4-10 Johnstons Acid Reflux.jpg

Elaine and Eddie Wiler, Grayson, lost 24 and 72 pounds, Elaine recovered from convulsive acid reflux. Gary came off diabetes and high blood pressure medication.

Editor's Note: For information purposes only. Be sure to check with a physician before any weight loss program is started.

One of the most common complaints Coral and I hear in our weekly health, wellness and weight loss classes is how to reverse the agony of Acid Reflux.

This is a chronic health condition that can occur at any age to both genders and there are numerous factors that can cause acid reflux.

One of the most common causes of acid reflux disease is hiatal hernia. And even though many people have this stomach abnormality, they still have no idea they have it or what caused it.

What is a hiatal hernia?

You have a hiatal hernia when the upper part of your stomach and your lower esophageal sphincter move above the muscle wall separating your stomach from your chest cavity. Therefore, having a hiatal hernia allows the acid in your stomach to rise into your esophagus.

In more severe cases, the stomach can squeeze through the hernia (muscle wall) requiring surgery, but in most cases the symptoms can be controlled by simply changing your lifestyle and eating foods that don’t aggravate the symptoms.

However, if you feel you might have this chronic disease, you should see your doctor.

Your lifestyle is the most common cause of acid reflux.

Most Americans don’t have a hiatal hernia but have created this disease through their daily diet and lifestyle habits. The American College of Gastroenterology says that over 60 million Americans experience heartburn monthly, and more than 15 million daily.

In addition, acid reflux is most common in Western countries, affecting an estimated one-third of the population.

Here are a few of the many causes of Acid Reflux.

• Daily diet: Americans consume over 90 percent of their daily diet from acidic based processed and junk foods. ‘Acidic’ foods are starchy, flour based, sugary or meats. These foods are inflammatory.

• Smoking: Smoking aggravates every cell in the body and causes severe inflammation.

• Medications: Prescribed and OTC drugs, especially calcium-channel blockers used to lower blood pressure, antihistamines, painkillers, sedatives, and antidepressants.

Acid reflux treatment

Most people use OTC medications such as Rolaids, Tums, Prilosec, etc. And even though these meds can give you temporary relief, they are not a cure for the disease.

Your body was created to thrive on a diet of 80 percent alkaline foods, which are fruits and vegetables, and 20 percent acidic foods. Unfortunately, most Americans consume just the opposite, 80 percent acidic foods and 20 percent alkaline foods.

Therefore, much of our weekly health classes dwell on food education and learning how to balance your pH by eating more alkaline foods and fewer acidic foods with each meal.

Here are just a few examples of alkaline vs. acidic foods.

Alkaline foods: green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, green beans, fresh fruits, almonds, avocado, ginger, grapefruit, kelp, lemon, mint, olive oil, onions, flax, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

Acidic foods: meats, dessert foods, dairy, sugar, coffee, carbonated drinks, alcohol, pastas, breads, chocolate and spicy foods, baked goods and chips.

To learn more about how to reverse or prevent acid reflux, take the time to visit one of the many free weekly health, wellness and weight loss classes in your area. Classes are held weekly in Morehead, Olive Hill, Mt. Sterling, Flemingsburg, West Liberty, Greenup, Louisa, South Shore and Frankfort. Call 780-2521 for times and locations.