Dear Leah Renee,
Do you have any suggestions for natural remedies that will aid and/or prevent heartburn or acid reflux? Thank you! ~Christina B., NV
Heartburn and acid reflux are NO fun. It’s all fun and games until you get a pain in your chest and a bad taste in your mouth (literally). Although heartburn and acid reflux slightly differ (heartburn is essentially the pain caused by reflux), we’ll use them interchangeably in this case since the remedies are much the same. GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) can effect anyone at any time in their life. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, more than 60 million Americans, experience heartburn at least once a month and some studies have suggested that more than 15 million Americans experience heartburn symptoms each day.
Chances are, you’ll know if you have it. There’s a much bigger chance that if you or suffer from it you’re probably always on the hunt for something that will provide you some relief. There are plenty of ways to both trigger an onset/reaction, and plenty of ways to help eliminate the effects and occurrence.
- Eating too quickly (i.e. not chewing your food properly and enough)
- Foods high in fat and grease (such as fried foods, conventional fast foods)
- Stress (ever get nauseous from being nervous? This can translate into other forms like reflux!)
- Acidic foods eaten alone (like tomatoes)
- Caffeinated and carbonated drinks (but decaf coffee included)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Chocolate (more than one or two squares)
- Spicy foods
- Mint (I know, seems like it would help, right?!)
- Too much liquid during meals
- Carrying extra weight/overweight
Fight it with:
- Ginger. Try my this easy, soothing ginger juice–it’s amazing and keeps in the fridge for a long time. It can be added to water as tea (like my favorite anti-inflammatory turmeric latte) or cooking your favorite meals.
- Warm water with fresh squeezed lemon (I know, lemon, right? Isn’t that acidic? No. Not once it’s in our gut–here’s more about that.)
- Probiotics. Take ’em in the morning before you do anything else! They’re best on an empty stomach to coat your tummy nicely 🙂
- Aloe Vera (this is something I always keep in the fridge. So soothing and helpful to our gut. Make sure it’s 100% pure aloe vera such as the one in the link. It can prove otherwise ineffective if it’s not the real thing.
- Chewing your food well. Digestion begins in the mouth before ever making it to your belly! Your saliva contains enzymes which begin breaking down your food immediately.
- Brown and Black rice
- Baking soda. I’m convinced there’s nothing baking soda can’t do! Try a 1/2 teaspoon mixed in filtered water.
- Breathing. Wait, what?! How does breathing help? Because a good belly breath relieves stress. Stress releases cortisol and creates an acidic environment. That has a direct effect on your gut health and over time can pose problems for your friendly gut bacteria and healthy digestion. Read more about it in an article here.
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) with “the mother”. Again, just like the lemon it seems counter-intuitive but ACV has proven effective for many individuals suffering from acid reflux.
- Pistachios. Pistachios turn out to be great for digestion! Take them with the DGL Licorice below!
- Give yourself a 3-4 hour window between eating and going to bed. Try elevating your head with a big pillow or two when you sleep as well to avoid reflux while laying down.
- Weight loss. If you are currently overweight, losing weight can be helpful in combatting reflux.
Here are a few supplements you can take daily that can provide some relief:
- Country Life Tropical Papaya chewable wafers. There are many to choose from, but I think these are great. They are affordable and are much better to take than an antacid. Reflux can suffer from both too little, or too much stomach acid. Most people believe reflux means too much acid–but that’s not always the case. Taking antacids neutralize stomach acid, which we actually need to be healthy and truly break down our food properly. Enzymes work with our gut to do what it needs to do properly without interruptions.
- NOW Foods Slippery Elm. Slippery Elm is an age-old remedy that is quite effective for heartburn sufferers. I used to recommend it in the health store I worked at in Australia all the time, and got great positive feedback from my customers. It can be bought in powdered form as well and mixed with a little water. It’s very soothing and helps coat the digestive tract.
- Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra. There are so many great enzymes you can take, but I do love and trust Pure Encapsulations products. If you see ‘systemic’ enzymes–those are great too. Just make sure they’re in a veggie cap without fillers. It’s best to take them 30 minutes before a meal, but really, take them anytime! They’re great on an empty stomach too.
- Natural Factors DGL Licorice Root chewables. This can help with mucus lining of our intestines, warding off heartburn symptoms. It is also combative against phlegm.
Let me know how you do with these suggestions! Some work better than others depending on your body. Always consult your doctor before trying anything new! These are merely suggestions that commonly help others.
Have you ever suffered from heartburn? Do you have any remedies you would recommend?! Please share!