Heartburn is a nasty thing and it’s all too common. Thankfully, heartburn relief is not hard to come by and there are a number of heartburn remedies that can be administered quickly and effectively to get you back on track.
Heartburn, or acid reflux, is when there is a burning sensation in the chest that not only creates some serious discomfort, it can be very scary. Sometimes it can be so bad it feels like a heart attack. It can be caused by something you ate or a chronic condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Acid reflux may affect about half of Americans, mainly because of diet and the presence of a particular bacteria called H.pylori, which is something you were born with or without.
Acid reflux occurs when the muscles in your esophagus relax and allow acid to come back up into the esophagus. Normally this valve stays closed, but in certain situations—you have H.pylori, ate too much, ate something spicy, fatty, processed or don’t have enough stomach acid, it can come back up and cause heartburn.
When it hits, it hurts and you want quick relief. Here are some natural heartburn remedies you can try!
15 Natural Ways to Treat Heartburn
1. Loosen your belt: Because heartburn is caused by acid coming back up your esophagus, you want to give your body the best opportunity to keep it down. One simple way to do this is to loosen any items that might make that process more difficult. If your clothing is too tight—particularly around your waist—loosen it. This could involve loosening up your belt, dress, etc. If it’s a recurring problem, wear looser fitting clothing to meals.
2. Stand up straight: You might not realize it, but your posture can lead to acid reflux. If you’re sitting or lying down, the angle or compression on your stomach can make acid reflux more likely. A quick fix when you’re experiencing heartburn may simply be to move from a seated or lying position to a stand. If you are standing, try to stand a bit taller by lengthening and widening the torso. Chin up!
3. Baking soda: Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is another way to handle heartburn quickly and naturally—it’s also readily available in most homes. Dissolve a teaspoon in a glass of water and drink it slowly.
4.Chew some gum: Chewing gum can help neutralize stomach acid and increase saliva, which can help dilute or wash away acid that has accumulated in the esophagus. If you experience acid reflux regularly, be sure to carry a pack of gum in your pocket!
5. Apple cider vinegar: Because acid reflux is mostly caused by too little stomach acid, sometimes adding a little is the best defense. It might not taste great, but apple cider vinegar can offer quick heartburn relief. To dilute the flavor, add a tablespoon to a large glass of water and drink it slowly.
6. Ginger: Ginger can offer heartburn relief by blocking acid and suppressing H. pylori. In fact, it may even work better than certain acid reflux medications at preventing stomach ulcers. To prevent acid reflux, steep three slices of fresh ginger root in two cups of hot water for a half hour, then consume it about 20-minutes before a meal.
7. Chamomile: Chamomile can help relax the stomach and reduce inflammation that may pay a role in acid reflux. Drink it before or after a meal, especially after dinner because it may help you sleep.
8. B vitamins: B vitamins can help reduce your risk of acid reflux; specifically vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine) and B9 (folate). High folic acid intake may reduce acid reflux by up to 40%, while low levels of riboflavin and pyridoxine are linked to an increased risk of heartburn. You can make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of these nutrients by taking a daily multivitamin and making sure your diet is rich in nutrient-dense foods like liver, asparagus, spinach, okra and beans.
9. Avoid trigger foods: Although these foods differ between individuals, there are a few types of foods that are commonly associated with heartburn. These include (but are not limited to) caffeinated beverages like soda, coffee, tea, energy drinks; chocolate, peppermint, garlic, onions, milk; fatty, spicy, greasy or fried foods; acidic foods like citrus fruits/juices and tomato-based products.
10. Avoid big meals and eating late and night: Large meals can put a lot of pressure and your digestive system and increase the likelihood of acid reflux. Stay away from eating big meals and instead try to eat smaller portions sizes throughout the day to void becoming overly hungry. Also, try not to eat big meals two to three hours before bed. Lying down after eating can cause heartburn and make it much more difficult to sleep.
11. Take your time and relax: If you’re wolfing down a meal quickly it’s much more likely that you’ll experience heartburn. Instead, take time to enjoy your meals, stress free! Adequately chew and swallow instead of just shoveling the food in!
12. Don’t light up a post-meal cigarette: Heartburn and acid reflux are yet another reason you should try to quit smoking. Having a cigarette after a meal—or really any time—can irritate the GI tract and relax the esophageal muscles that keep stomach acid where it’s supposed to be.
13. Licorice: As mentioned, often times heartburn is caused by a lack of stomach acid. Licorice is acidic and when consumed can add a little more acid to settle things down. You can purchase it in supplement form as a capsule or chewable; just make sure to get DGL licorice root extract. Take it just before meals.
14. Aloe vera juice: Aloe vera juice can reduce inflammation in the esophagus and stomach, which can prevent heartburn. Drink a half-cup before meals. Because it’s a laxative, you might want to be careful about how regularly you consume it, or look for a brand that’s had the laxative compounds removed.
15. Slippery elm: Although research is lacking and inconclusive, slippery elm has been used for centuries as a way to relieve heartburn, GERD and other illnesses. The extract thickens the mucous membrane around the lining of the stomach to create a barrier against acid. If you want to give it a try, you can get it at your nearest health food store. Take a couple of teaspoons with water before meals and bedtime.
Get Heartburn Relief Quick With These Defenses Against Acid Reflux
Don’t let that hiccup turn into a burning sensation. Try these prevention tips and remedies to handle acid reflux quickly and effectively so you can enjoy your meals in total comfort!
Related Article: What Does Heartburn Feel Like? A Basic Guide to Heartburn
Sources for Today’s Article:
Carey, E., “Quick Relief for Heartburn,” Healthline web site, July 22, 2015; http://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/heartburn-relief#1.
Mercola, J., “15 Natural Remedies for the Treatment of Acid Reflux and Ulcers,” Mercola web site, April 28, 2014; http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/04/28/acid-reflux-ulcer-treatment.aspx.
Fries, W., “Nighttime Heartburn: 12 Sleep Tips,” Web MD, March 3, 2010; http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/america-asks-9/nighttime-heartburn-sleep-tips.
Murray, C., “5 Home Remedies for Heartburn,” Health web site; http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20527745,00.html, last accessed January 22, 2016.