Studies have proven yogurt to be a time-tested, natural remedy for acid reflux or heartburn. Read on to find out three main advantages of yogurt that make it so effective against heartburn.
Probiotics are microorganisms such as bacteria and yeasts that are naturally found in the stomach. They are often referred to as ‘good bacteria’. Probiotics prevent ‘bad bacteria’ in the digestive tract from multiplying.
There is a theory that bad bacteria present in the stomach causes undigested food to ferment. This fermentation increases the volume of gas in the digestive tract. This gas, in turn, forces the esophageal sphincter to open. The esophageal sphincter is a bundle of muscles whose job is to prevent acid and food in the stomach from travelling back up into the esophagus. Due to it being forced to open, food from the stomach rushes back upwards into the esophagus. Keeping the bad bacteria under control can prevent this problem from arising in the first place.
Acid reflux causes inflammation of the digestive tract. Inflammation is the body’s natural immune response. However, this leads to bowel injury. Yogurt has beneficial microbes that reduce inflammation.
Calcium is a vital mineral for functioning of muscles. The muscles of the esophagus are responsible for many digestive processes. This includes contracting and pushing food down the esophagus (peristalsis) and contracting glands to secrete hormones. Calcium also strengthens the sphincter muscles that prevent acid reflux.
Since yogurt is a natural food, it is free of side effects for most people. Choosing the right yogurt from the myriad options available could seem mind boggling. Dr. Jamie A Koufman, M.D., F.A.C.S, and her team conducted a research to understand what kind of yogurt was best suited for acid reflux. Based on their findings, they recommend low fat yogurt with high pH numbers of 4.8 and above as it is less acidic, thus suited for acid reflux.
Anti-inflammatory effects of probiotic yogurt in inflammatory bowel disease patients.
British Society for Immunology, Clinical and Experimental Immunology
Norimasa Yoshida. (2007)
Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition 40 (1): 12-23
Vanderhoof, Jon A.; Young, Rosemary J. (1998)
Use of Probiotics in Childhood Gastrointestinal Disorders
Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition
Volume 27 – Issue 3 – pp 323-332