As we live in a faster paced, more stressful world, none of us are immune to the odd digestive problem, whether it be a touch of heartburn or indigestion. These usually pass and we think nothing of it. However, for some people, especially those with gastrointestinal reflux disease, their life can be misery.
The rates of gastrointestinal reflux disease or GERD is increasing each year. There are estimates that as many as 60 million people in the US suffer from some form of this chronic disease. GERD can also be called acid reflux disease and is a condition that effects two main areas of the gut, which are the lower esophageal sphincter and the esophagus.
Causes Behind GERD
Your esophagus or food tube extends from your lower throat to the entrance of your stomach. Just before the stomach, there is a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter.
This muscle opens when you are swallowing food and closes to prevent acid from your stomach backwashing into your esophagus. When this muscle stops working properly and continually allows stomach acid to escape into the esophagus, then this is the condition we call gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
The causes of GERD are complicated. The condition can be caused when the opening of esophagus becomes too relaxed. When working properly the esophagus should contract when food enters your stomach. However, in certain cases the esophagus remains open for too long enabling the stomach acid to leak out.
Another common cause is a hiatal hernia. This happens when the stomach pushes up against the esophagus and stretches it. This creates a bigger opening which cannot be closed fully, thus creating a gap. When acid escapes into the esophagus it causes a burning and nauseating sensation.
Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease Symptoms
The most common symptom is heartburn, which is the burning sensation you feel as your stomach acid flows upwards into your esophageal pipe. This can also be followed by chest pains which some people experience. GERD can also induce heavy coughing especially when lying down. It has also been known to increase the rate of asthma attacks.
Most of us can experience heartburn after a heavy meal or drinking alcohol. However, when you experience it consistently for more than 3 or 4 times a week you should go and see a doctor. In certain cases the doctor may recommend a endoscopy. This involves a small tube-like camera inserted down into your esophagus to see if any inflammation or complications have arisen.
Is Your Lifestyle Making Your GERD Worse
As GERD is a disease that causes a functional problem, most sufferers may require ongoing treatment. In serious cases this may lead to surgery such as fundoplication surgery . However, many of the symptoms that do occur can be treated without resorting to these invasive measures.
There are numerous drugs and medications ranging from H2 blockers, proton pump inhibitors and antacids that are prescribed by most doctors to their patients. These drugs can alleviate the symptoms by either reducing or neutralizing the amount of stomach acid.
However, these are only temporary respites. Rather than spending a small fortune on medication and drugs, you can experience more effective and longer lasting results by simply making lifestyle changes – changing your diet is one way. If you suffer from heartburn there are certain foods you need to avoid.
These foods tend to be the foods we enjoy the most but we know deep down they are not good for us, and especially not good for our digestion. For example, fried foods, spicy foods, chocolate, coffee and alcohol can all make the symptoms of heartburn worse.
It is no surprise that the rate of GERD can be linked to people leading increasingly sedentary lives and eating an unhealthy gastrointestinal reflux disease diet of high fat processed foods.
Processed foods contain high levels of fat, salt, chemicals and artificial additives that irritate the lining of your stomach and are also acid forming. There is no nutritional value in this food, however the majority of people are still eating this type of diet. For this reason, it is no wonder digestive disorders such as GERD and chronic heartburn are on the increase.
Treating GERD With A Natural Diet
The symptoms of GERD can in most cases be alleviated by eating a natural diet that is high in fibre. There are certain doctors who will always recommend that you change your diet to a healthier one before prescribing medication.
We know that the wrong foods can make the symptoms worse which means eating the right foods can improve and even alleviate them.
A high fibre diet includes fruit,vegetables,wholegrains, lentils and beans. Not only are these foods high in soluble fiber – which promotes digestive health – but they are also alkaline forming. This means they balance the PH acidity in your body.
Believe it or not but chewing gum is another effective way of reducing the symptoms of GERD. By chewing gum you produce more saliva which neutralizes acid. However, do not chew mint or spearmint gum as they can relax your esophagus.
Cook food lightly especially vegetables because most of the beneficial nutrients are lost at high temperatures. Now, eating raw fruit and especially vegetables is a great way for you to acquire more digestive enzymes. You need enzymes because they are essential for digesting food effectively.
One culprit for excessive stomach acid is poorly digested food. This causes the stomach to produce more acid to break it down. By doing so, it increases the occurrence of acid reflux or heartburn. Key components for efficient digestion are digestive enzymes such as amylase. They break down the food to easy absorbable molecules.
Raw vegetables and fruit are the best source of natural digestive enzymes. Ironically, they are also hard to digest. However, there is a way around this problem.
By taking a good quality dietary supplement that contains natural digestive enzymes, your stomach no longer needs to produce excessive stomach acid to break down food. The digestive enzymes will do that.
There are several digestive enzyme supplements currently on the market. However, most of these use protein based enzymes which creates a problem when they encounter pepsin. Pepsin is an enzyme that is produced in the stomach and its function is to digest anything made from protein. This results in the protein enzymes being digested!
However, one supplement containing natural enzymes found within the kiwifruit has proven to rapidly digest food. By doing so, food does not remain in your stomach causing problems. The supplement is called MX Kiwi Biotic.
Not only does MX Kiwi Biotic contain natural enzymes, it is also high in soluble fibre and contains phenolic compounds that encourage the growth of friendly bacteria in your digestive tract. Friendly bacteria are needed to avoid gut infections and help neutralize excessive acid.
If you are looking for a natural way to alleviate the symptoms of gastrointestinal reflux disease, then a good starting point would be to investigate MX Kiwi BIotic further.