Going Alkaline for Heartburn
These days, everyone seems to be on a diet of some kind, and you may have raised your eyebrow at more than a few of them. Still, sufferers of acid reflux and heartburn in Macon and Albany are constantly on the lookout for dietary advice that will help them relieve symptoms, and the elements of some of these diets may not be such a bad choice.
Because “alkaline” is the opposite of “acidic,” you may have wondered about the so-called “alkaline diet.” Proponents of the alkaline diet claim that eating alkaline foods and avoiding acidic foods can not only help you neutralize stomach acids, but even help you lose weight and prevent cancer, diabetes and arthritis as well. Though these claims may be somewhat exaggerated, there are aspects of the alkaline diet that are worthwhile for acid reflux sufferers.
What is the Alkaline Diet?
The pH measure of your body refers to how acidic or alkaline it is. pH varies between 0 and 14, with 7 considered neutral. Your body has different pH levels; to aid in digestion, your stomach has a more acidic pH level (from 1.35 to 3.5), but blood is more alkaline (7.35 to 7.45).
Though what you eat can certainly affect the amount of acid in your stomach, our bodies maintain a healthy blood pH level on their own. Because of this, claims that the alkaline diet prevents serious diseases like cancer are largely unfounded. There is some speculation that eating an alkaline diet can prevent some chronic diseases, but this may be largely because it focuses mostly on a vegetarian diet, while those who follow it may also be more likely to exercise and abstain from alcohol.
Like a vegetarian diet, the alkaline diet is not a cure-all for health problems and can even cause some of its own by restricting your intake of valuable nutrients like protein and calcium. However, some parts of the alkaline diet are undeniably healthy for acid reflux sufferers, like:
- Eating fresh fruits and vegetables. As long as you avoid highly acidic reflux triggers, these can be the backbone of any healthy diet. Studies have definitively proven that those who eat more fruits and vegetables are at a lower risk of conditions like cancer, while their high fiber content can be valuable in controlling acid reflux symptoms. Because potassium can help to neutralize acid, high-potassium foods like bananas can be especially helpful.
- Avoiding fatty meats. Fat is a common reflux trigger, and though you don’t have to avoid all meat, high-fat animal proteins like beef may be best avoided for acid reflux. Plant-based meat alternatives can be good alkaline-promoting alternatives, like nuts, whole grains, legumes and soy products.
- Avoiding processed foods. White sugar, flour and processed grains may promote acid and are discouraged on the alkaline diet—whole grains like quinoa, amaranth and millet can be much more healthful.
It’s best to be skeptical about diets that make broad claims about their health benefits, but some elements of the alkaline diet are undeniably valuable for acid reflux sufferers. Have you tried the alkaline diet for heartburn in Macon or Albany? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.