Dealing with the Acid Test of Acidity

Most of us at some point or other in our lives have suffered the acid test of suffering from acidity or heartburn. Especially with a change in modern food habits, erratic timings and a stress-filled lifestyle, people across the globe have become more prone to this condition.


Acidity (Image credit: sumners / 123RF)

Acidity – Introduction

Gastric acid composed of HCl (hydrochloric acid), KCl (Potassium chloride) and NaCl (sodium chloride) is crucial for the natural process of digesting food.  The gastric juice or acid produced by the cell linings of stomach are indispensable for activation of some enzymes that play a significant role in breakdown of proteins into amino acids.  Besides this, these acids perform other major functions like sterilization or killing harmful bacteria or pathogens that may cause diseases in the body.  Gastritis occurs with an increase in these acids causing inflammation of the stomach.


Symptoms of Acidity
  • heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting and sickness
  • chest pain hours after a meal
  • formation of gas in the stomach
  • Throat dryness
  • frequent hunger
  • belching
  • mouth ulcers
  • Pain in the upper epigastric region of abdomen
  • Heaviness in the abdomen
  • chest Inflammation
  • Respiratory problems
  • Change of voice
  • Coughing


Causes of Acidity

The most common causes of Acidity include

  • Eating greasy, spicy  fried, and fatty foods
  • Eating junk and refined food
  • Food intake without fibre content.
  • Intake of food rich in calcium and proteins
  • irregular meals
  • skipping meals
  • eating large meals
  • eating before going to bed
  • slower emptying of the stomach
  • Less intake of water
  • drinking lots of aerated beverages such as soda
  • Excess tea or coffee consumption
  • smoking
  • alcohol
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of physical activities
  • antidepressants and sedatives including drugs like antibiotics and pain killers
  • elevated hormone levels during pregnancy
  • stress
  • diseases that weaken the oesophageal muscle (such as scleroderma, mixed connective tissue disease, or hiatus hernias)


Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is an amazing remedy for treating acidity. Surprising though, since acids aggravate heartburn, yet Apple cider vinegar containing good acids prove beneficial.  One teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed to half a glass of water consumed before or in between meals help calm the stomach and supports digestion.


Consuming before meals, a mixture of two teaspoons each of apple Cider Vinegar and honey in a glass of water will be helpful in getting rid of acidity, hyperacidity, or heartburn.


Baking Soda

baking soda

Drinking a glass of water, mixed with a pinch of baking soda consumed before it fizzles out gives immediate relief from acidity. A word of caution though for individuals suffering from high blood pressure, on a salt restricted diet, seek medical advice before trying this remedy.


Fennel Seeds

Fennel SeedsThe aromatic fennel seeds contain Anethole, a substance known to curb the spasms of abdominal pain, colon disorders, gas, and gastrointestinal tract. Hence, fennel is taken after a meal to enable proper digestion of food and is good for those who suffer from acidity.  An effective remedy is to add a teaspoon of fennel seeds to hot boiling water.  Cover and leave overnight.  Add a teaspoon of honey to the strained water the next morning and consume thrice a day to prevent acidity.


Cumin seeds

Cumin seedsA teaspoon of roasted cumin seeds, ground to a coarse powder and mixed with a glass of water, taken every day with meals, works wonders for acidity and indigestion.


One may boil cumin seeds in a glass of water, strain and drink the water after each meal to treat acidity.


Ginger juice, or orange juice mixed with roasted cumin seeds and rock salt, happens to be an excellent option for treating acidity. Know more benefits of cumin seeds



GingerA natural remedy for treating acidity, ginger helps to relieve indigestion from rich spicy foods relieving nausea and heartburn. The herb is known to absorb stomach acids and have the effect of calming the nerves. Therefore, it is recommended to add a dash of ginger in most recipes.  Add one teaspoon of fresh ginger pieces to a cup of boiling water, steep for 10 minutes, and cool.  Drink several cups a day after meals.  For stronger effect, the pieces may be boiled and consumed when cool.  Chew up a small piece of fresh ginger, for better digestion of food, preventing heartburn. Read more benefits of ginger



ClovesChew about two cloves and slightly bite them to absorb the juice. This goes into the system with saliva easing abdomen greatly.


