Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux

Acid in the stomach is a necessity; it’s the acid that breaks down food.  The problem of ‘acid stomach’ occurs when the sphincter (a muscle that seals the stomach from the oesophagus (gullet) and opens to allow food to enter the stomach) opens slightly and allows some of the acid from the stomach to enter the oesophagus, this causes heartburn and the feeling of ‘acid stomach’.  Research hasn’t defined a reason why this happens, other than to say that it is common, although some individuals are more susceptible to the symptoms than others.

It can’t be cured (as far as I know) but can be alleviated by a change in the way someone eats.  Small meals and often are much better than big meals and eating say once or twice a day, and definitely avoid eating late at night.  Smoking causes the sphincter leading to the stomach to weaken, so avoid or stop smoking.  Certain foods are best avoided, although it is different for each individual and the tenet try it and see always applies.  Avoid peppermint, tomatoes, chocolate, coffee, alcohol and food or drink that’s too hot.   Spicy food can be a problem in some, again try it and see is the best way.  It’s also best to avoid processed or pre-prepared food as its full of toxins and additives which don’t pass through the gut as food should, they sit in any corner they can find and wait until they’re an army and then start to cause trouble. L

Eat lean meat, chicken and fish, vegetables and fruit in abundance, especially green vegetables.  Again don’t fry, steamed is the best way of cooking.  Wholemeal bread, pasta and rice are high in fibre and are an aid to a healthy digestion.  It’s all about getting food in, getting it dealt with and sending it where it has to go to keep the body running, this is the purpose of the digestive system.

Its best not to eat for the hour before bedtime, as the body shuts down and prepares for sleep, any food left in the gut remains there until waking up, which is not the best thing when trying to avoid the pain of acid stomach.

Herbs useful in alleviating acid reflux are –

Mint (not peppermint)

Slippery Elm

Steamed cabbage


Aloe vera


Amounts aren’t important; a mint infusion can be taken anytime.

Slippery elm is the best herb of all for the digestive system, don’t buy tablets as they have additives, usually sugar.  Buy powdered slippery elm (Slippery Elm Powder) and make it into a drink, it will tell you on the packet how to do this and how often to take it.

Steamed cabbage, best source of Vitamin B1, which the body needs but doesn’t store, but it also helps with inflammation of the digestive system.

Ginger is an excellent stomach herb, it can be eaten in cakes, biscuits or try eating dried crystallised ginger.  Avoid ginger supplements like the plague, they are full of additives.

Aloe vera juice, the gel from aloe vera leaves is known for soothing a sunburn – but what about a heartburn? Some people take aloe vera internally to reduce stomach acid and calm irritation. However, there's no research to indicate that aloe vera helps heartburn, but, it’s worth a try as it seems to be popular with many people.

Bananas are a low acid fruit which can help with acid reflux by coating an irritated oesophagus lining, and helping to combat discomfort.  Bananas are also high in fibre and in phosphorous which is a mineral the body needs.