digestive care

Can You Get Acidity Due to Stress?

Acidity or acid reflux can be either an acute or a chronic condition wherein the digestive acids in the stomach are regurgitated up into the food pipe. This irritates the inner lining of the food pipe and can lead to a burning sensation, heartburn, excessive burping, excessive flatulence, and even nausea. Although acidity may occur due to many reasons, the acidity due to stress is also one of the most common scenarios.

Stress and Acidity

If you suffer from frequent bouts of acidity or acid reflux, here are 4 ways in which stress might be responsible for it:

1. Increased Stomach Acid Production

If you suffer from regular acidity, stress might very well be one of the underlying causes. While stress can have several of its own causes, one common effect it has on your mental health is the development of anxiety. Anxiety causes other physical complications like increased production of stomach acid. This increased production of stomach acids can force some of the excess acid back into the food pipe (oesophagus).

You might have noticed that stress may either make you hungry or kill your appetite. This is also one of the results of the increased production of stomach acids. In this way, stress and acid reflux are closely related and in order to reduce the occurrence of acid reflux, you will need to take active steps to reduce stress in your life.

2. Reduced Pressure in the Lower Esophageal Sphincter

The Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) is a band of tissues located at the juncture of the food pipe and the stomach. The LES is responsible for keeping the stomach shut during digestion, so that stomach acids do not leak into the food pipe. Stress and consequent anxiety can cause the LES to loosen up. This allows the stomach acids to leak into the food pipe, leading to the symptoms of acid reflux. 

Research has proven that stress and anxiety lead to a diminished rate of contractions of the food pipe as well as the LES. Therefore, it is now a widely accepted fact in the medical community that anxiety and stress cause acid reflux.

3. Lasting Muscle Tension in the Stomach

Studies have also identified the effect of stress and anxiety on muscle tension in the gut. This means that people who are undergoing extreme stress experience increased muscle tension in the tissues in and around the stomach. You can develop acidity due to stress when this muscle tension in the stomach forces the gastric acids to go back up into the food pipe. 

While acute acidity due to such stress may not be a major cause of worry, continued occurrence of acid reflux might be concerning. Repeated regurgitation of stomach acids can often be the symptom of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). 

4. Depletion of Protective Hormones

Another way in which stress and acidity are connected is the production of a hormone called prostaglandin. This hormone protects your stomach from any harm that may be caused by strong gastric acids. Increased stress has been found to decrease the production of this hormone and therefore, you may feel extreme discomfort in your stomach due to this.

In such a case, the gastric acids may erode the protective lining of the stomach as well as go back up into the food pipe, leading to acid reflux. The only way to prevent this is to reduce the sources of stress in your daily life.

The Bottom Line

Whatever the reason be for acid reflux, it is a widely common gastroesophageal disorder experienced by many. In fact, it is so commonplace that most people who suffer from acid reflux do not seek long-term treatment but rather settle for temporary antacids to tide over the ordeal. However, to resolve the issue of acidity due to stress, some mental health techniques need to be adopted.

5 Healthy Stomach Herbs For Digestive Care

A healthy gut is central to a healthy life. Even with the best diet, you do not enjoy the benefits of all the nutrients if you do not have good digestion. Using herbs for digestive care is a great preventive measure from issues related to your digestive system. This can give you long term benefits by improving nutrient uptake and even eliminating unwanted toxins that have severely damaging effects on your cells and tissues. 

Here is a list of 5 herbs that you can include in your diet for a healthy digestive system. 

Top 5 Herbs for Digestive Care 

Here are some of the best herbs for digestive care that have been used in traditional remedies to keep your gut healthy: 

1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon

Cinnamon promotes a healthy stomach because of its antioxidant properties. It prevents any oxidative stress that can lead to chronic illnesses. Cinnamon also lowers the blood sugar level by slowing down carbohydrate breakdown in your intestines. There are some studies which also suggest that inflammation in the digestive system is reduced, improving its ability to process the food that you consume. 

