What is Acidity?
Acidity refers to the level of acid (or acidic substances) present in a solution. It is a fundamental concept in chemistry and is commonly encountered in various contexts. Acidity is a very common condition that affects many people. This condition is characterized by heartburn felt around the lower part of the chest, which is caused by stomach acid flowing back into the food pipe. Acidity, unhealthy eating habits and poor lifestyle cause this condition.
In the context of chemistry, acidity is often measured using the pH scale, which ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is considered neutral, meaning the solution is neither acidic nor basic (alkaline). A pH less than 7 indicates acidity, while a pH greater than 7 indicates basicity.
Acidity is caused by the presence of hydrogen ions (H⁺) in a solution. In water, when certain substances dissolve, they release H⁺ ions, which make the solution more acidic. Acids are substances that can donate H⁺ ions, leading to an increase in the concentration of these ions in a solution. Common examples of acids include hydrochloric acid (HCl), sulfuric acid (H₂SO₄), citric acid (found in citrus fruits), and acetic acid (found in vinegar).
Acidity plays a crucial role in various biological and chemical processes. For instance, in the human body, the stomach produces hydrochloric acid to aid in the digestion of food. Additionally, the pH levels in natural environments, such as soil and water, can influence the types of organisms that thrive there.
Types of Acidity
In the context of health and medicine, “acidity” can refer to different conditions or situations. Here are some common types of acidity:
1) Gastric Acidity:
Gastric acidity refers to the level of acid in the stomach. It plays a crucial role in digestion. However, excessive gastric acidity can lead to conditions like acid reflux, gastritis, and peptic ulcers.
2) Acid Reflux:
Also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. This can lead to symptoms like heartburn, chest pain, and regurgitation.
3) Respiratory Acidosis:
This is a medical condition characterized by an excess of acid in the body fluids, leading to a decrease in pH. It typically occurs when the lungs can’t remove enough carbon dioxide, causing it to build up in the bloodstream.
4) Metabolic Acidosis:
Metabolic acidosis is a condition in which there is an accumulation of acid in the body due to factors like kidney dysfunction, uncontrolled diabetes, or ingestion of certain toxins.
5) Lactic Acidosis:
Lactic acidosis occurs when there is an accumulation of lactic acid in the body. This can happen as a result of certain medical conditions, such as sepsis or severe infections, or due to certain medications.
6) Respiratory Alkalosis:
While not directly related to acidity, this condition involves a decrease in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the body, leading to an increase in pH.
7) Metabolic Alkalosis:
Similarly, this condition involves an excess of bicarbonate (a base) in the body, leading to an increase in pH. It can be caused by factors like excessive vomiting or certain kidney disorders.
8) Acidity of Soil:
In agriculture, soil acidity refers to the level of acidity or alkalinity in the soil. It is measured using the pH scale and can impact the growth of plants.
Symptoms of Acidity
- Burning sensation in the throat and heart
- Burning sensation in the stomach
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Prolonged sour taste in the mouth
- Bad breath
Causes of Acidity
Acidity can be caused by various factors, both internal and external. Here are some common causes of acidity:
1) Dietary Choices: Consuming a diet high in acidic or spicy foods can lead to increased acidity. This includes foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spicy dishes.
2) Excessive Stomach Acid Production: Certain medical conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastritis, or peptic ulcers, can result in an overproduction of stomach acid, leading to increased acidity.
3) Lifestyle Factors: Habits like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and high caffeine intake can contribute to acidity.
4) Eating Habits: Eating large, heavy meals or lying down immediately after eating can cause stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus, leading to acid reflux.
5) Obesity: Excess body weight can increase pressure on the abdomen, pushing stomach acid into the esophagus.
6) Stress and Anxiety: Psychological stress and anxiety can lead to increased stomach acid production, exacerbating acidity.
7) Certain Medications: Some medications, certain antibiotics, and certain blood pressure medications, can irritate the stomach lining and contribute to acidity.
8) Hiatal Hernia: This condition occurs when a portion of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm, which can lead to acid reflux.
9) Pregnancy: Hormonal changes and the growing uterus can put pressure on the stomach, leading to increased acidity in pregnant individuals.
10) Medical Conditions: Conditions like Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, which causes the stomach to produce excessive acid, can lead to chronic acidity.
11) Alcohol and Caffeine: Excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeine can irritate the stomach lining, leading to increased acidity.
12) Peptic Ulcers: These are open sores that develop on the lining of the stomach or duodenum. They can cause increased acidity and related symptoms.
