Have you ever felt a burning sensation in your chest or felt nauseous after eating a heavy meal?
Chronic heartburn is a diagnosis known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Heartburn is indigestion that is caused by stomach acid that has flown back up into the esophagus. Other common symptoms include burping, flatulence, and hiccuping.
Acid reflux is actually caused by your stomach not having enough acid and an overload of the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria.
When your stomach doesn’t have enough acid, it churns violently to digest the food to compensate for the little acid that it does have. During this process, the stomach content spills upwards, towards the esophagus.
The stomach has two “doors”, or sphincter, that keeps the acid in their place. The one on top of the stomach is called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and the bottom one is called the pyloric valve.
What to Avoid During Acid Reflux
There are tons of medications available now without a prescription. Acid reflux medications are among the world’s top selling drugs, and accounts for billions of dollars in sales annually!
Overall, GERD affects 33% of the population in the United States, and 44% have symptoms at least once a month.
Before you pop an antacid, know that you are causing more harm to your body than good. The damage is not worth the quick fix of being able to eat whatever you want.
Antacids were never created to be given out like candy. Initially, they were prescribed for people who were greatly suffering from severe ulcers.
What kind of harm are these acid blockers doing to our bodies? These medications decrease the acid that is causing the reflux, but your stomach actually needs this acid to keep the rest of your body balanced.
The acid breaks down protein and food, activates digestive enzymes in the small intestine, prevents toxic overgrowth of bacteria, and aids in absorption of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B12.
Without proper acid production, your body can go through vitamin and mineral deficiencies. It can also cause acidic blood (cancer causing), leading to irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression, dementia, anemia, fatigue, osteoporosis, fractures, and more.
Factors That Cause Heartburn (Acid Reflux)
Acid reflux can be caused by certain foods and lifestyle choices. Types of food to avoid are: fried, spicy, citrus, coffee, alcohol, processed, raw foods, excessive fiber, and hard to digest foods.
Lifestyles that contribute to heartburn are: smoking and drinking, obesity, sedentary lives, food sensitivities and allergies, and stress.
Find out what factors aggravate your heartburn and remove them to help alleviate your symptoms.
Below are some natural remedies to treat heartburn without having to pop another antacid.
Natural Remedies for Heartburn
1. Yellow Mustard
Vinegar, zinc, and turmeric (stimulates digestion) in mustard neutralizes the acid in the stomach.
Mustard is an alkalizing food (balances the body’s pH levels) that is slightly acidic. The exact reason on how yellow mustard works on acid reflux is unknown, but it works, and it works fast!
Method: Eat 1 teaspoon of yellow mustard. If the mustard taste is too strong, you can wash it down with some warm water or eat it with a saltine cracker.
The heartburn may initially feel worse, but after a few minutes the symptoms should subside.
The more probiotics you have throughout your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the better your digestive system will function.
Taking probiotics daily allows nutrients and food to be digested properly. It also decreases the amount of harmful H. pylori (heartburn causing) bacteria you have in your system.
Probiotics help replenish the bacteria that is lost, due to other medications that you may be taking. “Good bacteria” balances the natural beneficial flora in the small intestine. This prevents the bloating and gas build up that can cause food to back up into the stomach.
Probiotics not only works on symptoms of acid reflux, but it also deals with the root cause of it. It may take a few weeks to get your GI tract back in working order, so continue taking it consistently everyday for best results.
Method: Make sure to take probiotic-containing foods year round. Naturally occurring foods can be found in: water or milk Kefir, kombucha drinks, non-commercial unflavored yogurts, fermented foods, sauerkraut.
Quality probiotic capsules can also be found at your local health food store or online.
3. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) boosts our immune system and decreases the amount of acid reflux causing bacteria in our gut. The vinegar also stimulates acid production in the stomach, which causes efficient digestion of our food.
ACV is an alkalizing food, which balances the body’s pH level. 7.4 (slightly alkaline) is the ideal state you want your body to be in, to be able to fight off microbes and cancerous cells. There are home kits that can easily test the pH level of your water, food, saliva, or urine.
Buy organic, raw, unfiltered vinegar, and make sure it comes in a glass bottle. Plastic bottles can cause toxins to leech into the vinegar. On a plus side, apple cider vinegar is safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Method: Drink 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and wash it down with water. Try holding it in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. This stimulates the saliva production and initiates the stomach in producing digestive acid.
If 1 teaspoon is too much (the smell can be overwhelming at first), you can start off by placing 4 drops of vinegar directly onto your tongue for fast results.
4. Baking Soda
Baking soda (also known as Sodium Bicarbonate) is another quick fix for heartburn.
It’s good at quickly neutralizing the pH levels in your stomach and aids in faster digestion.
Method: Drink 1 teaspoon mixed with room temperature or warm water. Do this every other day, for a month.
Calcium is a popular and well known remedy for GERD. It is one of the main ingredient used in many of the over-the-counter antacids.
