Heartburn can come out of nowhere and hit you hard. It results in a burning sensation in your chest, and sometimes stomach acid making its way back up the esophagus. It is usually a response to certain foods, but some individuals are simply more sensitive and prone to having heartburn often.
Foods that Cause Heartburn
Some of the common culprits include:
- Meat (especially red meat)
- Spicy foods
- Acidic foods
- Fried foods
Tobacco smoking is another factor that damages the lower esophageal sphincter (the muscles that seal the mouth of the stomach), preventing a back-flow of contents into the esophagus. If this band of muscles becomes weak, stomach acid and regurgitated food will flow into the esophagus and cause acid reflux or heartburn.
While over-the-counter antacids and heartburn relief may take hours to kick in (and may come with side-effects), there are fortunately some natural remedies that provide effective relief quickly.
Mint is extremely calming for the stomach and digestive tract. You can just eat a mint leaf or two as needed throughout the day. Or, add some mint leaves to a glass of water and let soak for 30 minutes, and then drink. You can repeat this up to three times per day. If you are suffering from acid reflux rather than just heartburn, mint is not an effective remedy and should not be used.
Turmeric prevents acid build-up and helps stimulate digestion. Use it in your cooking or make a tea (seep 1 tsp. in a cup of hot water for ½ hour. Let it cool. Mix with honey and drink). Turmeric is also available in capsule form.
An acid buildup can be due to lack of water in the system. Water will dilute the excess acid that splashes into the esophagus. Don’t drink too much at once, as it may actually make the problem worse. Try to drink at least 5 glasses per day – ½ of a glass on each go.
Chew 2-3 basil leaves to diminish stomach acid. This remedy will also combat nausea and gas.
5. Slippery Elm
Slippery elm contains antioxidants that fight against inflammatory bowel conditions. It also coats and soothes the throat, mouth, intestines, and stomach. Additionally, slippery elm stimulates nerve endings in the gastrointestinal tract, which helps increase mucus secretion, protecting against excess acidity and ulcers.
- Make a tea from the powdered bark by steeping 2 tablespoons into 2 cups boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Drink this 3 times per day.
- Alternatively, take 5 ml of slippery elm tincture 3 times per day
- You may also take 400-500 mg capsules 3-4 times per day for up to 8 weeks. Be sure to consume with a full glass of water.
6. Chamomile Tea
Drink a cup of chamomile tea about ½ – 1 hour before going to sleep. This will help reduce inflammation in the stomach, and balance the acidity levels as well. Chamomile tea also reduces stress, which may be one of the main causes of heartburn.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can help keep acid from rising into the esophagus, therefore preventing acid reflux and related heartburn. The remedy is simple enough: add 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water before each meal and drink up.
8. Fennel Seeds
Eating fennel seeds can help reduce stomach acid by regulating its production. You can eat a small handful of seeds or sprinkle them into your salads, cereal, or yogurt. You can also opt for a fennel seed tea by boiling two teaspoons of the seeds in one cup of boiling water; let sit for ten minutes; then strain and drink up.
9. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a natural antacid and can provide quick relief from heartburn. It is also probably one of the easiest and cheapest remedies; simply add one teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water and drink.
Fresh ginger helps to absorb excessive stomach acid and can help calm the central nervous system, both of which contribute to a relief of heartburn. You can make yourself ginger root tea, sprinkle some ground ginger into your cooking, or combine some ground ginger with a teaspoon of honey and eat for relief.
Easy to incorporate into your day, almonds make for a great snack and heartburn remedy. Opt for raw almonds and chew them as much as possible to release the oil, which will reduce the acid in your stomach. Almond butter and oil can also be incorporated into the diet to help prevent and treat heartburn.
12. Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera juice helps to reduce inflammation and promotes healing within the gastrointestinal tract. Be sure not to over-do it on the aloe vera juice, but you can drink about ⅛ cup prior to (about 20 minutes before) each meal.
13. Cabbage Juice
Cabbage juice will help reduce inflammation and reduce heartburn. Simply combine two carrots and some fresh cabbage into a juicer or blender, and drink half of the juice first thing in the morning. Save the other half for the next morning.
The best treatment for heartburn is to prevent it in the first place. If you notice certain foods trigger your heartburn, try to avoid them as much as possible. If you suffer from heartburn consistently, find one of the remedies mentioned above to incorporate into your diet on a daily basis.