We’ve all heard about the connection between stomach acid and heartburn, but did you know having too little of it can lead to the uncomfortable condition? Indeed, 80 percent of women over 40 don’t produce enough stomach acid, and a surprising 90 percent of heartburn is caused by low stomach acid, say Mayo Clinic researchers. The reason? The cap between the esophagus and the stomach is controlled by acid levels in the stomach; when levels are low, the cap loosens and acid flows into the esophagus.
“Over time, everybody’s acid production weakens,” says Medical Medium Anthony William. “Add the stress of everyday life, and our ability to make stomach acid burns out.” Luckily, with the addition of these delicious foods, you can bolster your stomach acid production, preventing illness and shedding stubborn weight in the process.
This aromatic mainstay is rich in sulfur compounds that inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria that damage stomach acid-producing cells by 33%. To get the benefits, add 2 tsp.of fresh minced garlic into sautéed vegetables, homemade salad dressings and/or dips each day.
The digestive enzymes in this sweet tropical fruit help break down any undigested food that may be stalling stomach acid production. Stir 1 cup of papaya into plain yogurt, blend it into a smoothie or dice it with pineapple and onions for a fruity salsa that’s great on chicken or served with tortilla chips.
Compounds in this peppery green trigger the release of gastric acid and enzymes to optimize digestion —enough to boost metabolism by 53% in one study. For best results, enjoy 2 cups of arugula daily, mixed with romaine and other veggies for a zingy salad or sautéed with olive oil and lemon juice as a side dish.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.