2. Turmeric 

Turmeric

One of the most common ingredients in Indian cooking, turmeric is known for various benefits that it provides for overall health. This is one of the best herbs for digestive care because of its active compound, curcumin. Curcumin acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidizing agent. It keeps the level of free radicals in the body balanced and even prevents oxidative stress and damage to the cells. The anti-inflammatory property of this herb ensures a healthy digestive system because it improves the efficiency and prevents untimely and unwanted inflammation. 

There are also several studies which show that the level of beneficial bacteria in your gut also increases when you use turmeric in your diet on a regular basis. 

3. Rosemary  

Rosemary

While this herb is used world-over as a flavouring ingredient, it is not quite common in Indian cooking. Unlike other greens, it may not be considered a superfood. But, the benefits that it offers makes it one of the best herbs for digestive care. Most importantly, the composition of the gut bacteria in your digestive tract is adjusted and improved, good food for digestion

This also helps you maintain healthy body weight by boosting metabolism. The increase in gut bacteria composition helps digest and ferment the food that you consume effectively. This allows the nutrients to be released into the system to help you enjoy maximum benefits of your diet. 

Rosemary also improves the functioning of your gallbladder and bile flow to keep a healthy stomach and maintain overall health at its best.  

4. Cumin 

Cumin - digestive care herb

Indian food is incomplete without a seasoning of cumin. Traditionally, cumin has been used among the most beneficial herbs for digestive care because of its unique properties. First, it improves the production of bile which boosts digestion instantly. It keeps the liver active and helps it contribute more to digestive care. 

Cumin can also boost the production and activity of various digestive enzymes. Studies conducted on individuals with issues like Irritable Bowel Syndrome showed that the consumption of cumin on a regular basis significantly reduced the symptoms of these conditions. Cumin is also known  for its antioxidant properties which reduce oxidative stress to the digestive system. Inflammation in the digestive tract is also prevented with the anti-inflammatory properties of cumin, making it important for a healthy stomach. 

5. Mint 

Mint

These herbs for digestive care are also used in modern medicines that help fight acidity effectively. Mint is one of the most soothing ingredients, especially when it is brewed to make tea.

Studies conducted on individuals with painful symptoms of digestive issues showed that peppermint oil can reduce them effectively. It is also known to improve overall intestinal health even in individuals who suffer from these digestive issues. 

Mint helps relax the muscles of your digestive system, allowing food to pass through without any restriction or hassles. This boosts digestion and absorption of nutrients. Mint also has the ability to ward off unwanted bacterial populations that can prevent you from enjoying a healthy digestive tract. This property of this herb is the primary reason for its use in dental health products as well.  

Why Use Herbs For Digestive Care 

Whether you prepare a tea, add these herbs to your food or consume supplements that contain herbs for digestive care, here are some reasons why they are important: 

  • With a busy lifestyle, people are unable to consume meals on time, leading to several digestive issues. 
  • A healthy stomach is compromised when the free radical build up in the body increases. This damages the cells and tissues of your digestive system, preventing optimal digestion. 
  • Inflammation in the digestive tract leads to issues like irritable bowel syndrome. This can be prevented by including these herbs in your diet. 
  • These herbs improve the level of healthy digestive tract bacteria. This improves the production of digestive enzymes and the fermentation of the food that you consume. 

Precautions To Take When Using Herbs For Healthy Stomach

When using herbs for digestive care, there are some precautions that you should take: 

  • If you are consuming any medication, consult your doctor before using any herb. The plant compounds are extremely powerful and may interfere with the medication. 
  • It is best that you avoid including any herbs in your diet if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, unless recommended by your doctor. 
  • In case of a history of food allergies, you must be careful when you include any potent ingredients in your regular diet. 
  • If you plan to consume any supplements for a healthy stomach, make sure that you check for other allergens like soy, dairy or fish that can lead to issues. 

Herbs are extremely safe to use if you take the above-mentioned precautions. The best way to use them is to add them to your regular food in the form of seasoning or tempering. You can even use them in your salads or smoothies.