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Your mindless snacking can give you acidity. A gastroenterologist explains how

Updated on:19 October 2020, 16:41pm IST
Instead of reaching out for antacids to deal with heartburn and acid reflux, it’s time to understand the causes of acidity. Mindless eating happens to be one of them.
Dr Ruchit Patel
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Causes of acidity
Your snacking habits can open the door for acidity. Image courtesy: Unsplash

Do you tend to binge eat or keep munching on your favourite snack, mindlessly? Then, you are opening the door for acidity. Yes, you heard it right! 

Binge eating basically means a lack of control over eating—you may feel that you can’t stop eating or control how much you’re eating. You may also eat much more rapidly than normal and until feeling you’re uncomfortably full. You might end up consuming large amounts of food even though you are not feeling physically hungry. And all of this can lead to acid reflux.

Acid reflux occurs when your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) doesn’t work correctly. The LES can be described as a ring of muscles between the stomach and the esophagus. During the normal digestion process, it tends to open up to let food pass into the stomach, and closes to keep stomach acid out of the esophagus. 

If the LES is weak or relaxes, then acid can flow back into the esophagus causing irritation. When acid makes its way into your esophagus, the cell lining becomes irritated and painful. 

Some symptoms of acid reflux include: heartburn, abdominal pain, sore throat, bloating, upset stomach, nausea, difficulty in swallowing, and an acidic taste in the back of the throat. 

Mindful eating is a great way to control acidity

If acidity has become a part and parcel of your life and you feel your binging habits are to blame, then take note of these tips: 

1. Eat only to satisfy your hunger and not your greed

Incorporate fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains on your plate. Drink plenty of water to beat your cravings. Eat fibre-rich foods such as beans, pulses, and nuts that can help you curb your appetite.

Causes of acidity
It’s time to chomp on fibre blindly for your gut. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
2. Avoid eating out of boredom or loneliness

Write down about the foods you eat and how you feel at the time you are eating them. Make note of your emotional triggers, so that you can decipher when you tend to binge. Do not buy or store junk food at home.

3. Sleep and wake on time

Sleeping and waking up on a regular time helps to build a better control over your emotions and thus helps to control your urges to eat. Moreover, sleep tends to impact hunger levels and appetite. In fact, insufficient sleep can be tied to binge eating.

So, if you find it difficult to get into slumberland then you must stay away from things that steal your sleep (like watching TV before sleeping, using electronic gadgets, or drinking caffeinated beverages).

4. Stay physically active

Exercise on the daily basis. Opt for swimming, dancing, yoga, running, aerobics or jogging or any other activity that you like.

Causes of acidity
Pump up your gut by following an active routine. Image courtesy: Shuttersock
5. Plan your meals

And make sure you incorporate healthy ingredients in your diet. Pay attention to your portion size and avoid going overboard. Try to stick to a healthy meal pattern. This will enhance your eating habits and diet.

6. Avoid laying down soon after eating

Don’t eat before hitting the sack. Especially at night, do not overeat, avoid mints, and eat a small meal. Also avoid eating, late at night.

Dr Ruchit Patel Dr Ruchit Patel

Dr Ruchit Patel is a consultant gastroenterologist at Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai.