A recent study shows some scary numbers regarding digestive health. Every year digestive problems are responsible for an average of 45 million of hospitalizations due to indigestion and 22 million work-less days due to chronic indigestion, according to the National Digestive Information Clearinghouse.
One of the most common problems is acid reflux disease.
Acid reflux is chronic condition where acid flow up from the stomach into the esophagus causing acid indigestion and heartburn. The esophagus normally carries food and liquid to the stomach, controlled by a muscular valve named lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
The LES sphincter is supposed to only open when food is passed downward towards the stomach. However, acid levels or a large meal may affect the LES muscle. Acid reflux is the result of the LES not working properly.
How do you know when you are having acid reflux? Most common symptoms are painful swallowing, heartburn and bitter taste in mouth. Do not confuse with an occasional indigestion, which normally happens after overeating but in most cases do not last more than 20-30 minutes.
Some beverages should be avoided if you are experiencing acid reflux, such as alcohol, citrus juices, coffee, fruit flavored sodas. Chocolate, nicotine, fried and fatty foods and peppermint should also be on your red list.
A few more tips can help you fighting acid reflux. First, eat smaller portions; too much food is not ideal for a problematic stomach. Second, eat slowly, take your time chewing food, enjoy your meal and let your digestive system know you are not in a hurry.
Finally, look for natural supplements that may improve your digestive system, such as digestive enzymes, bromelain, ginger, papaya, slippery elm and fennel.
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