The food or drinks that we consume goes through a lot of processes from our mouth to our stomach and all the way to our intestines, for the nutrients to be absorbed into our bodies.
Our stomach lining has an important job to do. It is designed to produce acid and enzymes that help break down food so we can extract the nutrients our body needs. But in order to protect itself from acid damage, the lining also secretes mucus that acts as the protective layer.
But sometimes, the lining gets inflamed, making the acid, enzymes and mucus secretion much lesser. We commonly know this type of inflammation as gastritis.
Although gastritis in itself can be quite harmless (and easily manageable), some types of gastritis can lead to ulcers sores in the stomach lining) or even cancer, if it’s left untreated.
This is important to note, because yes we know that gastritis may at times lead to pain, nausea, heartburn, and vomiting, but most of the time, it can go on without any detectable symptoms at all.
Some of you may have heard or even are used to the fact that drinking a thick, glass of milk can soothe and relieve heartburn.
But some might beg to differ, saying that when you feel that burning sensation up your throat, it’s of the utmost importance to avoid milk at all cost.
So which one should you actually follow?
Milk is in the essence, slightly acidic but it is still considered far less than the gastric acid naturally produced by our stomach.
So it’s no surprise why doctors would, in the past, recommend milk to patients with heartburn problems, thinking that milk could neutralize the stronger acid and help ease the discomfort.
Milk does help provide a temporary buffer to gastric acid, but studies have shown that the nutrients in milk, particularly fat, may stimulate the stomach to produce more acid.
So yes, it may give you that brief relief, but it can make you feel sick again after a short period of relief, or may even make the symptoms much worse. In other words, milk may have many benefits but settling an upset stomach isn’t one of them.
“You don’t have to avoid milk (a serving or two a day is fine), but drinking more milk won’t help the ulcer heal.”
Some foods tend to make gastritis or peptic ulcer symptoms much worse, so it’s a good idea to give up coffee, tea, cola, alcohol and fruit juices until the ulcer is healed.
And if there are any particular foods that upset your stomach even more, you should probably avoid them as well.
Talk with a doctor if you’re concerned about ongoing pain or discomfort in your stomach. Your doctor may recommend taking antacids or other drugs to reduce acid in the stomach and help determine the best course of action for you.
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Hammond, C. (2013). Does milk settle an upset stomach?. [online] Bbc.com. Available at: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130904-does-milk-calm-an-upset-stomach.
NIH News in Health. (2012). Gut Feelings About Gastritis. [online] Available at: https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2012/11/gut-feelings-about-gastritis.
Khatri, M. (2017). Can Natural Remedies Cure Heartburn?. [online] WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/home-heartburn-remedies-natural-remedies-heartburn#.
Lehman, S. (2019). Is Milk Good for Treating an Ulcer?. [online] Verywell Health. Available at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/is-milk-good-for-an-ulcer-2506992.
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