Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dare You to Stop Drinking Coffee and Possibly Eliminate Acid Reflux

Oh-no, there it is, that all-too-familiar slow burn coming up into the throat. Where the heck is the fire extinguisher when you need it? Wasn’t that little pill supposed to do the job and eliminate that flame?   Oopsies (as Mayhem would say), it’s not working!

Are you one of those people who is all too familiar with the slow burn invading your throat? Do you suffer from acid reflux disease or acid indigestion? Are you an avid coffee drinker? If so, you may want to give up the java juice. I know…I know…that’s a fate worse than death, right? Oh come on, it will only hurt for a little while, and might just remove the bigger hurt permanently!

I myself was having quite a few problems with acid reflux while still taking Prilosec (omeprazole). Feeling a bit desperate I thought, well, coffee is kind of bitter and hard on the digestive system so I’ll give it up and see what happens.

Voila!  It’s now been three weeks and for the most part all my acid reflux/acid indigestion is GONE! Sure I’m missing my beloved coffee, but I’d rather feel good than have my coffee fix. The pain of the acid reflux was more than the pleasure I got from my java. Plus now I’m drinking healthy organic teas, and I’ve got to say, it’s been kind of fun discovering new and flavorful teas. I only drink decaffeinated though, since caffeine also triggers acid problems.

There are several food and drink items considered “triggers” for acid reflux. And while coffee is one of them, medical research has determined that coffee does not actually cause acid reflux. In other words, if you don’t already have acid reflux, then it will not cause the condition. It only affects those that have the condition, causing it to flair up more, and caffeine, specifically, is known to be a trigger for those prone to heartburn.

Coffee isn’t the only culprit though—here is a list of other trigger foods that inflict the flame and the pain:

Juices: orange, lemon, lemonade, grapefruit, cranberry, and tomato
Vegetables: french fries, raw onions
Meats:  ground beef, marbled sirloin, chicken nuggets, buffalo wings
Dairy: sour cream, milk shakes, ice cream, cottage cheese
Grains: macaroni and cheese, spaghetti with sauce
Drinks: liquor, wine, coffee, decaffeinated regular tea (like Lipton)
Fats/Oils: creamy salad dressing, oil & vinegar
Sweets: butter cookies, brownies, chocolate, doughnuts
Snacks: corn chips, potato chips

If any foods on that list cause consistent heartburn for you, then try giving them up and see what happens. Plus you can use a second line of defense by taking papaya enzyme tablets. There are quite a few good ones out there, but American Health puts out Super Papaya Enzymes Plus, which is very effective and totally good for you. Look for them at your local health food store or online.

Needless to say, the more God-food (food in its most pure form) you eat, the more balanced your stomach will be. And the more man-made foods you eat, the more apt you are to have indigestion and acid problems.  So the closer you can get to eating whole foods, the closer you’ll get to having good digestive health. Two easy rules: buy most of your foods from the outer perimeter of the grocery store (not the inner isles) and the fewer ingredients a product has (look at the label), the better.

GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is so prevalent that it is estimated that nearly half of all adults have it. And while many a case of GERD can be aggravated by foods, it is not just food that can kick it into gear. If you have a hiatal hernia that too can cause a host of digestive symptoms, acid reflux being one of them. You can find out more about that at Joyful Living Services , where Stephen H. Horne has written an excellent and informative article highlighting causes, symptoms, and ways to correct.

If you don’t have time to read that article, here are two very important pieces of information. One, find a chiropractor that knows how to adjust a hiatal hernia, and two, use the herb slippery elm to help absorb the digestive secretions and prevent their traveling back up the esophagus and burning it. 

But let’s revisit the topic of food again…our bodies want fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, dairy, and water. What we actually feed them is mostly man-engineered foods. Food (and I use the term loosely) that would stay “fresh” in the can, box, or bag for months and even years. Our temples are screaming for authentic and real FRESH FOOD…food that would rot quickly if left in the air and off the vine!

I’m sure there are probably more things that factor into acid indigestion, but one of the heavy-hitters is food, so the more whole food you can have in your diet the better. My rule-of-thumb is to eat 80% healthy food and 20% non-healthy food.

Education combined with action will cause you to find the solution to your personal digestive health, and natural cures are always optimum; so if the above suggestions don’t turn the key, here are some other resources listed below.

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