10 Home Remedies for Heartburn
Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest, behind the breastbone. Heartburn isn’t something to worry about if it’s only occasional and can usually be solved by implementing a few key lifestyle changes. In most cases, heartburn is your body’s way of telling you that you need to make some adjustments associated with diet and physical activity.
If heartburn is experienced frequently and causes a disruption in your day-to-day life, this may be a symptom that something more serious is happening. In such a case acid reflux, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, or pregnancy is a possible cause and it’s probably a good idea to see your doctor1. If you’re experiencing the following, make that appointment as soon as possible:
* Heartburn 2 or more times per week
* Symptoms persist despite trying home remedies and over the counter medicine
* Difficulty swallowing
* Regular nausea and/or vomiting
* Loss of weight due to difficulty eating or loss of appetite associated with heartburn
Heartburn can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, and these are the most common symptoms to look out for2:
* A feeling of burning in the chest
* An increase in the burning sensation when you bend over or lay down
* A burning feeling in the throat
* Difficulty swallowing
* A salty, sour, hot or acidic taste in the back of your mouth or throat
If you only occasionally experience heartburn then it’s a good idea to try to tackle the issue the natural and healthy way, without using medication. Here are 10 home remedies for heartburn:
#1 – Avoid these Foods and Drinks There are quite a few foods which can cause heartburn and should be avoided if you’re susceptible to getting it. Avoid these if you want to stop your heartburn from coming back:
* Fast food
* Fatty/deep-fried foods
* Spicy foods
* Citrus products
* Tomatoes and tomato sauce
* Carbonated beverages
* Coffee and other caffeinated drinks
Since everyone is different, some of these foods can cause heartburn for you but not for others. It’s a good idea to experiment with smaller portions of these foods and drinks to find out which ones cause heartburn for you, and which ones don’t.
#2 – Don’t Eat before Bed It’s a good idea to let your food digest and pass from your stomach into your small intestines before laying down. If your food doesn’t pass into your small intestines before going to bed, it can back up into your esophagus. Lying down makes it more difficult for your body to digest the food you’ve eaten and greatly increases your chances of heartburn.
#3 – Keep Weight Down According to the National Health Service, being overweight is a cause of heartburn and also makes reflux worse4. The most effective way of losing weight is by eating healthy and exercising. It’s very important to note that lifestyle changes like this are only sustainable if it’s something that you can tolerate long term.
Aerobic heavy exercises are the most effective in burning off excess fat. Cycling, running, swimming, zumba or cross fit are all great ways to get your heart rate up and burn calories.
#4 – Don’t Over Eat Eating portions that are too large can cause pressure on your esophageal muscle. This muscle is supposed to stay closed unless you are swallowing, burping or vomiting. If the portions you eat are too large, the pressure coming up from your stomach can cause this muscle to open letting stomach acids come up into the esophagus. This is the reason why most heartburn and reflux happens after eating a meal.
#5 – Avoid Alcohol Alcohol is known to increase the severity of acid reflux and heartburn as well. It makes the symptoms worse by increasing stomach acid and also by relaxing your esophageal muscle/sphincter. This allows more acid to come up from your stomach and limits the esophagus’ ability to clear out the acid which has managed to come up.
#6 – Chew Gum There have been a few studies that show that chewing gum after a meal reduces the acidity in your esophagus, especially gun that contains bicarbonate. It’s thought that the additional production of saliva while chewing gum, may also help clear up the esophagus of acid. Although it’s important to note, that chewing gun can only help alleviate the symptoms but doesn’t actually reduce the acid reflux itself.
#7 – Elevate Your Head Many people have the worst symptoms at night8. This can have a negative impact on the ability to fall asleep and the quality of sleep itself. One study shows that people who raised the head of their beds had significantly fewer symptoms and episodes of heartburn compared to those that slept without elevating the head of their bed.
#8 – Wear Loose Clothing Wearing tight clothing may actually cause heartburn for some people. Tight clothing can compress your stomach and causing the acids to go upwards into your esophagus. If you start to feel symptoms of heartburn coming on it’s a good idea to loosen your belt or change into some looser clothing.
#9 – Baking Soda Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda can help get rid of your heartburn. It has an alkaline pH that neutralizes the excess stomach acids which cause the unpleasant symptoms of heartburn. You’ll want to mix half a teaspoon of baking soda into half a cup of water, this can provide quick relief.
#10 – Apple Cider Vinegar Apple cider vinegar is an effective remedy for a myriad of ailments, and it also helps with heartburn by neutralizing the acid in your stomach. There are no actual scientific studies that show this, but decades of anecdotal evidence.
If you want to give this a try, dilute 2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with half a glass of water, drink after your meal, or when you have heartburn symptoms. You can take on heartburn in a natural and healthy way, avoiding pharmaceuticals. But as mentioned above, if your heartburn symptoms are persistent and frequent you’ll want to visit your doctor as soon as possible.
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Heart Burn References and Heartburn Information
* Cleveland Clinic: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9617-heartburn
* Web MD: https://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/
* Healthline Magazine: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/heartburn-acid-reflux
* Pub Med (Scientific Study): https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16246942/
* Pub Med (Scientific Study): https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17985241/
* Healthline Magazine: https://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/heartburn-relief#loosen-clothing
* Healthline Magazine: https://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/heartburn-relief#apple-cider-vinegar