Acidity occurs when there is excess secretion of acids in the gastric glands of the stomach, producing gas, bad breath, stomach ache and other symptoms. According to Delhi-based Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat, “Acidity can be caused due to a long gap between meals, empty stomach or excessive intake of tea, coffee, smoking or alcohol”. When the secretion of acids is more than usual – we experience heartburn or acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), which is normally triggered when we eat a heavy meal or spicy foods.
Here are 12 simple ingredients available in your kitchen or refrigerator that can be used to get rid of stomach acidity.
1. Basil Leaves
The soothing and carminative properties of basil leaves can give you instant relief from acidity. At the first sign of gas, eat a few basil leaves or boil 3-4 basil leaves in a cup of water and let it simmer for a few minutes. Sip on it frequently.
You can also “chew sauf after meals, to prevent acidity”, advises Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat. “For its multitude of gastrointestinal benefits, fennel tea is sure to help the digestive tract be healthy and happy. The tea is considered very useful to help indigestion and bloating because of the oils found in these seeds”, according to Shilpa Arora ND, a renowned Health Practitioner, Nutritionist and certified Macrobiotic Health Coach.
This humble spice works as a natural antacid and can settle your stomach, by improving digestion and absorption. For relief, drink cinnamon tea to heal infections in the gastrointestinal tract.
Did you know that buttermilk is categorised as a sattvic food in Ayurveda? So, the next time you get acidity after eating a heavy or spicy meal, skip the antacid and drink a glass of chaas instead. Buttermilk contains lactic acid that normalizes acidity in the stomach. Sprinkle a dash of black pepper or 1 teaspoon of ground coriander leaves for best results.
Ever wondered why our elders finish a meal with gur? “Due to its high magnesium content, jaggery helps boost intestinal strength”, says Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja, Fortis Hospital, New Delhi. It aids digestion and makes your digestive system more alkaline in nature, thus reducing stomach acidity. Suck on a small piece of gur after a meal, and reap the benefits. Since jaggery also helps maintain normal body temperature, cooling the stomach – experts recommend drinking Gur Sharbat (jaggery soaked in ice cold water) during the summer.
Over the years, cloves have grabbed a prominent place in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda to treat digestive disorders. Cloves are carminative in nature, thus preventing the formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract. Add cloves while cooking foods like kidney beans or black gram that tend to cause flatulence. You can even eat crushed cloves and cardamom (mixed in equal amounts) to treat acidity, and get rid of bad breath (which often accompanies this problem).
7. Cumin Seeds
Cumin seeds work as a great acid neutralizer, aid digestion and relieve stomach pain. Slightly crush some roasted cumin seeds, stir it into a glass of water or steep one teaspoon of cumin seeds in a cup of boiled water and drink it after every meal.
Beneath its knobbly exterior, ginger hides many health benefits. “Ginger has excellent digestive and anti-inflammatory properties”, says Dr. Ahuja, Fortis Hospital. To help neutralize stomach acids, you can chew a slice of fresh ginger, or have a spoonful of ginger juice two-three times a day, or steep fresh ginger in a cup of boiling water and drink up.
9. Cold Milk
For those who are not lactose intolerant, milk can help stabilize gastric acids in the stomach. It is rich in calcium, which prevents the buildup of acid in the stomach. “All you need to do is drink a glass of cold milk the next time you suffer from acidity”, suggests Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat.
10. Apple Cider Vinegar
Very often, your acid reflux is in fact the result of too little stomach acid. That’s where apple cider vinegar steps in. Simply mix 1-2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and drink it once or twice a day. You can also take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and chase it with a glass of water.
11. Coconut Water
“When you drink coconut water, your body’s pH acidic level turns alkaline”, adds Dr. Ahuja, Fortis Hospital. It also helps produce mucous in your stomach, which protects the stomach from harmful effects of excessive acid production. Since it is rich in fibre, it aids digestion and prevents the re-occurrence of acidity.
Bananas contain natural antacids that can act as a buffer against acid reflux. This is the simplest home remedy for getting rid of acidity. Eat one banana every day to prevent discomfort.