Acid reflux is a condition that causes stomach acids and undigested foods to back up into the esophagus, causing burning pain in the lower chest accompanied by bloating, belching, coughing, snoring and other painful symptoms that effect digestion. Conventional treatment includes a variety of drugs, both over-the-counter and prescription; however, there are numerous alternative methods for treating and preventing acid reflux. These treatments range from foods and drinks, homeopathic remedies, herbs and acupuncture.
Acid Reflux Causes
Acid reflux is most commonly caused by overeating and eating hard-to-digest foods, such as fast-foods heavily laden with trans fats. Overeating puts too much pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter, allowing food to reflux into your esophagus. A hiatal hernia can also cause acid reflux, where stomach digest backs up into the esophagus. With a hiatal hernia, the upper part of your stomach may extend above your diaphragm, allowing acids to back up. Other causes for this condition are being pregnant or overweight, which both increase pressure in your abdominal cavity.
Acid Production and pH Balance
In some instances, acid reflux is the result of an imbalance of the pH in your stomach, according to the “The pH Miracle." Healthy digestion allows for a certain amount of acid and digestive enzymes to break down foods in your stomach. As the food is broken down and moves through your system, the pancreas releases bicarbonate to neutralize acids and create an alkaline environment for further digestion. If the balance of digestive chemicals is out of whack, acid reflux may result, according to nutritionist, Theodore Baroody, N.D., in his book "Alkalize or Die." He adds that drinking or eating alkaline foods such as green vegetables can help restore the pH balance and prevent reflux.
Green smoothies are made with vegetables, but they don't have to be made exclusively with vegetables and they don't have to taste yucky. Green smoothies that help control acid reflux generally include leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, celery, and collard and beet greens, notes Baroody. Avoid using vegetables such as mustard greens because they're often spicy and very strong tasting, which may aggravate your acid reflux.
Other Ingredients in Green Smoothies
Along with leafy, green vegetables, you can include other vegetables, such as carrots, beets and green beans, along with alkaline fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Consider adding banana, mango, pears, cherries, grapes or plums to complement the flavor of your green smoothie.
Yogurt is a traditional base for many smoothies and it makes an excellent base for a green smoothie, as long as you are able to digest dairy products. If you use yogurt in the smoothie, choose one that has live, active cultures to add probiotics to your system. These are the "friendly" bacteria that support a healthy bowel. The Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology website recommends fat-free or low-fat yogurt; however, the thicker Greek yogurt can also be used. Probiotics also help to create an alkaline-forming environment in your stomach to prevent acid reflux.
Sweeten your green smoothie with raw, organic honey. Whole honey contains a wealth of enzymes to help support healthy digestion and soothe the linings of the stomach and esophagus, notes Felicia Drury Kliment in her book, "The Acid Alkaline Balance." Honey contributes to creating an alkaline-forming state and helps prevent acid reflux.
Green Smoothie Recipe
An example of a green smoothie recipe might include 1/2 a head each of kale and spinach added to 1 mango, 1 apple, 1 cup fresh strawberries, 1 cup yogurt, and honey to taste. Combine all of your ingredients in a blender with several ice cubes to thicken. This recipe make two to three tall glasses of green smoothie.
- NYU Medical Center/School of Medicine: How to Reduce Acid Reflux
- Alkalize or Die; Dr. Theodore A. Baroody
- The pH Miracle; Dr. Robert O. Young and Shelley Redford Young
- Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology: Gastroesophgeal Reflux Disease Diet
- The Acid Alkaline Balance; Felicia Drury Kliment