3 Ways to Heal the Stomach

Acid reflux is a common ailment in the public safety community. Eating fast food, eating too close to bed time, and drinking alcohol encourages acid to creep up the esophagus and tickle the back of the throat. I think at this point, everyone knows that. What few know is that the primary cause of acid reflux isn’t actually what you’re eating. It’s when you’re drinking!

The stomach is quite miraculous in its functionality. It’s primary job is to break down food into nutrients and waste and to send each to the points of the body where it’s needed most. To do that requires acid. So, between mealtimes, the stomach acid builds up and prepares to accept whatever you choose to put in your mouth. Of course, it’s hoping for healthy, nutritious meals. What it gets tends to be whatever’s quick and easy, partially chewed, then chased with a king sized diet coke.

Instead of filling our stomachs with properly masticated (chewed) proteins, minerals, and vitamins, we have a tendency to inhale our Chick-fil-A sandwich while shoving those waffle fries in two at a time, then chasing it with a slurp of soda from a straw.

The food is not made of what you think it’s made of, but we’ll have to cover that in another humpDAY blog.

It’s the drink that causes the most trouble. Let’s assume it’s water so that I don’t have to go into a diatribe on the dangers of soda or, even worse, energy drinks.

When you drink while eating, you’re diluting the acid the stomach has worked so hard to create. Diluted acid makes it twice as hard for the food to break down, which means it takes twice as long, too. Which means that the stomach has less time to prep itself before your next meal.

If you’re diluting your stomach acid first thing in the morning with coffee or juice, you’re asking for acid reflux problems for the rest of the day. If you dilute your stomach with drinks at lunch and dinner, you’ll be popping Tums long into the night and your sleep will be fitful at best.

3 Ways to Fix Acid Reflux

  1. Do not drink anything for 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after a meal. This takes intentional thought, but it’s incredible how quickly your body adjusts. Believe me, I’ve tried it. No more acid reflux!
  2. Eat like a king for breakfast, a queen for lunch, and a pauper for dinner, making sure dinner is at least 3 hours before bedtime. I’m still working on this one myself, but when I do it, the resulting night’s sleep is incredible.
  3. If you ignore everything else and find that you’re dealing with a bout of acid reflux, do not reach for Tums! Instead, pour yourself a finger of water and then sprinkle some cayenne pepper over the top. Swish and drink. It’ll burn at first, but then it goes to work on the excess acid and activates the stomach to overpower what you’ve filled it with and do its job.