Commonly known as heartburn, increased acid in the stomach is a very common ailment which can cause considerable morbidity.

It can even cause long-term damage to the stomach and lower end of the gullet.

The treatment of stomach ulcers, acidity and hiatus hernias costs billions of pounds every year. And yet, for most people, this is a preventable condition.

Acid production in the stomach can be controlled with a few careful changes in diet and lifestyle. High acid production in the stomach is often accompanied by bloating, wind and indigestion, making life very uncomfortable and often disturbing sleep.

Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol are strong stimulants of gastric acid. Certain foods such as rich, spicy and fried foods, fast foods, red meat, onions and garlic can also aggravate or cause hyperacidity in the stomach.

Stress, worry and anxiety are powerful psychological causes of gastric acid stimulation. You will find that often when we are under pressure, we get acid and wind in the stomach and find ourselves chewing antacid tablets more frequently.

When a small amount of the gastric juice regurgitates or trickles into the food pipe (oesophagus) it is called an acid reflux. This can occur in pregnancy or is due to obesity as well as excessive bending over and lifting heavy weights. If you get a bitter fluid in your mouth or burning chest pain when you lie down, this could be due to acid reflux.

The natural way to prevent hyperacidity and damage to your precious stomach and oesophagus is, firstly, to change your diet and lifestyle.

Are we over-indulging regularly? Are we eating a wholesome diet to suit our constitution ? Remember, a fiery body type (Pitta type - fire element ) makes more acid.

A hyperactive personality (Vata type - air element) can also produce more acid due to high nervous stimulation.

Mental restlessness, anxiety and habit make people smoke and drink more. Taking up regular stress management, exercise or a sport you like, deep relaxation breathing, meditation or Tai Chi will help to reduce acid in the stomach and help you to give up smoking and alcohol.

Milk is an excellent cooling food for the stomach. If you get a lot of acid in the stomach, you are better off with a light digestive diet which includes rice, milk, steamed vegetables, pasta, potatoes, cucumber, kiwi fruit, mango and ripe peaches. Brisk walking exercise rather than a heavy workout in the gym is better for you. Herbs like mint, liquorice, coriander, cardamom and turmeric are also useful.

The ayurvedic herbal medicine which cures hyperacidity is a mixture of satavari extract (asparagus racemosus), bilwa fruit extract (aegle marmelos), liquorice and amla fruit (embelica officinale), all of which are very cooling and proven ulcer healing agents.

Dr Milind Jani works as a conventional and
holistic GP and Dr Asmita Jani as Ayurvedic Consultant from 30 The Drive, Hove.

Call them on: 01273 778123 or e-mail: