Do you suffer from regular bouts of heartburn? In this article you’ll discover some natural remedies that may help relieve the symptoms of heartburn. You’ll also learn what changes you can make to your diet and your lifestyle that may prevent acid reflux.
Conventional heartburn treatment usually consists of taking either over the counter or prescription medications such as antacids, H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). One of the biggest problems with these treatments is that they only address the symptoms. They do nothing to eliminate the cause.
According to Jeff Martin, nutritionist and author of Heartburn No More, there is, a more natural approach. Not only can it spare you the trip to the pharmacy and potentially save you a lot of money… it also helps tackle the root cause of heartburn.
Simple home remedies for heartburn
Apple Cider Vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar is acetic acid and has an alkalizing effect on the body. It reduces the acidity of the stomach but doesn’t make it to alkaline to prevent your stomach from properly digesting food. It is available in tablet, capsule or liquid form.
Liquid apple cider vinegar can be taken as is (take about 1 table spoon). However, most people prefer to dilute it. Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 table spoon of honey in a glass of warm water and drink this.
Bananas act as a natural antacid and can be eaten either dried or fresh.
Drinking juiced vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots, beets and radishes helps to alkalize your body and reduce the acidity in your stomach.
Fennel has traditionally been used to treat heartburn and indigestion and has been shown to sooth muscle spasms in the digestive tract. They can be taken as is. Just take a teaspoon of fennel seeds after dinner and chew them well.
A more popular method of taking fennel is in the form of tea. Add two teaspoons of fennel seeds to a cup of boiling water, either directly, or using a tea infuser. Let this steep for 10 minutes, then strain it using a colander (if you didn’t use the tea infuser) and drink it.
Apples have an alkalizing effect on the body and are considered a great home remedy for heartburn. While apples are alkaline-forming, they are also acidic. Eating an apple stimulates saliva production. Saliva helps to neutralize stomach acid. Eating an apple (any kind) after your evening meal can dramatically relieve heartburn.
Ginger root has been used since ancient times to treat nausea and as a remedy for heartburn. You can make ginger tea by adding 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger root to a cup of boiling water and letting it steep for 10 minutes.
Chamomile has long been used for numerous digestive problems, as well as for stress relief. It can be used to neutralize stomach acid and to relieve inflammation of the esophagus caused by acid reflux. The best way to use it is by making chamomile tea. Add 1 teaspoon of chamomile to a cup of boiling water. Let this steep for about 10 minutes. Then strain it and drink it.
Slippery elm is an old folk remedy that has traditionally been used to treat numerous ailments such as constipation, diarrhea, sore throat, hemorrhoids and heartburn. It is said to thicken the coating of the esophagus, thereby reducing irritation from acid reflux. Try adding 1 teaspoon of slippery elm powder to a cup of hot water and drink a few of these throughout the day.
Aloe Vera Juice:
Aloe Vera juice is another heartburn home remedy that be used to soothe irritation of the esophagus. Its alkaline properties can also help neutralize excess acid in the stomach. Drink half a cup of Aloe Vera juice before eating a meal. Make sure that you use only Aloe Vera juice that has been specifically prepared for internal use.
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) acts as a natural antacid. Add half a teaspoon of baking soda (about 2.5 grams) to half a glass (12o milliliters) of water. Add a few drops of lemon juice. This helps to reduce the gas created by the baking soda in the stomach when it comes in contact with stomach acid. Allow the baking soda to dissolve completely before drinking.
– Maximum dosage: Take a maximum of 7 doses over a 24 hour period. You should also avoid taking baking soda for longer than 2 weeks.
– Warnings: As baking soda has a high sodium content, you should not use this mixture if you are on a salt-restricted diet. Also, baking soda should not be used if you when you are experiencing stomach cramps, gas or directly after you’ve eaten a large meal.
Heartburn Home Remedies – Foods To Avoid
Certain foods and drinks are known to trigger heartburn, so you might wish to avoid them as much as possible. Keep in mind that every person is unique. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep a ‘heartburn diary’ in which you track which foods are the most potent triggers for you personally.
Some of the foods and drinks you may wish to avoid if you suffer from heartburn are:
- High-fat foods: Especially fried foods are known to be a major cause of acid reflux. High-fat meats and high-fat dairy products should also be avoided. These take longer to digest and cause an increased build-up of stomach acid. The exception are omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish and fish oil, which are actually powerful anti-inflammatory agents.
- Alcohol: Alcohol can irritate the stomach and relax the lower esophageal sphincter, causing reflux.
- Coffee: Coffee and other caffeine containing beverages can lead to increased acidity. Try to limit your daily intake of coffee to two cups or less.
- Chocolate: Chocolate is high in fat, cocoa and caffeine; all of which can cause reflux and heartburn. If you must eat chocolate, it’s best to go for dark chocolate.
- Soda: Soda and other bubbly drinks contain carbon dioxide which can cause stomach distention and push the contents of the stomach up into the esophagus.
- Mint: Peppermint, spearmint and mint based herbal teas can cause reflux. You should avoid foods containing strong mints.
- Acidic foods: Acidic foods such as oranges and tomatoes as well as cruciferous vegetables such as onions, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts may promote the opening of the esophageal sphincter and increase acid reflux.
Lifestyle Changes To Reduce Heartburn
Here are some lifestyle changes that can reduce the symptoms of acid reflux or might even prevent it from occurring in the first place:
Excess abdominal fat can increase the pressure against the stomach, thereby forcing its contents into the esophagus. If you are overweight and you suffer from heartburn, shedding those extra pounds should be your top priority.
Reduce portion size:
Large meals are another contributor to heartburn. Try to reduce your portion size or eat smaller meals spread out over the day. Eating smaller and more frequent meals helps to reduce the production of stomach acid.
Nicotine can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax and irritate the stomach lining. This makes smokers more prone to heartburn.
Try not to bend over, slouch or lay down after having eaten a meal. This can put pressure on your stomach and force stomach acid into your esophagus, causing heartburn. Don’t eat at least 3 hours before you go to bed.
Don’t eat too quickly:
Take your time during meals. Chew your food well and savor its taste. Chewing is the first part of the digestion process. Chewing thoroughly allows for a more efficient break down of food by the enzymes in your saliva.
Don’t wear tight clothes:
Wearing loose clothing and loosening your belt after meals helps reduce the pressure on your stomach.
Stress can increase heartburn. A good way to reduce stress is by regular exercise. Other good forms of stress reduction are deep breathing exercises, tai chi, yoga and relaxation exercises. You should also make sure you get enough sleep (between 7 and 8 hours per night).
We hope these heartburn home remedies, dietary tips and lifestyle considerations have been helpful to you. Keep in mind that every person is unique. What works for one person may not work for another. By applying these tips you will quickly discover what works for you and what doesn’t.
You can also try Jeff Martins method. Many people claim it has worked very successfully for them. You can learn more about it here
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