Can folk remedies like apples, yogurt and honey treat acid reflux? If you suffer from this medical condition, there is a great chance that you have stumbled upon an article or two that recommended apples, yogurt and honey as means to achieve relief from heartburn. You have possibly wondered about the authenticity of this recommendation. In this article, a certified nutritionist and former acid reflux sufferer discusses the potential effectiveness of the above remedies in curing your acid reflux.
Acid reflux, also known as gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) has two main contributing factors: extra acidity in the stomach and the weakening of the muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) - a bundle of circular muscle at the lower esophagus. Normally, this muscle relaxes only when food passes from the esophagus into the stomach; after the food passes, the LES closes off, keeping the gastric juices and acid in the stomach. However, among chronic acid reflux patients the LES is weakened and therefore doesn't close properly, allowing acid to reflux into the esophagus, burning its lining.
The painful burning sensation caused by the refluxed acid is called heartburn. Heartburn may be accompanied by regurgitation of gastric contents into the mouth or the respiratory tree. Other typical GERD symptoms include hoarseness, nocturnal wheezing, nausea and vomiting and the sensation of deep pressure at the base of the neck. Patients with severe cases of gastro esophageal reflux disease may also experience a feeling of esophageal stricture and dysphagia (a difficulty to swallow).
All types of nutritional acid reflux treatments are aimed at achieving 4 main goals: bringing the main GERD symptoms under control; healing the esophagus of inflammation; reducing the extra acidity in the stomach; and preventing the physical processes that contribute to the relaxation of the LES. While there is a significant shortage in scientific evidence that can support the theory that apples, yogurt and honey can treat acid reflux, there is some rational reason for supposing their use for treating this condition.
a) Because apples are very acidic (apples are alkaline forming but also have high acid content) and their consumption triggers the mouth to produce more saliva, it will hinder acid production in the stomach. While this has not been scientifically tested or proven, many acid reflux patients swear by the effectiveness of red delicious apples to relieve heartburn symptoms, especially if consumed before bed.
b) Many gastro esophageal reflux disease sufferers report that daily consumption of sugar free probiotic yogurt helps them relieve their GERD symptoms, and heartburn in particular. The logic behind this is that yogurt has a soothing effect on the inflamed esophagus; it helps digestion and also has probiotic bacteria that keep the bad bacteria including fungi and parasites under control. Keep in mind that organic yogurt made of ship or goat's milk is the easiest to digest and is not considered allergenic as cow milk's products and thus is preferred over other types of yogurt.
c) There are many GERD sufferers who recommend eating one teaspoon of raw honey after a meal. The possible explanation for the positive effect of honey on acid reflux symptoms is that unheated raw honey has certain antioxidant and antibacterial properties, thus helps relieve the inflammation in the esophagus.
Note that while home remedies can bring your acid reflux symptoms under control, it is only the first step and only a small part of the heartburn treat puzzle. The only way to permanently treat and prevent gastro esophageal reflux disease and heartburn symptoms is the holistic way, by tackling all the underlying causes, naturally and safely.