Stomach acid, also known as gastric acid is a colourless fluid that is secreted by the stomach’s lining. It is strongly acidic as it performs arduous functions like breaking down food to help with digestion. Only with the help of this acid, it is possible to absorb nutrients from the food that we consume. Stomach acid is also crucial for us to be able to make the best use of the food that we take in every day. Not just digestion, stomach acid also helps in keeping pathogens and microbes out of our system.
Our body is made in a way that it can handle the strong acidity of stomach acid at a certain level of acidity. Beyond that, it can irritate and have other harmful effects on our bodies. Only when our body has the right amount of acidity being generated through gastric acid will we have a smooth digestive process taking place.
What is the right level of acidity in stomach acid?
Our foods need to be mixed with the highly acidic fluid (stomach acid), to be broken down. Therefore, we need to know and make sure we maintain the right level of acidity. The acidity of the stomach acid can be measured by checking its pH level. The pH level of stomach acid is between 1 and 2. It is a very high level of acidity and can damage even bones and teeth.
Effects of high stomach acid
High stomach acid can cause conditions like
- Gastric ulcers
- Acid reflux
- Discomfort in the abdomen
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease(GERD)
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden weight loss
Top foods that neutralize stomach acid
Foods that we include in our diet can largely help when we are trying to reduce acid reflux and other causes of high stomach acid in the digestive tract. When you take small steps towards refining and modifying your food habits to suit your digestive system, you will see tremendous progress towards achieving a healthy stomach and well-nourished body. You can trust your body to recover and also perform at its best when you start aiding your digestive system with health-giving foods.
Some of the foods that neutralize stomach acid are
- Bananas – They are a rich source of potassium and have low levels of pH. They are generally suggested to neutralize acid reflux and to calm the digestive system.
- Vegetables – Vegetables are low in fat and sugar, thus helps in reducing stomach acid. And if you’re a lover of green vegetables like spinach, green beans, cauliflower, cucumbers, and Brussel sprouts, you’re in luck. They are good options for stomach acid reflux. Beans are a great source of fiber and can help prevent overeating as they can help you feel full for a longer time. Thus, it helps to prevent heartburn.
- Yogurt – Rich in probiotic content, they are good for your gut health. Probiotic is a good bacteria that can enhance your immune system. Yogurt is also a good protein source that improves the ability to digest the food properly.
- Root vegetables – Vegetables like sweet potato, carrots, and beetroot are again rich in fiber. Additionally, it also provides you so many other nutrients that can help with smooth digestion and maintaining a healthy gut.
- Melons – This category includes watermelon, muskmelon, etc that are alkaline and can lower the pH levels, and helps to offset strong gastric acid.
- Ginger – There are various benefits that ginger provides for the digestion process. It is alkaline in nature and also has anti-inflammatory properties that ease out the irritation in the stomach. It can be consumed as ginger tea or also simply by itself.
- Honey – It is a great source of antioxidants that helps protect the cells in the digestive tract. It also helps in alkalizing the stomach acid, thereby regulating the acidity in the stomach and prevents ulcers.
These foods can help in neutralizing your stomach acid. You can also read more about these foods and a range of healthy recipes that can help with your gut health on our health and wellness blog, Fine Fettle.