How do You Spell Relief?

How do you spell relief? Many people would respond by singing their answer, "R-O-L-A-I-D-S" to the tune of the famous 1970's advertising slogan which sold Rolaids, a popular antacid tablet. But, as you can see in the illustration above the best way to fight acid indigestion is to only eat in the blue zones. 

Taking antacids don't need to be part of your normal routine however, as Dr. John McDougall explains in his article, My Stomach's on Fire and I Can't Put It OutHe says there are two general reasons which cause acid reflux. "The first is due to actual structural damage of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) caused by years of an unhealthy diet with resulting constipation. Second, many of the foods and beverages we consume cause this sphincter to transiently relax permitting the reflux of acid." Furthermore, "Animal protein in foods is a powerful stimulant for acid overproduction. Therefore, not surprisingly, indigestion is a very common problem for people eating the Western diet."

Complications from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) can range from minor heartburn to ulcers, cancer, erosion of the teeth, and asthma. Asthmatics in particular have a high rate of GERD.  (Between 34% and 89% and 75% of children with asthma have GERD.)  Dr. McDougall states, "Their asthma is worsened by meals and when lying down, or sleeping. Treatment with a healthy diet that reduces the chances of reflux, raising the head of the bed by four to six inches, and as a last resort, antacids, will relieve asthma and many other breathing problems, and reduce the need for asthma medications." This is good news for those patients with asthma! 

Other factors as well can temporarily relax the LES and aggravate GERD such as overeating, and consuming chocolate, peppermint, onions, coffee, decaffeinated coffee, large fatty meals, mints, and alcohol. For some people, raw vegetables (instead of cooked) like onions, green peppers, cucumbers and radishes can also be troublesome.

There are many over-the-counter products as well as prescription medications available to treat GERD, however, these products come with potential risks. They are capable of causing "mental changes, increased estrogen activity which can cause enlarged breasts in men, and changes in the metabolism of other medications." There is also concern regarding the association between stomach cancer and long-term use of antacid medications. These drugs should be used only as a last result. 

If you suffer from GERD, you will see dramatic results after removing the acid-producing animal products from your diet and adopting a low-fat, high-fiber, starch-based, plant food diet. Many patients see improvements within days and almost all are able to discontinue their medications when using this diet and lifestyle approach. 

Click on the articles below for additional information regarding asthma and/or GERD:

(1) Better Breathing from Diet

(2) Say Goodbye to Acid Reflux!

(3) Childhood Diet Linked to Asthma

(4) Antacids Promote Hip Fractures (Scroll down to the third article on the page)