13 Natural Heartburn Home Remedies Everyone Should Know
Did you know that 60 million Americans experience heartburn and acid reflux symptoms at least once a week? Here are safe, natural remedies for heartburn and acid reflux.
Are you suffering from heartburn?iStock/g-stockstudio
Heartburn is caused by acid reflux, which is the regurgitation of partially digested liquids or foods that have mixed with stomach acid. You might also have these silent symptoms of acid reflux. This acidic mix makes its way into your esophagus and throat where it causes irritation. Anything that increases pressure on your abdomen can push the contents of your stomach up into the esophagus, including eating too much, obesity, and pregnancy. Occasional heartburn is nothing to worry about, but frequent heartburn can lead to chronic digestive disorders. How can you find relief? Here are some heartburn home remedies to try.
One of the heartburn home remedies is gum. Chewing gum increases your production of saliva, an alkaline that helps neutralize the acids in regurgitated foods that cause a burning sensation.
Drink a glass of wateriStock/Anna Bryukhanova
In a Greek study, water worked faster than several ulcer medications to raise the pH level in your gut and relieve heartburn symptoms. (Here are some silent signs your “heartburn” might actually be allergies.)
Change your body positioniStock/OJO_Images
Stand up straight instead of slouching after meals to help food and acid stay in your stomach and out of your esophagus. Try sleeping on your side instead of your stomach, and elevate your head and upper body when you lie down. This simple fixes can greatly reduce heartburn and acid reflux symptoms, making it one of the greatest heartburn home remedies. (Be sure to avoid these foods that make heartburn worse.)
Practice deep breathing exercisesiStock/nd3000
Deep breathing is one of the heartburn home remedies that anyone can do. Deep breathing exercises can reduce the amount of air swallowed and strengthen the muscles surrounding the lower esophageal sphincter, relieving some acid reflux symptoms. And the breathing exercises are unbelievably simple: just breathe in deeply, breathe out slowly. An Austrian study showed that breath-training exercises helped GERD sufferers, a chronic digestive disorder caused by acid reflux, “significantly” within 4 weeks. At a 9-month check-in, the participants who were still using the breathing exercises reported continued improvements in their acid reflux symptoms. (Is it a heart attack or heartburn? Here are some lifesaving ways to tell the difference.)
Avoid foods that can cause heartburniStock/Geber86
Common culprits of heartburn include coffee, chocolate, soda, alcohol, meat, dairy, spicy foods, fried foods, and acidic foods. Here are some other foods to avoid when you have acid reflux.
Eat protein-rich meals and avoid fatty mealsiStock/kirin_photo
Meals packed with protein have been shown to increase the lower esophageal sphincter’s pressure, making it stronger against acid reflux and one of the best heartburn home remedies. Fatty foods, however, decrease pressure on the LES, making acid reflux and heartburn more likely. (By the way, if you take acid reflux meds, your liver might be in trouble.)
Lose weight and eat smaller mealsiStock/MaximShebeko
Obesity puts pressure on the abdomen, resulting in stomach contents being forced up the esophagus. Large, heavy meals also increase pressure on the abdomen and lead to acid reflux. Eating smaller meals and dropping a few pounds is one of the heartburn home remedies that work.
Quit smokingiStock/Robert Herhold
Tobacco contains chemicals that damage your lower esophageal sphincter, the set of muscles responsible for keeping stomach contents out of your esophagus. When this band of muscles becomes too weak, regurgitated food and stomach acid can easily make their way into your esophagus. Besides following these heartburn home remedies, these tips will help you quit smoking naturally so you can finally say goodbye to heartburn for good.
Sip a baking soda concoctioniStock/Peter Burnett
Baking soda is alkaline, which means it neutralizes stomach acid and makes for one of the best heartburn home remedies. Mix ½ teaspoon baking soda and a few drops of lemon juice in ½ cup warm water. Don’t forget to add the lemon juice! It dispels some of the gas baking soda creates in the stomach when it contacts stomach acid. Here are some other heartburn home remedies and GERD remedies to consider.
Find some fenneliStock/MarkSkalny
One of the most popular heartburn home remedies around the world, fennel seeds contain at least 16 compounds that sooth stomach spasms. Put 3 teaspoons of the seeds in a coffee grinder and place in a heat-resistant bowl or saucepan. Add 3 cups of boiling water, cover, and steep for 10 minutes, then strain. That makes 3 cups of tea; drink in 1 cup portions throughout the day, preferably on an empty stomach. Here are some medical reasons it’s never good to ignore heartburn.
Calm the burn with chamomileiStock/Ivan Bajic
In Germany, where they take herbal medicine very seriously, chamomile is one of the most popular heartburn home remedies. It contains some 20 compounds that ease spasms, plus other compounds that have a gentle sedative effect. Use one tea bag per cup of boiling water, cover and steep for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bag and drink. Shoot for having 3 cups a day on an empty stomach, and continue for two or three weeks. Then take a break for a week or two.
Mix the sour with the sweetiStock/nitrub
Honey and vinegar is one of the old Amish heartburn home remedies. Mix a teaspoon of honey with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water. Drink 30 minutes before you eat, and you just might avoid heartburn. Here are more health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
Toss in some herbsiStock/La_vanda
Many herbs are known to ease your digestion. Among them: mint, dill, caraway, horse-radish, bay, fennel, tarragon, marjoram, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. No matter what you’re cooking up, chances are there’s an herb that complements it. Use one or more liberally, especially if you’re cooking something that you know might lead to heartburn.