There are a lot of things in our environment which can bring about stress, but one of the biggest seems to be the latest health crisis. The latest fad is “low carb” diets to handle the “obesity” problem in this country. (They haven’t thought of it as being brought on by fast foods and food with no nutrition, but that’s another article and actually has to do with insulin resistance.)
All this stress is sending lots of people to the drug store to calm our nervous stomachs. And what do we usually reach for? That old standby — an over-the-counter antacid. Advertising claims would lead you to believe that any antacid, you know their names, is harmless enough. Did you know that taking an antacid actually can make your stomach problems worse? Stomach acid is a “A Good Thing”
A good thing?
Proper digestion takes place as a series of functions, all of which depend on the presence of adequate stomach acid while you are eating. When you take antacids — or even worse, the “more effective” prescription variety – you’re cutting down or even eliminating the acid you need at mealtimes. Without it, your stomach can’t adequately break down food into its nutrient components. What’s more inadequate digestion of proteins encourages the liver to increase production of LDL cholesterol — the kind of cholesterol that does the most damage to your body.
An all-too-common result of taking antacids on a regular daily basis is an increase in cholesterol, which is then often treated with yet another drug to lower cholesterol levels. Not a roller coaster ride you want to be on.
If you stop taking antacids as a favor to your liver, what do you do about your sour stomach?
How do you prevent the “acid stomach”?
There may be different reasons for the “acid stomach”.
You have to always chew your food thoroughly. Introducing saliva into the food as you chew will get the digestion process off to a good start, don’t drink very much liquid while eating a meal. More than a few sips of fluid will dilute the acid in the stomach. Also try to limit fluids for 30 minutes before you eat and for an hour afterward. A rule on this, One fluid ounce of water for every two ounces by weight of solid food.
Don’t overeat. Leave that extra little bit of room for dessert, and then don’t eat dessert because you should eliminate from your diet foods that have refined sugars, such as desserts. Sugars tend to destabilize the stomach, decreasing deficiency of digestion and nutritional value and creating gas.
Avoid caffeine and fried foods. Caffeine stops starch digestion and can impair acid production with meals. Fried foods create gastrointestinal inflammation and speed the aging process.
If you still suffer from a sour stomach between meals, put something in it that will quiet it without triggering more acid production.
One suggestion is — sauerkraut. In Europe, you can even buy sauerkraut juice for this. Five or ten minutes after eating sauerkraut, you stomach will relax. The enzymes released during the fermentation of the cabbage as it turns into sauerkraut actually help break down and neutralize the inflammatory components of a sour stomach.
There are also some herbal products that soothe and normalize the stomach without suppressing acid production.
When Problems Don’t Resolve
Occasionally, a more severe stomach problem causes between-meal acid production. This can be caused by vaginal or oral thrush – a yeast organism. This can be avoided by following the steps to maintain adequate stomach acid levels.
When it comes to acid indigestion, don’t let the cure be worse than the disease. Healthy eating habits and a strategy to work with the body’s natural digestive function will go a long way in calming that grumbling pain.
Then again, if the antacids aren’t working… it might be that you don’t have enough acid.
See: Reflux & GERD
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