What? What do you mean more acid! I spend days and nights with heartburn. "Burn"...that means too much acid right? My stomach is riddled with acid. That’s why I’m in pain, that’s why my doctor has me on acid blockers, that’s why I feel so awful after I eat...isn’t it?
OK, let’s get real. First, let’s talk a little bit about digestion in general. Proper digestion is FUNDAMENTAL to good health. Every cell of every organ of every system in your body requires the nutrients it gleans from the proper digestion of your food to function at its optimal level. When your digestion is not working right...for example, that raging case of heart burn you get every time you eat that double cheese and bean burrito from around the corner, you are failing to provide your body with the nutrients it so desperately needs to feel great, vital, and full of lasting energy.
So, how can knowing that help you with your acid reflux? Your digestive system has many parts and many functions. Digestion begins in your brain when you look at food, smell food and begin to salivate. When you take your first bite your body is already hard at work breaking down your food into little bits so that you can digest it more efficiently as it travels down the digestive path. Once your food hits your
stomach, it’s the acid there that begins to break down proteins and more thoroughly digest your food for entry into your small intestine where 90% of your nutrients are assimilated and begin to be used to help your body to function.
But wait...what if something is not quite right with that stomach acid...what then? What if, instead of having too much acid in your stomach...your stomach is not acidic enough? OK...now we’re getting real. Your stomach acid enters your stomach at a barn burning .8 on the pH scale (almost pure acid). In order to properly digest your food, your stomach acid needs to be at , a still very acidic, 1.3—3.0 pH in order to properly digest the food that enters it. But what happens when a poor diet causes your stomach acid to be, well, not acid enough? For starters, you won’t properly digest the proteins and foods you have most recently eaten. The proper pH is not only necessary for this, but also critical to send a message to the small intestine that the food is ready to move through the rest of the digestive system.
If the pH isn’t correct, the body simply puts up a big red flag and leaves your food right there in your stomach waiting and waiting and waiting for the proper pH to move into the small intestine. So, what happens during all of that waiting? The proteins begin to putrefy, the fats begin to rancidify, and the
carbs ferment. This causes all kinds of gas, bloating, and pressure.. All of that pressure needs to go somewhere...so, it heads back up the way it came...causing acid reflux. Even though that stomach acid is not acidic enough to properly digest your food...it is certainly acidic enough to cause a burning sensation in your esophagus. Acid reflux. Now, what do we do??? We take acid blockers, we take Tums, we take Tagament. What does that do???
It further alkalinizes the stomach acid making it even less acidic. Sure, you don’t feel that burning anymore...that’s because your acid is not strong enough to do the job anymore. Oh boy, are you in for a vicious cycle of issues with recurring acid reflux now. 90% of the population has low stomach acid from a poor diet, stressful lifestyle, and the use of over-the-counter medications for acid reflux. So, what can you do about it? A lot... let’s get real!!!
Wanna curb your need for those cherry flavored Tums and pink Pepto? Try some of these simple 180 guidelines:
Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
One of the easiest and best ways to begin to balance your digestive system is to take the time to chew your food. Really...it’s true! Remember, your stomach doesn’t have teeth. So, the larger the particles of food that you swallow, the harder your stomach will have to work to break that food down into digestible units. With already compromised stomach acid...you’re having enough trouble as it is. Chew your food 20 to 30 times before swallowing. Try putting your fork down in between bites. The rule of thumb is drink your food and chew your liquids. Yep! Even easy to swallow food like smoothies and fruit should go through the chewing motion to prepare it for digestion. This easy little tip can save you lots of trouble down the road. Chew, chew, chew.
Take time to smell the roast beef.
Yep, that’s all you need to do...just stop, sit down, take a deep breath, and relax. In this fast paced, drive-through, eat-on-the-run society it’s no wonder that acid reflux and other digestive issues are epidemic across the country. Our body can only digest food when it is in what’s called a parasympathetic state. What does that mean? Your body’s parasympathetic system of nerves is concerned with nourishing, healing and regenerating your body. It is concerned with rebuilding the body and its nerves stimulate digestion, and the immune and eliminative organs. When you are in a parasympathetic, or relaxed and happy, state your body is able to properly digest your food. It is essential for balance and healing,
restoration and rejuvenation. So, kick back. Relax when you eat. Light a candle, say a prayer, let the worries of your day vanish and concentrate on the beautiful food in front of you.
Drop some acid.
No, not like that! A little extra stomach acid. Believe it or not, people who suffer from acid reflux often get relief by trading their antacids for Hydrochloric Acid tablets and taking them with every meal. By increasing the pH of the acid in your stomach you’re giving it the proper tools to do the job right. When your food begins to digest properly, it doesn’t stay in your stomach putrefying and fermenting and causing all kinds of trouble. Combine this with choosing healthy meats, good fats, and green leafy carbs and your digestive system is on its way to healing and nourishing your body perfectly. After awhile, your stomach will be back to producing stomach acid properly on its own and you can ditch the HCL
A nutritional therapist might be the answer for you. Nutritional therapists use a series of simple assessments to identify imbalances in the body. These imbalances are corrected through diet, lifestyle changes, and supplement recommendations to help your body begin to heal itself. Nutritional
therapists do not diagnose or treat disease, but work to correct imbalances with the goal of gently guiding individuals back on the path to health.