Coughs of Summer: Barbecue Cough & Acid Reflux
What are your favorite foods for a barbecue – ribs, burgers, buffalo wings, hot dogs, baked beans, potato salad with bacon? Do you wash them down with soda, lemonade, mint tea, iced coffee or beer? Round them out with corn chips, French fries, ice cream or brownies? Well, no wonder you get heartburn after a barbecue! All these foods are high on the list of acid-reflux-causing foods.
And did you know that acid reflux is one of the main triggers for coughs, when the person is not sick with a cold or flu? The acid from your stomach gets up into your esophagus and your cough reflex kicks in because your body wants to get rid of the irritant – except it doesn’t work because you can’t cough out the acid, so you just keep coughing, an annoying persistent cough.
The best way to avoid this, of course, is to avoid the offending foods. You also want to avoid things that allow the backflow of acid up into the esophagus:
- avoid cigarettes, alcohol, and a long list of common medications.
- avoid eating within a few hours of going to bed
- avoid lying flat — instead, prop your head up on several pillows to keep your stomach acid where it belongs.
But you do need that acid in your stomach! Here’s why
- it digests your food
- it helps absorb minerals like calcium, which you need for your bones
(that’s why drugs that reduce stomach acid can cause osteoporosis).
- It helps kill any incoming microbes that could cause diarrhea or food poisoning.
So a drug that reduces stomach acid, like Tums or Nexium or Prilosec, is not a good solution.
Let’s say you watch your diet most of the time but you want to indulge in those heartburn-inducing foods on special occasions like the Fourth of July.
Here’s a simple solution:
- apple cider vinegar, an old-fashioned remedy for dozens of common ailments.
- Instructions: add a teaspoonful in a little water before you eat. It’s easy to take; it tastes like slightly tart apple juice.
For an ongoing problem with acid reflux, here are some natural solutions:
- Gutsy Chewy chewing gum has apple cider vinegar plus plant remedies like licorice and papaya to control heartburn.
- Heartburn-Free from Enzymatic Therapy: 10 doses of the active ingredient (orange peel extract) can reduce acid reflux for several months, without reducing the stomach acid you need to digest your food.
- Esophageal Guardian by Life Extension, which creates a kind of floating barrier at the top of your stomach to block the acid from flowing upwards.
Take advantage of these natural solutions at your next barbecue and enjoy freedom from your acid-reflux-induced cough!