Spicy chiles? Tacos dripping in salsa verde? Dominican mangu? Puerto Rican mofongo? No matter where you’re from, we hispanics have a lot of options when it comes to flavor. The problem is that many of the dishes we love are fried, full of saturated fat and always, always spicy. We might love them while we’re eating them, but the acid reflux that comes afterwards can have us swearing we will never, never eat them again. It’s a promise we rarely keep.

What is acid reflux?

  • Reflux, or acid reflux is the name given to what happens when stomach acid enters the esophagus. This can cause pain, discomfort, a burning feeling, and even chest pain that many people confuse with a heart attack.

  • Reflux happens when the sphincter found at the bottom of the esophagus relaxes and allows stomach acid to pass. It’s that acid that can irritate and inflame the esophagus.

  • It’s estimated that at least 25% of the population suffers from acid reflux at least once a month. Occasionally, especially with constant discomfort, acid reflux symptoms can be a sign of a larger issue such as ulcers, gastritis, or intestinal issues that should be treated by a medical professional as soon as possible.

Is acid reflux caused only by spicy foods?

Spicy foods can cause acid reflux, but there can be other causes as well:

  • Greasy or fried foods

  • Citrus fruits

  • Tomatoes, onions, or garlic

  • Alcohol or carbonated drinks

  • Coffee

  • Chocolate

  • Mint

  • Aspirin medications  

Other Factors:

  • Late-night eating

  • Obesity

  • Smoking

  • Pregnancy

  • Hernias

Simple ways to correct or avoid acid reflux:

  • Weight loss

  • Avoiding problem foods

  • Avoid common food allergies like lactose, gluten, eggs or nuts

  • Increasing intake of probiotics. A healthy gut microbiome can help with acid reflux and overall intestinal health

  • Acupuncture is also being studied as a possible cure in minor cases, given its long history of use in cultures throughout the world.

  • Try melatonin. Two different studies suggest that melatonin, synthesized in the intestinal tract, is as or more efficient than 20 mg of the prescription medication Omeprazole in reducing acid reflux symptoms. One study tried with 3mg of daily melatonin, while the other used 6mg of daily melatonin in combination with other vitamins and amino acids. Both studies had good results.

Three herbal teas to help with acid reflux:

1. Meadwort or Meadowsweet

This herb, common to the northeast US and Canada has long been used to treat digestive issues such as acid reflux. Studies have shown that Meadowsweet is effective in reducing the inflammation and pain caused by acid reflux. 

How do you take it?

Just add one tablespoon of dried Meadowsweet to two cups of water or sugar free orange juice. Bring that to a boil and then let it rest. Drink during the day.

2. Marshmallow Root

Also used as a traditional cure to soften and protect membranes and tissue irritated by stomach acid and other gastrointestinal problems. Marshmallow’s sticky consistency is due to the high amount of mucous it contains, a gelatinous substance that helps protect the stomach from acid damage and inflammation. 

How do you take it? 

You can take it hot or cold. Just put a tablespoon of dried herb in a cup of water. Let it sit for a few minutes and then drink it. You can take up to four cups a day.

3. Licorice Root

Licorice root has a long history of use as a botanical remedy to treat stomach inflammation and excess acid product. It can even help restore the intestinal wall, all without side effects. Multiple studies have shown that the glycerin in Licorice root, which gives it a sweet flavor, also has anti-inflammatory, anti-acid, and anti-ulcer effects, among others. 

How to take it? 

Just add one tablespoon of dried root to a cup of water. Bring it to a boil and then turn off the heat and let it sit. Eat it after a meal, up to three times a day. It’s not recommended for women that are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

Always remember, if your acid reflux recurs frequently, more than two times a week, it’s necessary to go see a doctor to find out EXACTLY what is happening and get treatment ASAP.

Let’s get healthier, together.

Your friends at Santo Remedio

References
Reflujo
https://www.mayoclinic.org/es-es/diseases-conditions/gerd/symptoms-causes/syc-20361940
Integrative Medicine for Gastrointestinal Disease
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605819/
Nutritional Interventions for Gastroesophageal Reflux, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Hypochlorhydria: A Case Report
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4991651/
Probióticos y acupuntura
Review on efficacy and health services research studies of complementary and alternative medicine in inflammatory bowel disease.
Joos S
Chin J Integr Med. 2011 Jun; 17(6):403-9.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21660673/
 Acupuntura
Acupuncture for refractory gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6721822/
Meadowsweet
https://www.earthtokathy.com/meadowsweet-heartburn-tea-recipe/
Malvavisco, manzanilla, regaliz, melatonina
Integrative Medicine for Gastrointestinal Disease
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605819/
Regaliz 
Integrative Treatment of Reflux and Functional Dyspepsia in Children
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4928719/
An in vivo study examining the antiinflammatory effects of chamomile, meadowsweet, and willow bark in a novel functional beverage
Efectos antiinflamatorios de reina de las praderas y manzanilla
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24237191/

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