The most common medical management of this condition is to prescribe medications that reduce the production of acids, there is a real problem with this plan of treatment. This will further reduce the production of acid from the cells in the stomach leading to them become even less productive. Yes, this approach does work in the short time however it is not the best solution to the problem. The reliance on these medications can be very damaging to our overall health and they have a negative effect on our digestive system and are known to cause other health issues. These medications also deplete other nutrients that are essential for your health these include calcium, folic acid, iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. So now you can see why it is important to look for other another option.
The natural approach to reflux…
Well luckily there is another option and it is simple; Apple Cider Vinegar, if you take 1 teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar before each meal you will notice the difference. I have even used this approach with clients who have hiatus hernia and they have still experienced the same results. Take your apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, end ensure you purchase the apple cider vinegar that has the mother in it and share before use to make sure you get some of the good bacteria when you pour it as this is really beneficial for your gut health.
Tips that will help to resolve gastric reflux naturally...
1. Apple cider vinegar before each meal.
Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits and many of these also have been scientifically proven. It is high in acetic acid, it also contains anti-oxidants, potassium and amino acids. It is the acidity that really helps with the relief of reflux. It is really important to ensure when purchasing apple cider vinegar that you ensure it has the “mother” in it that is the sediment or merky stuff that settles in the bottom. This has the good bacteria from the fermentation process that will also have great benefits for your gut health! Please visit my website www.verdurenaturopathy.com.au for more information on the benefits of apple cider vinegar.
2. Ensure you eat 2 hours before going to bed or lying down.
When you eat your stomach becomes full and once the food enters the stomach it needs time to be broken down into smaller particles this is a part of the digestion process. If you eat and then lye down immediately it is likely that the process of food moving down your oesophagus to your stomach will slow down. If your stomach is too full the food will push back up into your oesophagus, this can cause the acid contents of your stomach to irritate your oesophagus and will often result in acid in the mouth that can damage to teeth, coughing, breathlessness and discomfort.
3. Drink at least 2 litres of water per day.
Water is very important for the human body with out it we can not function properly. You need approximately 30 ml per kilo of body weight of water daily. This will help to ensure that your body can undertake the bio-chemical processes required to effectively produce hydrochloric acid as well as ensure that there is adequate hydration for gastric juices, and many more hormones and chemicals required by the body.
4. Avoid overeating.
Overeating can lead to over distention of the stomach. Our stomach is approximately the size of our clenched fist. So if you consider how much you are eating or serving sizes it is very easy to over eat with out realising it, especially in todays society with ever increasing portion sizes served in restaurants and take a way food outlets. The stomach has layers of muscle that contract and relax to churn the food mixing it with the gastric juices and the hydrochloric acid to help further break down the food. If you over fill it, there will be no where else for the contents to go accept to reflux back up into the oesophagus or down into the small intestine. So eat moderately and you will experience the benefits.
5. Avoid sugary or highly refined foods.
Many of us are not aware but sugary and refined foods like, bread, cakes, biscuits and lollies are all broken down into acid and they cause the body to become acidic. It is not good for your health to have an acidic body it can cause a lot of health problems. If you improve your diet and move to a whole foods based diet you will find your reflux will occur less often and the benefits for your health are amazing as whole foods are nutrient dense compared with refined foods which have very little nutrient value yet are very high in energy leading to weight gain.