After speaking to and instructing a customer on some natural remedies for GERD, I realized that this is a question I get with some frequency. With the American diet full of processed foods, fats and oils, sodium, and sugars, it’s no wonder this has become an increasingly popular problem. GERD, or Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This sphincter opens up into the stomach, allowing food to pass through. Those dealing with GERD have a LES that is weak or reacts (relaxes) when it should not, allowing food to flow backward up from the stomach back into your esophagus. The pain felt from this malfunction is that of food and the acids of the stomach working their way back up.
Those with serious pains and conditions should always consult with their doctor on the best way to treat your particular condition. There are many ways to combat the issues of GERD with diet and lifestyle choices. The customer I spoke of earlier, I instructed her first to start taking a probiotic supplement as well as a digestive enzyme supplement. Probiotics are the healthy, helpful bacteria that live in your digestive system. These help to maintain overall health and function of the digestive tract. The digestive enzymes, you would take prior to or just after eating, are helpful to break down the foods you are currently trying to eat and enjoy. These will give your body a little more aid in the digestion process, allowing your body to do it’s job and get as much nutrients out of your food.
Herbal teas can help alleviate symptoms of GERD and help with digestion as well. Ginger, Mint, Chickweed, and Marshmallow are just a few herbs that help to calm, soothe, and aid the digestive tract. Anti-inflammatory aids will also help with GERD and proper digestion. Many issues and symptoms, while not necessarily being caused by, will be negatively affected by inflammation. These herbal remedies are also available in supplement, pill or tablet form. However personally, I prefer herbal teas. I’ve always been a tea drinker, and doing so for medicinal purposes allows (or forces you) to take a moment, relax and enjoy your medicine.
Working these remedies into your diet should help alleviate some pain and symptoms from GERD. However, a more serious diet change away from processed foods high in fat and sugar will also help immensely. A whole food based diet, with plenty of raw, fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kombucha will also help to combat GERD. Listen to your body. Your body will tell you what it likes, doesn’t like, and will not tolerate. If GERD is a chronic issue for you, start weeding out the foods that cause it the most and replace them with healthy, beneficial alternatives. Diet changes are tough, but you and your body will know that it’s worth it.
Written by CB