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healingways Banish Acid Reflux


Eating Alkaline Can Cure the Burn by Linda Sechrist


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early everyone has some reflux, the upward backflow of the stomach’s contents into the


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esophagus connecting the stomach with the throat, or even up into the throat itself. When it occurs more than twice a week, reflux can progress from a minor irritation causing heartburn to gastro- esophageal reflux disease, or GERD. When the throat is most affected, it’s called laryngopharyngeal reflux, or LPR. Untreated, LPR can damage the throat, airway, and lungs. If left un- treated, GERD can damage the digestive system and cause precancerous Barrett’s esophagus or even esophageal cancer. “In the United States, the preva- lence of esophageal cancer has increased 850 percent since 1975, according to National Cancer Institute statistics,” says Dr. Jamie Koufman who has been studying acid reflux for three decades as part of her pioneering work as a laryngologist, specializing in treating voice disorders and diseases of the larynx. She is founding director of the Voice Institute of New York and the primary author of Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure. Koufman prescribes combining science, medicine and culinary arts to treat the ailment, which she mainly blames on the acidification of the American diet, along with increases in saturated fats, high-fructose corn syrup and agricultural pesticides. Consider that almost all bottled or canned foods have an acidity level of 4 or lower on the pH scale—a key measurement in medicine, biology and nutrition, and significant in Koufman’s clinical research and conclusions from examining upwards of 250,000 patients. “Soft drinks are the major risk factor for reflux,” she notes. A single statistic from the American


Beverage Association highlights the problem: In 2010, the average 12-to- 29-year-old American consumed 160 gallons of acidified soft drinks, nearly a half-gallon a day. “Trends in the prevalence of reflux parallel soft drink consumption over time, especially in young people,” says Koufman. She clarifies that the term “acid re- flux” is misleading because the problem centers on the digestive enzyme pepsin, which is manufactured in the stomach to break down proteins into more easily digestible particles. It is activated by the acid in high-acid foods.


“If there is no protein around that needs digesting, pepsin can gnaw on the lining of your throat and esophagus,” explains Koufman, who is a professor of clinical otolaryngology at New York Medical College. She has seen many reflux cases misdiagnosed as something else. “It’s common for doctors to mistake reflux symptoms of hoarseness, postna- sal drip, chronic throat clearing, trouble


The wrong foods can eat us.


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