Calcium is needed to keep a good pH balance and to help aid in proper digestion.
Magnesium and Vitamin D is important when it comes to calcium because they are needed to properly absorb calcium into the body. So make sure you take these supplements daily, along with your calcium.
Method: Take 1,000 milligrams of calcium orotate (the most effective form of calcium) supplements per day, with at least 2000 IU’s of Vitamin D3.
- IntraCal Calcium – Global Healing Center
- Kirkland Signature Extra Strength Vitamin D
- Life Extension Magnesium Capsules
Almonds are an ancient Middle Eastern remedy for ulcers. Almonds are high in oil content which soothes the acid in the stomach. The high fiber content of the nut aids digestion.
Organic almond milk is also a good alternative to the raw nut. You can also mix oatmeal, almond milk, and bananas for a powerhouse effect. This meal is great for breakfast for adults and kids.
Method: Eat 4-5 raw almonds after each meal. If your heartburn is severe, eat a handful of almonds. The effects should take place in about 30 minutes.
7. Fennel Seeds
Fennel is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. It has been used widely around the world to aid in digestion.
Fennel contains a compound called Anethole, which relaxes the stomach and prevents spasms and flatulence.
Fennel seed is safe for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children. The seed is known to increase breast milk in nursing mothers, while fennel water is often used to treat colicky newborn babies.
Method: After a meal, try some fennel tea–seeped from the seeds.
Or just chew 1 teaspoon of whole seeds slowly after your meal.
8. Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe Vera is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. Aloe is great for burns, wounds, wrinkles, canker sores, constipation, and maintaining blood sugars.
This miracle plant contains loads of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. When ingested, aloe soothes the inflamed esophagus and stomach lining from damage caused by stomach acid.
Method: Drink 2-3 ounces of aloe vera juice 15-20 minutes before meals.
Mix aloe juice with 8 ounces of coconut water and any fresh fruit juice.
9. Pickles & Pickle Juice
Pickles and its juices act fast on heartburn. The vinegar content helps to neutralize stomach pH levels within minutes.
Pickles and are great at kicking aside acid reflux symptoms, especially for women who are pregnant and breast feeding.
Method: Eat a few pickles or drink pickle juice during active heartburn. Your heartburn should go away in 10-15 minutes.
Fruits & Vegetables
Vegetables and fruits (except for citrus fruits) are a great way to combat heartburn symptoms.
Who knew that our own refrigerators could also our medicine cabinets?
Celery, apples, papaya, banana, and cabbage are some of the known foods that soothe the stomach.
Celery has a naturally alkaline pH. It also has a mildly sedative property that soothes the stomach muscles.
Apples contain tartaric and malic acid, which balances the stomach’s pH level. It also contains pectic, a natural fiber source that promotes proper digestion.
The saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is true, especially when it comes to heartburn. When you feel an attack coming on, take 5 bites of an apple.
Papaya contains papain, an effective protein and carbohydrate dissolving enzyme.
Papain is also used to speed up metabolism, decrease inflammation, and treat constipation.
Bananas coat the lining of the stomach, ease spasms, and have a natural antacid response. Bananas have a high content of fiber and vitamin B.
Vitamin B calms the stomach muscles and stops the stomach from churning acid violently.
On a side note, bananas are also useful at combating high blood pressure and preventing strokes due to its high potassium and low sodium content.
Cabbage reduces inflammation and kills the H. pylori bacteria that causes heartburn and other GI problems.
Fermented cabbage (kimchee) and other fermented foods (non-store bought coleslaw or sauerkraut) are also recommended remedies for heartburn.
Method: Mix raw cabbage, banana, apple slices, purified water, and natural unflavored probiotic yogurt into a blender. Drink quickly.
15. Chewing Gum
Chewing gum produces saliva and activates the digestive process.
This is an unnatural digestion simulator and should only be used as a quick fix.
Ginger has been used for over 5,000 years by the Indians and the Chinese to treat different ailments. Ginger has been used for helping numerous gastrointestinal disorders.
Gingerols is the main active ingredient found in ginger that give this root its many health benefits.
This ancient root is known to destroy the H. pylori bacteria, decrease inflammation, minimize nausea, and calm the stomach muscles.
17. Stay Upright & Sleep On Your Left Side
Try not to eat 2-3 hours before you go to sleep.
When you do lay down, turn onto your left side. This position does not allow stomach acid to empty back into the esophagus.
18. Eat Smaller Meals & Chew Longer
It’s harder for your stomach to digest larger meals. It has to work that much harder to break everything down at once. If your stomach is full, there is more of a chance that acid can be tossed back up the esophagus.
Chew slowly and more frequently before swallowing. Digestion begins in the mouth. The more you help your body from the beginning, the easier it’ll be later on.
Natural remedies have little to no known side effects. Most of these remedies can be found right in your own kitchen.
Different methods work better for different people, so if one method doesn’t work for you, don’t fret, and try another one. A lifetime free from heartburn pain is worth a few trial and errors.