On a recent visit to my doctor for my yearly physical exam, he asked me if I’d had any new issues come up. I mentioned that after meals, I seemed to have a lot of gas in my stomach and burped a lot. No heartburn, but a lot of burping. I tried to figure out which foods may be a trigger, but several seemingly benign (to me) foods seemed to instigate the burps. Foods like chicken (roasted), rice, and even steamed veggies. The doc said that I may have an ulcer and wrote me a prescription for omneprazole, which is a proton pump inhibitor like prilosec and nexium. I didn’t want to start on any of those medications which decrease stomach acid, because by doing so, so minerals aren’t absorbed, namely calcium.

So I explored other, more natural options. What I found that seems to be working for me came as quite a surprise-sauerkraut juice. During my research, I found that as one ages, stomach acid production actually decreases, which keeps food in the stomach longer and fermenting, causing gas. So I actually needed more stomach acid. Looking back, it makes sense now, as I have long been a fan of apple cider vinegar (ACV) for blood sugar control and have espoused it’s benefits for weight loss. In the past, when I had a case of the burps, I’d take two tablespoons of ACV with four ounces of water and the burps would disappear within a minute or two.

My research also showed several other fermented foods such as kefir and yogurt, and cranberries also helped with stomach acid. Several reports mentioned probiotics, but I haven’t had much success with them.

If you suffer from reflux or heartburn or gas, why not give some of the above foods a try? There are no side effects like there is with the medications-one can become dependent on proton pump inhibitors, and the jury’s out on the long-term effects.

Stay well, digest well.

John R Blilie, M.S.