Acid in the stomach is necessary for the digestive processes. The secretion is stimulated as we eat and its quantity is based on the amount and type of food that we consume. Certain food items such as spicy food, tea, coffee, certain medicines etc., trigger higher acid secretion which is harmful for stomach lining and also impairs the general physiology. The excessive secretion of acid is known as hyperacidity (dyspepsia). In general term it is addressed as “acidity”.
The higher secretion of acid as per Ayurveda is determined by the constitution (prakriti) of an individual. This is known as Pitta Prakriti or amla pitta. This is considered as the fire element of life. It helps maintain the delicate balance between the good health and the ailment derived from food; food gives energy (heat: Agni) through its digestion.
This impairment in the food digestion results in the imbalance of Agni and causes variety of ailments. The first sign is the acidity, formation of gas, stomach discomfort, lethargy, inability to concentrate, nausea and vomiting.
Ayurveda describes this condition as aggravation of pitta or pitta dosha due to excessive intake of pungent and sour food items, alcohol, and salty, spicy, acrid food stuff leading to burning sensations. Ayurveda also recommends controlling one’s anger, extreme emotions, intake of dry food stuff, and irregularity in daily routines as all these are known to affect the fire element in our physiological functions.
Simple tips from our ancient knowledge to minimise the causes of acidity and improve health are:
- Never overeat
- Eat in small portions
- Avoid artificial food stuff; freshly cooked warm meals recommended.
- Sip warm water during the day
- Avoid excessive consumption of tea, coffee, alcohol.
- Do not smoke; it imbalances the fire element in our body.
- Avoid excessive intake of sweets, candies, food rich in carbohydrates
- Take milk regularly; people can find it difficult in the beginning, but should begin with small portions.
- Early to bed, early to rise and light exercises will reduce and eliminate acidity
- Coconut water is very useful to reduce symptoms of severe acidity.
- Ayurvedic preparations such as avipittakarak churna are recommended to relieve the symptoms of acidity.
- Chewing clove, fennel, and cardamom after meals aids digestion and improves the acidity symptoms.
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