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Heartburns: causes and cures

health and fitness Updated: May 28, 2013 15:13 IST
Dr Anjali Mukerjee
Dr Anjali Mukerjee
Hindustan Times
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Are there any food or fruits that can avoid or control heartburn?
The most effective way to control heartburn is to identify the causative factors. Try to eat small meals and switch over to alkaline-forming food like watermelon, mangoes, apples, guava, pears, potatoes, bottle gourd (dudhi) and Ridge guard (turi). Eat bananas as the alkaline ash present in them correct the acidosis caused by acid forming diets. Honey, dates, corn, millets, mushrooms, raisins and curd also have an alkalising effect. The juices of most vegetables (cucumber, cabbage, coriander and carrot) are highly alkaline in nature. So incorporate them in your daily diet. Green juices (wheat grass juice) are more alkalising, as they are rich in potassium and magnesium. However, whilst these juices help restore alkalinity, it is important to make other lifestyle changes such as stress reduction, proper food intake and regular exercise in order to remain in good health.

I am 39 years old and have a fractured ankle. Can you suggest vegetarian foods that can speed up the healing process? Also, I’ve read that the fluid in the joints dries up with age. Is this true? What foods can prevent arthritis and pain in the joints?
The healing process during fractures can speed up with an intake of a well-balanced and nutrient-dense diet, especially rich in vitamin D and K, calcium, zinc and vitamin C which helps in collagen formation. Increase the intake of green leafy vegetables, soy bean, sesame seeds, Brussels sprouts and pumpkin seeds, and restrict smoking, alcohol and red meats. As you age, you may experience dryness and osteoarthritis due to wear and tear of joints. The omega–3 fats found in fish, flaxseed, green vegetables, walnuts, soy bean and other pulses helps in reducing inflammation and pain in the joints. Gamma–linolenic acid (GLA), found in evening primrose oil, borage seed oil and black currant oil, also helps to reduce pain by preventing blood platelets from sticking together, thus improving blood flow and reducing inflammation.

I’ve been told that medicines don’t really help when one has the flu. So what foods or drinks can I have to get better?
Prevention is always better then cure. So build your immunity throughout the year by increasing your intake of protein, fruits and vegetables. Certain foods help to thin out and aid lung secretions in such a way that they do not clog air passages and can also get the mucous coughed up or normally expelled. Such foods are referred to as mucokinetic (mucus-moving) agents and include foods items like chilli peppers, onion, garlic and mustard oil, and curry spices like garam masala and cloves. Stay hydrated with plenty of water and have citrus fruits to increase your vitamin C intake. Hot beverages work better, so have green tea, chamomile or peppermint herbal tea (rich in antioxidants), or sip hot water with a dash of ginger juice. Get proper rest and reduce stress, smoking and intake of caffeine for faster recovery.

Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total, a nutrition&counselling centre.