Eating a clove after every meal helps relieve acidity. Smoking clove too provides relief.  Powder a clove along with a cardamom; use the powder as a mouth freshener after every meal to combat acidity and bad breath.



It is a good idea to boil some mint leaves in water and have a glass of this concoction after meals or chew raw mint leaves after meals everyday to keep acidity and indigestion at bay.



Basil leaves containing medicinal properties play an important role in treating acidity.  Consuming leaves of this plant in the morning on regular basis helps to overcome acidity.  Make a blend of crushed basil leaves and consume with water or tea


basil leaves

basil leaves (Image source:


Eat a stalk of fresh raw celery to reduce heartburn.



Hot or cold milk completely neutralizes the acidic effect of the food thereby giving relief from gastritis.  Although one particular type of acidity is soothed by milk, the other type is aggravated by milk. Therefore, consult a Medical Practitioner before drinking milk as a remedy for acidity.



Eating half a cup of yogurt daily will greatly reduce chances of experiencing heartburn.  Yogurt taken with grated cucumber and coriander will promote digestion and help do away with acidity.



Another homemade remedy to treat acidity is consuming buttermilk mixed with ¼-teaspoon black pepper powder.


A pinch of asafoetida and turmeric, along with half-teaspoon fenugreek mixed with buttermilk and consumed during bedtime is a good remedy for acidity.


Drinking half a glass of butter milk mixed with one tablespoon coriander leaf juice is an effective home remedy for acidity.


Vanilla ice cream 

A cup of vanilla ice cream besides being a yummy treat also treats acidity.



Popping a small piece of jaggery in the mouth after meals and slowly letting it dissolve makes a good remedy.



Eat a spoonful or two of mustard. If plain mustard is too hot mix a teaspoon of mustard in 100ml water and gulp the mixture quickly.



Apples have high pectin content, which binds up excess stomach acid; therefore, eat a fresh apple or a slice of apple before bedtime and whenever heartburn strikes.


Fruits (Image source:


Complete meals with a few fresh slices of pineapple for frequent heartburns.



Eat half of a fresh banana or take it with a pinch of cardamom powder, since Bananas have a natural antacid effect they give instant relief from acidity. Read health benefits of banana



Almonds are also a good source for relieving heartburn and acidity. Eat several almonds when symptoms persist.


Pickle juice

Few sips of pickle juice works incredibly fast in 5-10 minutes to remain acid free.


Olives/ olive oil

Olives and olive oil are well proved acid reflux home remedies. Olives are alkaline fruits, rich in natural oil providing a protective layer for the inflamed oesophagus lining.  Eat 6-10 pieces of green or black olives after meals or an hour before bedtime or gulp one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil for immediate relief.


Raw vegetables

The juices of alkaline vegetables like cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, celery, zucchini or beetroots taken thrice a day with a pinch of salt, grated ginger and few basil leaves help to repress the stomach acid and make great acid reflux remedy.


Chewing gum

Try chewing gum.  The saliva generated helps move food through the oesophagus, easing symptoms of heartburn


Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera juice supports digestion and is another great remedy for acid reflux.


Tender Coconut

Coconut water taken 4-5 times a day decreases the symptoms of the acidity and heartburn. Read more health benefits of tender coconut water



Lemon contains potassium that reduces acid and helps easy digestion. Cut a lemon into thin strips and dip in salt. Eat before meals to prevent heartburn. Lemon juice with hot water taken an hour before meals helps overcome vomiting sensation and bloating.



Drink plenty of water

Drink plenty of water throughout the day as water dilutes the acid in the stomach and help reduce symptoms.

Vitamin D

Increasing vitamin D levels will optimize production of antimicrobial peptides that aid in destroying infections, including the oesophagus.  Adequate sun exposure and a diet rich in Vitamin D can work wonders.


Healthy lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle like early to bed and early to rise reduces risk of secreting excessive stomach acid.


  • Skipping meals
  • Large meals
  • Junk foods
  • aerated drinks
  • Spicy Non-vegetarian food
  • Smoking and alcohol
  • Stress
  • Late night dinner
  • Chocolates
  • Drinking water exactly before and after meals
  • Medicines like aspirin, diclofenac sodium and antibiotics
  • Caffeine
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