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Why your tummy is always on fire

Milkshakes and even a poor posture can cause acidity. Read on to find out what's burning your stomach

Acidity is not only a minor, embarrassing or slightly painful condition. Known medically as dyspepsia, if not treated or taken care of, it could lead to arthritis, osteoporosis or even kidneys stones. And before you reach out for that bowl of curd to soothe your burning tummy, be warned: all dairy products contribute to acidity. Nutritionists say eating a balanced meal at the right time and regular exercise will not keep the burps at bay so long as you are not careful about the food combinations you make.

Know your Ph balance
A pH number — potential Hydrogen — is reflective of the acidic or alkaline nature of a liquid and our bodies are by nature alkaline. However, our stomach secretes acid to digest our food. Dr Purshotam Vashishtha, consulting gastroenterologist at Mulund's Fortis Hospital explains, "Whenever we eat, cells within the lining of the stomach pump acid to liquefy the food; acid is secreted in the presence of food in the stomach as a normal physiological response."

Alkaline and acidic food
Nutritionist Anju Venkat from The Health Awareness Centre, Worli, says all foods are alkaline by nature. It is when their natural state is altered — through cooking, preservation processes or wrong combination in digestion (see box) — that they become acidic. On most occasions, Venkat adds, the stomach can neutralise the acid, but some times the work load becomes too much to handle.

Fruit salads are a big no
Mangoes are served as deserts, but insist on eating them half an hour before meals or two hours later. Experts say fruits must always be eaten on an empty stomach. Milkshakes, fruits as desserts, fruit juices with meals — all lead to fermentation.

Don't go nuts over dry fruits
Dry fruits are fruits with the water removed from them like dates, figs, raisins, cranberries, prunes and have high glucose content. Nuts — seeds of plants like almonds, cashews, walnuts — are oily in nature. The two don't mix and when eaten together ferment; thus producing acid.

Multi-grain? Not a good idea
You thought a little bit of nachni and jowar in your atta was healthy. Experts differ. They say the new fad of eating multiple grains together (multigrain breads and multigrain attas) extends the process of digestion, generating more acid in the stomach.

Eat your greens
Salads help the stomach produce digestive enzymes (which are alkaline), that neutralise the acid created when the stomach is digesting cooked food.


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