Diet for Acidity
A balanced diet can help manage acidity and reduce the likelihood of experiencing symptoms like heartburn and indigestion. Here are some dietary guidelines for managing acidity:
1) Choose Low-Acidity Fruits: Opt for fruits that are lower in acidity, such as bananas, apples, pears, melons, and berries. Avoid highly acidic fruits like citrus fruits (or consume them in moderation).
2) Vegetables: Most vegetables are low in acidity. However, some people may find that certain vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and garlic can trigger acidity, so it’s best to consume them in moderation.
3) Lean Proteins: Lean sources of protein like chicken, turkey, fish, and tofu are generally well-tolerated and less likely to cause acidity.
4) Complex Carbohydrates: Choose whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat bread, and oats. These are less likely to trigger acidity compared to refined grains.
5) Low-Fat Dairy: Opt for low-fat or fat-free dairy products like yogurt, milk, and cheese. High-fat dairy can contribute to acidity.
6) Herbs and Spices: Use mild herbs like basil, parsley, and mint in your cooking. Avoid using excessive amounts of strong, acidic spices like chili powder or cayenne pepper.
7) Limit or Avoid Trigger Foods: For many people, trigger foods can exacerbate acidity. These may include spicy foods, tomatoes, citrus fruits, onions, garlic, and chocolate. Pay attention to how your body reacts to these foods and adjust your intake accordingly.
8) Smaller, Frequent Meals: Instead of large, heavy meals, try eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This can help prevent overloading your stomach, reducing the likelihood of acid reflux.
9) Hydration: Stay hydrated with water. Avoid excessive consumption of carbonated, caffeinated, or alcoholic beverages, as they can contribute to acidity.
10) Avoid Carbonated Drinks and Caffeine: Both carbonated drinks and caffeine can lead to increased stomach acid production, so it’s best to limit or avoid them.
11) Chew Food Thoroughly: Properly chewing food aids digestion and can help reduce the likelihood of acid reflux.
12) Avoid Eating Close to Bedtime: Eating right before lying down can lead to acid reflux. Aim to have your last meal at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.
Foods to Alleviate Acid Reflux :
Cow’s milk, pomegranate juice, grapes, seasonal, fennel, raisins, amla, figs, old rice, kheer, petha, sattu solution and all juicy foods are dietary in acidity. Therefore, they should be consumed in excess.
Foods That May Cause Acidity
Acidity patient should avoid consuming hot, acidic and bitter juices, meat-liquor, tea, oil, urad dal (Black gram) and all bile provoking foods.
Prevention Tips for Acidity
Here are some prevention tips for acidity:
- Monitor Your Diet: Avoid spicy, acidic, and fatty foods, and opt for a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Eat Smaller, Frequent Meals: Instead of large, heavy meals, aim for smaller, more frequent meals to prevent overloading your stomach.
- Avoid Late-Night Eating: Try to have your last meal at least 2-3 hours before bedtime to reduce the risk of acid reflux.
- Stay Hydrated with Water: Proper hydration helps maintain a healthy digestive system. Limit or avoid carbonated, caffeinated, and alcoholic beverages.
- Limit Trigger Foods: Identify and moderate your consumption of foods that tend to trigger acidity, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, onions, and chocolate.
- Avoid Smoking: Smoking can contribute to acidity, so quitting or avoiding it can be beneficial for your digestive health.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess body weight, especially around the abdomen, can increase pressure on the stomach, leading to acid reflux.
- Chew Food Thoroughly: Properly chewing food aids digestion and can reduce the likelihood of acid reflux.
- Practice Stress Management: Engage in activities like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to help manage stress, which can contribute to increased stomach acid production.
- Elevate Your Head While Sleeping: If you’re prone to acid reflux at night, try sleeping with your upper body slightly elevated to prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.
- Limit Alcohol and Caffeine: Both alcohol and caffeine can stimulate the production of stomach acid, so it’s best to consume them in moderation.
- Be Mindful of Medications: If you’re on medications that can contribute to acidity (like NSAIDs), consult your healthcare provider for alternatives or ways to mitigate their effects.
15 Best Home Remedies for Acidity
1) Drinking half a glass of carrot juice once a day continuously for 15-20 days removes stomach worms and also cures acid disease.
2) Make a powder by mixing one and a half grams of old jaggery and one and a half grams of yellow myrobalan peel. Taking 2 such tablets twice a day with lukewarm water in the morning and evening for a continuous period of 1 month, besides improving liver enlargement and spleen enlargement, acidosis is cured in just 3 days.
