Are you tired of dealing with the discomfort of acid reflux? Look no further than the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda. “Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a condition characterized by the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus. While there are various treatment options available, including medication, lifestyle modifications, and dietary changes, Ayurveda offers a holistic approach to managing acid reflux. An Ayurvedic diet for acid reflux focuses on nourishing the body, soothing digestive discomforts, and balancing the doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) within the body,” says Dr Geethi Varma, Consultant and Advisor, LYEF Wellness, MHsc Clinical Child Development, Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS). (Also read: Struggling with digestive issues? Try these simple morning habits for healthier gut )
She added, “Acid reflux can be attributed to an imbalance in the pitta dosha. Pitta dosha is associated with the fire and water elements and governs metabolism, digestion, and transformation in the body. When pitta dosha becomes aggravated or imbalanced, it can lead to excess heat, acidity, and inflammation in the digestive system, which can contribute to acid reflux.”
Ayurvedic Diet for Acid Reflux Relief
Dr Geethi Varma further shared with HT Lifestyle, some principles and dietary recommendations to consider for digestive discomforts.
1. General guidelines:
- Eat meals in a calm and relaxed environment, chewing your food thoroughly.
- Avoid overeating and eating too quickly, as it can put extra pressure on the digestive system.
- Establish a regular eating routine with fixed meal times.
- Eating excessively spicy and oily foods can lead to acid reflux
- Skipping meals can lead to acid reflux
- Avoid eating heavy meals late at night.
2. Dietary recommendations:
- Opt for a predominantly plant-based diet with fresh, whole foods.
- Favour cooked and warm foods over raw and cold foods, as they are easier to digest.
- Include a variety of grains such as basmati rice, quinoa, and barley.
- Consume a moderate amount of healthy fats like ghee (clarified butter), coconut oil, and olive oil.
- Include easily digestible proteins like mung beans, lentils, and tofu.
- Cook with digestive spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger, and fenugreek.
- Limit or avoid spicy, fried, and processed foods, as they can aggravate acid reflux symptoms.
- Milk can be a very good option for those who don’t have lactose intolerance
- Minimize the intake of caffeine, alcohol, carbonated beverages, and acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits.
- Stay hydrated by consuming warm water throughout the day but avoid drinking large quantities of water when hungry
3. Herbal remedies:
- Aloe vera juice: Drink a small amount of pure aloe vera juice before meals to soothe the digestive tract.
- Licorice tea: Sip on licorice tea, as it may help reduce inflammation in the esophagus.
- Chamomile tea: Enjoy a cup of chamomile tea, known for its calming and soothing properties.
4. Eating habits and lifestyle:
- Avoid lying down immediately after meals. Allow at least two to three hours before lying down or going to bed.
- Practice stress management techniques like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises.
- Engage in regular physical activity to support healthy digestion.
- Consider incorporating Ayurvedic practices like self-massage (abhyanga) and gentle yoga poses that aid digestion.
“While following an Ayurvedic diet can be beneficial for acid reflux relief, it’s essential to consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner for a personalized approach based on your individual constitution and specific health needs. They can provide tailored recommendations and guidance to address your acid reflux symptoms effectively,” concludes Dr Geethi Varma.