Most of us have experienced that intense burning in our chests that feels like we may become a fire-breathing dragon at that very moment. This uncomfortable, often downright painful, condition is heartburn, which is caused by acid reflux. If you’re in need of relief, you’re in luck. Today we’re exploring natural remedies for heartburn.
So, what is happening in our bodies that make our chests feel like we need to call the fire department? Acid from the stomach is making its way back up the esophagus causing the burning sensation we know as heartburn. It’s a result of the lower esophageal sphincter relaxing and “opening the door” for acid to return to the esophagus. Heartburn is most often triggered by fatty foods, overeating or eating right before lying down. It can also occur from consuming too much alcohol, acidic foods like citrus fruits, spicy foods and caffeine. Prolonged heartburn that cannot be relieved with antacids or natural remedies within two weeks may be a sign of GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Next time you feel your chest is on fire, try these natural remedies for heartburn:
Herbs: Several herbs have shown positive potential to combat heartburn including caraway, chamomile, licorice, milk thistle and ginger root. Many of these are found in Iberogast, which can be a good natural alterative to over-the-counter antacids.
Milk: Milk coats the lining of the stomach and has acid-reducing calcium, which can create a temporary buffer for acid reflux. Be sure to drink low-fat milk and only about one cup at a time to avoid filling up with too many fats.
Almonds: Eating just three or four almonds after meals can neutralize stomach acids. Now that’s a tasty and nutritious way to deal with heartburn!
Aloe Vera Juice: Aloe Vera can do more than soothe a sunburn. Drinking half a cup of Aloe Vera juice can decrease inflammation in the stomach and esophagus and keep heartburn at bay.
Bananas: Super ripe bananas reduce stomach acids as a natural antacid. Try eating one everyday to see if that does the trick.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Oddly, consuming more acid may help with heartburn. Sometimes the lower esophageal sphincter loosens because it senses that the stomach doesn’t have acid and therefore it doesn’t need to block acid. When you introduce acid like that from a few teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, you are sending the message to this gatekeeper to keep the doors closed.
Gum: Believe it or not, chewing sugar-free gum can really help relieve heartburn. Gum creates more saliva which naturally reduces acid. Plus, it makes you swallow more often and push the acid back down to its proper place in your stomach.
Baking Soda: Balancing your stomach pH can neutralize acid effectively. Sodium bicarbonate, aka baking soda, works nicely. Mix one teaspoon with a cup of water several times daily for best results.
Melatonin: This natural sleep aid is known to relieve heartburn as well. Be careful to check drug interactions as melatonin should not be taken with certain medications.
Dress for Success: Don’t wear tight fitting clothes or belts that put pressure on your tummy. This may encourage acid to return to the esophagus rather than staying put in the stomach.
Eat Right: Think about what triggers your heartburn and when it occurs. Try to avoid foods that upset your stomach and cause heartbur