Note : In the absence of old jaggery, the new jaggery should be used at least one year old, otherwise keeping the jaggery in the sun for 1 hour will give rise to the properties of the old jaggery.
3) Sucking 1-1 clove cloves twice a day after meals cures acidity and all the disorders caused by acidity.
Special Note : Clove has a direct beneficial effect on the digestive system. By consuming it, gastric juice gets power, appetite increases, interest in eating arises, the mind is happy, clove is also full of anthelmintic and diuretic properties. Clove is vata, pitta and expectorant (Vata is “ectomorph”; Pitta is “mesomorph”; Kapha is “endomorph”). Clove removes mucus, removes shortness of breath and increases white blood cells.
4) After taking 2 grams powder of black myrrh (half a tea spoon), mixing 2 grams jaggery in it, drinking water from above (after half an hour every day at night) cures acidity in just 3 days.
5) Putting 10 grams jaggery in the mouth twice a day and sucking it slowly, it stops sour water coming from the mouth. Apart from the destruction of acidity, there is no air in the stomach, there is benefit in mouth ulcers, weakness of the heart and body laxity is also beneficial.
Special : One year old jaggery remains more useful.
6) Mix equal quantity of jaggery or honey in 6 masha (1 masha = 0.972 Gram) powder of small or big myrobalan and take it, it provides relief in acidity in 3 days.
7) Take 10-10 grams of dry (grain) coriander and dry ginger in 400 ml. Boil in water. When water is 100 ml If the remainder is left, then take it off the fire and after it cools down, mix 10 grams of honey in it and consume it. This use is very beneficial in acidity.
8) Grind the quantity of Sonageru (Red Ochre Lumps) 4 Masha (1 masha = 0.972 Gram) and eat it, it ends acidity.
9) Soak 10 grams amla (gooseberry) in water at night and mash it in the morning and filter it. Mixing the powder of sugar candy and cumin seeds in this water and taking it cures all types of bile disorders.
10) Make gram-sized tablets by mixing 25 grams yellow myrobalan and 50 grams powder of rhubarb and keep them safe. Do this every morning with fresh water. All types of bile diseases are destroyed by taking the pill.
11) Grind myrobalan, sugar and small peepal (each in equal quantity) and keep it safe. Consuming it 3-3 times a day, it provides relief in mucousy bile.
12) Take myrobalan, Peepal, Vine, Jawasa, Coriander, Sugar (each in equal quantity). Keep it safe by making a dusting powder. Licking this powder 3-4 times with honey, it destroys mucus containing bile.
13) Shankh bhasma, 1 gram powder of dry ginger, half a gram of these two mixed with honey, licking ends acidity.
14) Take 100-100 grams of Amla (gooseberry) powder and Yashtimadhu powder (churn) and 25 grams of baking soda. Mix it well and store it in an air-tight container. Consuming this (2 grams) in the amount of one spoon twice a day with fresh water after meals, it is beneficial in acidity.
15) Avipattikar churn 100 grams, 5 grams of coral Panchamrit, 10 grams of Sutshekhar juice and 5 grams of Kamdudha juice. Mix all these medicines and keep them safe and take 5-5 grams three times a day (morning, afternoon, evening) with fresh water. Consume in moderation.
Special : Taking 3 to 5 grams of Panch Sakar Churna with warm water at bedtime is good to clean the stomach. It acts as a safe laxative. Fennel, dry ginger, sanaya, rock salt and small myrobalan, take these 5 medicines in equal quantity and keep it safe by making fine powdered cloth. This is Pancha Sakar Churna.
How is acidity diagnosed?
Acidity is often diagnose based on symptoms and confirmed through tests like endoscopy, pH monitoring, or a barium swallow test.
What foods should be avoided to reduce acidity?
Foods high in acidity, like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and spicy foods, should be avoid. Also, caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks can contribute to acidity.
Is acidity the same as acid reflux?
Acid reflux is a condition where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing symptoms like heartburn. Acidity, on the other hand, refers to the overall level of acid in the body or in a solution.
When should I seek medical attention for acidity?
If acidity symptoms are severe, frequent, or persist despite home remedies, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional. Also, if there’s difficulty swallowing, unexplained weight loss, or chest pain, seek immediate medical attention.
Can stress contribute to acidity?
Yes, stress can lead to increased production of stomach acid, which can exacerbate acidity symptoms.
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