Let Us Elaborate On Acid Reflux…
The main symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease are heartburn and acid reflux. Acid reflux is where acid and other stomach contents are brought back up (regurgitated) into your throat and mouth. If the LES is not closing well, it allows for food, liquid and gastric acids to leak back into the oesophagus. The inner oesophageal tissue is not designed to handle the strong acidity, which inflames the region. This causes the characteristic heartburn sensation. The term ‘heartburn’ came about due to the position of the oesophagus which lies just behind the heart.
Upon eating, food naturally passes from the throat to the stomach through the oesophagus. This ‘tube’ contains a group of muscle fibres in the shape of a ring which make up the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES). These fibres prevent food from moving backward from the stomach to the oesophagus. GORD usually occurs because the ring of muscle at the bottom of the oesophagus becomes weakened.
The discomfort is usually worse after eating, or when bending over or lying down.
Other GORD symptoms sometimes experienced include a sore, inflamed oesophagus (oesophagitis), bad breath, bloating and belching, feeling or being sick, difficulty swallowing (which may feel like a piece of food is stuck low down in your throat), pain when swallowing, a sore throat and hoarseness, a persistent cough or wheezing, which may be worse at night, tooth decay and gum disease. GORD can often be controlled with self-help measures and medication. Occasionally, surgery to correct the problem may be needed.
The condition occurs when gastric acids produced by the stomach to aid digestion begin to flow back up from the stomach, this happens when the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES), which normally tightens and closes to prevent the backing up of acid, behaves differently and instead relaxes between swallows.
If left untreated, acid reflux can damage the cells of the oesophagus which can lead to cancer of the oesophagus. According to a 2013 report by Helen Briggs for BBC Health News, figures from 2010 showed that 5,600 UK men (almost 15 out of every 100,000) developed the disease in 2010, compared with 2,800 UK women (about 5 out of every 100,000).
Although GORD can affect anyone, there are certain factors which can increase the risk of acid reflux including obesity which places increased pressure on the stomach and as a result can weaken the muscles at the bottom of the oesophagus. Eating large amounts of fatty foods can also cause GORD since the stomach takes longer to get rid of stomach acid after digesting a fatty meal. The resulting excess acid may leak up into the oesophagus. Smoking, alcohol, coffee, chocolate and stress can also be triggers, so cut down, quit and relax!
Some medical conditions such as a hiatus hernia (when part of your stomach pushes up through your diaphragm) and gastroparesis (when the stomach takes longer to get rid of stomach acid) can also cause acid reflux, as can certain medicines including calcium-channel blockers (used to treat high blood pressure), nitrates (used to treat angina) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
What To Avoid
If you suffer from acid reflux you will most likely know many of the triggers for you, although there are a few common foods that acid reflux sufferers should try to avoid.
- High Fat Foods – these include processed foods, meats, grains and dairy foods. These can cause the LES to relax and worsen symptoms.
- Spicy Foods – whilst these may not affect everyone it is often worth cutting spicy foods out of your diet if you are suffering from GORD symptoms. You can then try reintroducing them back into your diet whilst keeping a food diary. Spicy food can also include garlic and onions.
- Chocolate – the methylxanthines in chocolate are known to relax the muscles in your LES and increase acid reflux symptoms.
- Mint is widely known to inflame heartburn and indigestion so it’s advised that you avoid it.
- Alcohol – the NHS recommends that you drink in moderation but especially when suffering from GORD as alcohol can have a strong effect on indigestion, heartburn and acid reflux.
- Caffeine – too much caffeine can affect your circadian rhythm and in turn raise your stress levels. Stress is often a key factor of Acid Reflux and other GORD symptoms. Consider taking up meditation, rebounding, yoga, pilates, gardening or a sport.
- Citrus Fruit & tomatoes
Whilst we are huge advocates of natures finests we would recommend reducing or even removing some of the following fruits from your diet if suffering from acid reflux.
- Late night eating
Clinical research has shown that eating your evening meal earlier may reduce gastric acidity. It is advised by the NHS that you stop eating 3-4 hours before going to sleep as your stomach acids are still active.
What To Include
- HCI (Hydrochloric Acid)
HCl has been found to relieve the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD/GERD) with remarkable efficiency. Supplements of HCl include digestive enzymes like pepsin to augment the digestive processes. However, it is important these supplements are taken under the advice of a therapist as an excess of HCl can lead to gastric irritation. Natural supplements made with ingredients such as ellagic acid (from raspberries and pomegranates) can also provide soothing relief for occasional heartburn.
- Alkaline Foods – an alkaline diet rich in phytonutrient dense vegetables and clean protein sources will help to provide anti-inflammatory support. Consider juicing celery, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, cucumber and, if you have the ‘taste buds’ for it, bitter gourd or bitter melon.
- Digestive Enzymes – supporting your digestive process with digestive enzymes and probiotics are particularly helpful at enhancing the digestive process, and for some taking a digestive enzyme before a meal maybe all the support they need. Juice Master do their own Digestive Enzymes which can be found here.
- Aloe vera is known for its soothing properties which may help to calm the stomach lining.
- Carrots have a calming influence on the digestive system.
- Fennel is not only great for supporting digestion, it also has antiseptic properties.
- Ginger – adding ‘bite’ to your juices, this wonderful herb has anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger tea can also be beneficial to supporting the digestive system and this can easily be made by infusing some fresh ginger in warm water and sipping on it. Click here for more benefits of ginger.
- Healthy Fats – good sources include coconut products, avocados, olive oil and omega-3 oil supplements. Avocado, banana and papaya (which is rich in the digestive enzyme papain) are super to blend into your juices and support your digestive system, as they provide a creamy, soothing blend for the sensitive surfaces of the intestinal tract.
- Herbs – anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric, cinnamon, oregano and garlic are all powerful aids. It’s advisable to avoid mints.
- Wheatgrass should be used regularly to provide an abundance of critical trace minerals. Available dehydrated as a supplement powder or frozen.
The Juice Recipes
Digestive Aid (from Super Juice Me 28-Day plan)
x2 Large Carrots
x1 Stick of Celery
3cm Fresh Fennel
How To Make:
Simply juice the lot and pour into a blender with the ice or add to a glass with the ice.
Please note, it is impossible to give a definitive list as what supports one person can be a trigger food or allergen for another. You must stay your own juice detective at all times and listen to how your own body responds to certain foods and always consult with your healthcare provider when making changes to your diet which may affect your medication. Please be aware that we are not doctors, so it is important to consult with your GP or medical practitioner BEFORE making any changes to your diet. The suggestions above are not meant as an alternative to any current medical treatment so please DO NOT stop taking any medications you are on. They are also not an endorsement of their effectiveness, or a recommendation that they should be followed but instead, are provided for informational purposes. None of the information on the Natural Juice Therapy site is intended or implied to treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease.