Acid reflux can turn your favorite foods into your worst enemies. A recent study, however, found that a decrease in carbohydrates corresponded with a decrease in symptoms of acid reflux in test subjects.
What is acid reflux?
If you've ever experienced acid reflux, you already know firsthand that the problem is usually immediately noticeable. Many men and women who suffer from acid reflux report that they feel a burning pain in their lower abdomen after eating certain foods. Other common indicators of acid reflux disease include a bitter taste settling in the mouth, a dry cough, or a feeling of nausea that won't go away.
Many people who suffer from acid reflux incorrectly believe that their discomfort is being caused by an overabundance of stomach acid or a stomach that is too acidic. This is actually the opposite of the truth. Your stomach needs to be incredibly acidic in order to properly digest foods and break down the nutrients that you need. If you do not have enough stomach acid (or if your stomach acid is not adequately acidic), carbohydrates and grains can settle in your stomach and ferment, leading to a buildup of gas that can quickly become uncomfortable.
What causes reduced stomach acid?
Believe it or not, a decrease in stomach acid has a lot to do with your psychology–mainly, the effect that stress has on your body. The “fight or flight” system is inappropriately activated when you feel stress from your coworkers or a pile of schoolwork that's been left undone. In ancient times, the fight or flight system was physiologically developed to help divert blood flow and body resources away from maintenance systems (like the digestive system and reproductive system) and towards body functions that will help to keep you alive (more blood to the cardiovascular system can help you run from a hungry lion more effectively).1
In modern times, our stressors aren't quite the same as our ancient ancestors. These days, we are more worried about losing our job than we are about getting eaten by a predator. This means that the flight or flight system can become activated at inopportune times and slow the production of stomach acid. The picture of a business executive wolfing down his lunch while working or the mother living in a food desert feeding her family with fatty and sugary foods has a large percentage of truth to it when it comes to painting a picture of acid reflux.
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