How many of you have Zantac, Tums, Nexium, Pepcid, Prevacid, Prilosec, and other acid reducers in your arsenal? It was not until I was in my 50’s that I started to get heartburn and indigestion.
Even Red wine and the darkest of chocolate gave me indigestion. So what did I do? Perhaps like you I tried all of the aforementioned before settling on my favorite – fast acting Zantac and I stored them everywhere. In my purse, the console of my car, my commuter bag my night stand, my medicine cabinet and my desk at work. If I was going out for a cocktail and/or dinner after work I automatically popped my Zantac and was ready to go because I knew certain foods were going to give me acid indigestion. I knew based on painful personal experience that certain foods and beverages were acidic and were not agreeing with me.
Little did I know and what I have learned my research acid indigestion is not due to too much acid in the stomach, it is due to a lack of adequate stomach acid! YES, that’s right. My food and drink was not digesting properly because I did not have enough acid in my stomach. Sounds backwards, right? Turns out it’s not.
Half of the American population over 50 lacks the appropriate amount of stomach acid to fully digest their food. One of the many things I have learned is to ditch the antacids because they cause more harm than good. In 2010 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated ”they’ve been shown to increase the risk of infection, bone fractures and dementia”. Long term use of Acid blockers also inhibit nutrient absorption, promote bacterial overgrowth, reduce resistance to infection and increase the risk of cancer and other serious diseases.
So what can we safely and naturally do to increase our stomach acid? Well, for starters we need to balance the PH in our stomach. And what is the best way to do that? Eat high alkaline foods including:
- All Vegetables -especially leafy greens and root vegetables
- Manuka Honey
- Chamomile Tea
- Coconut Milk
- Grass fed organ meat
- Slow down when eating meals. Chew, chew, and chew some more – at least 10-20 times. Now this is going to keep you at the table longer and with all this chewing you are going to in fact eat less. When we chew our food we release the enzymes in our saliva, which aids in good digestion of our food.
It takes a while to build up the systems alkalinity. Two natural and safe remedies that my family and others have used for generations; Baking soda (do not use the baking soda that you use to keep your refrigerator fresh) and water and Apple Cider Vinegar and water.
- Combine half a teaspoon of baking soda to a half a cup of room temperature water and drink it when acid strikes or an hour before, after, or when indigestion strikes.
- Put a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar with equal part water in a shot glass and throw it back when you have indigestion.
Sources: Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Josh Axe, Paul C. Bragg N.D., Ph.D., Patricia Bragg N.D., Ph.D.