There are a lot of us who feel wary of eating a decadent dish because we are afraid of that burning sensation in the gut and throat that may follow. Heartburn is a common issue these days with stress level at an all time high. Holding down stressful jobs, eating unhealthy, not drinking enough water- this is the common reality for most of us. So if you do suffer from heartburn, before resorting to medication and drugs, try some of these non-invasive, natural remedies.
These are one of the best remedies to the painful, burning sensation in your stomach that almost makes you give up food and live on water. Sometimes it is caused by some typical fatty foods, called trigger foods. Almonds help in reducing the effect of acid reflux throughout the day if taken in the morning. Many heartburn patients have known to get relief from chewing a couple of raw almonds in the morning before breakfast. You can also replace regular milk with almond milk for best results.
2. Aloe Vera Juice
Although today most herbal remedies associated with aloe vera is related to lush hair or youthful skin, it has been used to relieve heartburn throughout the history of Europe. It soothes an acid damaged esophagus just like it treats burns. The aloe vera plant has thick, succulent leaves and the gel that oozes out of it can be diluted into a juice and consumed safely. In fact, it is so safe that FDA has approved it as a flavour additive. It reduces inflammation of the stomach, but it may act as a laxative for some people.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Though it sounds counterproductive, the acid in apple cider vinegar actually helps in breaking down fats easily. Another theory is more chemically relevant- the acetic acid present in apple cider vinegar is weaker than hydrochloric acid of stomach, so it acts as the buffer of acid level in stomach. Whatever be the reason, apple cider vinegar acts well against heartburn. Ingesting it raw may be disgusting, but drink a diluted solution. You can even toss a salad with apple cider vinegar or replace any vinegar required in your cooking by it. If you wish to drink it; you can add a bit of honey in the watered solution for best results.
4. Slippery Elm
Slippery elm is a demulcent herb, that is, it has cooling and soothing properties. It has been shown to help thickening of the gastric mucosa or the inner mucus lining of the stomach. This makes sure the acid and the stomach lining is separated by a thick, impenetrable boundary. You can steep a few leaves in warm water and have it after meals. You can also ass a tablespoon of the slippery elm to water and drink it before bedtime.
5. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile flowers are full of flavonoids and mucilages. The mucilage is responsible for soothing the lining of esophagus if you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux. Chamomile also reduces the amount of pepsin enzyme secreted by the stomach which is helpful as well because pepsin activity increases stomach acid production. Chamomile tea can be prepared by boiling a teaspoon of the herb in water and then letting it steep for some time. Drinking this concoction can relieve acid reflux irritation.
6. Baking Soda
This may sound more like an old wives’ tale, but there is a scientific explanation behind why baking soda is effective in keeping heartburn in check. According to Jacqueline Wolf, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, baking soda acts as a base and neutralizes the acid in your stomach. Since excess acid in the stomach is responsible for heartburn, this neutralization helps in minimizing acid reflux and the burning sensation deep in your throat and esophagus. Add a teaspoon to a cup of water to drink.
This is a natural remedy for acid reflux and general discomfort related to gastrointestinal problems. You can ingest ginger in any form; be it powdered, candied, or fresh. You can steep some ginger in warm water and drink the infusion. Infusing fresh ginger in tea is a good way of increasing your ginger intake. If you need immediate relief from heartburn, you can have a small amount of candied ginger. However, having too much ginger is counterproductive and may increase acid reflux. Limit ginger intake to 4 grams a day.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and acts as well as ginger to salve an acid damaged esophagus. If your heartburn and acid reflux has led to ulcer, you can use turmeric to soothe it. It has a slightly bitter taste, so eating it may put you off. You can buy turmeric herbal supplement at a drug store or herbal store. If you can’t find it at your local shop, try searching for vitamin shops online. You can also take liquid extract instead of pills. Ask your physician about what dosage is appropriate for you. However, those suffering from gall bladder problems should stay away from turmeric supplements.
In this aspect, research is limited. However, several studies have linked relief from heartburn with licorice. We know that our stomach has to be acidic to carry out its function properly. This is why using excessive antacids to combat acid reflux leads to weakened digestive function. Licorice has soothing properties that usually heal the root cause that lies beneath the problem of heartburn. DGL licorice tablets are best because they do not cause side effects like high blood pressure.
10. Chewing Gum
This is a very weird solution to heartburn, but the scientific explanation behind it is that chewing a piece of gum makes your jaws and salivary glands work overtime. This leads to excessive saliva secretion washes away acid from the gut and esophagus very quickly. In a study published in the Journal of Dental research, it was found that people suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms, got significant relief from heartburn on chewing sugar free gum for half an hour before a meal.
11. Eating Habits
We are used to consuming a lot of food that triggers excess acid production in our stomach, like heavy proteins. Apart from that, citrus fruits, fizzy drinks and carbonated water are also responsible for hyperacidity. If you have heartburn, your target is to minimize consumption of all these offenders. Smoking and alcohol intake weakens the pyloric sphincter- the sphincter that is supposed to keep the contents of the stomach to itself. Sometimes, certain medications cause acid reflux; in such cases, consult your physician for a change of drugs.
Exercising is the key to finding long term relief from any gastrointestinal problem. Exercising helps to charge up your metabolism, which in turn, allows easy digestion. This means you can eat heavy proteins without worrying about how it will cause acid reflux. Sometimes heartburns are aggravated by exercise or strenuous physical activities. If such is the case for you, talk to your doctor. It is most likely that unless you suffer from chronic heartburn, you will not have a problem with this. So concentrate on a healthier, acid-free diet, try some of the home remedies and then engage in exercise.
Now with these simple tips and remedies, heart burn will be the story of the past. Do try them out for they work wonders in treating and preventing a bad case of heart burn! Eat healthy and stay healthy!