Catering to your taste buds with spicy Thai or Mexican food can mark the meal of your day, but the heartburn that follows soon after is not much of a welcome sensation, is it?
Heartburn is a painful burning sensation in your chest that can keep you away from your favorite food, and up at night for hours. If you’ve spent too many nights sitting upright on the couch in discomfort and without much success, it’s time to gather some info and get ready to beat your next heartburn.
Causes of Heartburn
Heartburn is caused by acid reflux and is more a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) than a disease in itself. Contrary to popular belief, heartburn occurs due to too little acid instead of excess acid in your stomach. The lack of stomach acid puts pressure on lower esophageal sphincter (LES) in numerous ways, leading to acid reflux–induced heartburn.
LES or lower esophageal sphincter is a muscle located at the base of the esophagus that normally allows one-way movement of food. After your swallowed food reaches the stomach through esophagus, LES keeps it from coming back up again. When LES functions improperly, the stomach acid can flow back up into the esophagus, causing distress.
Fatty, oily, and spicy foods along with alcohol and caffeine, in any form, are the biggest culprits when it comes to causing heartburn. Citrus foods along with chocolate, tomatoes, and peppermint can also cause heartburn. An unhealthy and inactive lifestyle can relax your LES and promote heartburn.
Symptoms of Heartburn
While it has nothing to do with heart, heartburn symptoms are somewhat similar to that of a heart disease or a heart attack, thus earning the name.
The stomach acid used to digest the food is quite strong. Protective cells that line your stomach to protect it from this digestive acid are not present in your esophagus. So, when your stomach acid enters your esophagus, you experience a burning discomfort in your chest. Heartburn usually occurs after eating and worsens when lying down or bending over.
- Heartburn can be triggered because of varying factors in different persons. Keeping away from foods that cause you heartburn is the first step to prevent them.
- Overeating increases the pressure on the LES and, thus, should be avoided to prevent heartburn.
- According to a 2005 study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, shorter the dinner-to-bed time, greater where the chances of GERD.
Therefore, keep a calculated distance of about 2 hours between meals and bedtime and 3 hours if the meal is heavy. This allows the stomach to be emptied by the time you lie down.
- Being overweight also puts a lot of pressure on the LES, so including exercising in your lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight can be beneficial in preventing heartburn altogether.
Home Remedies to Treat Heartburn
If over-the-counter medications are not doing much to treat your heartburn and those antacids are making the problem worse, take help from some true and tested natural remedies that are easy to get your hands on and won’t add any extra expenses to your pocket.
These natural remedies do not cause any side effects like many of the over-the-counter medicines. Unlike traditional medicines, your body won’t get addicted to these remedies either.
There are six easy and healthy methods to get rid of heartburn.
Method 1: Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, a traditional remedy for numerous ailments, proves beneficial in treating heartburn. Using vinegar to treat heartburn may sound counterintuitive, but it works effectively as its acidic nature supplements the low stomach acid and helps breakdown the undigested food, it can also be used for acid reflux.
While not all acidic foods work this way, apple cider vinegar promotes digestion and eases heartburn. It treats heartburn at its root and keeps it at bay when consumed regularly in diluted form. Always go with organic apple cider vinegar with the “mother,” which contains probiotics that promote digestion. You can even learn how to make your own apple cider vinegar here.
Single-Step Treatment: Mix apple cider vinegar with water and consume twice daily
- Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of warm water and mix properly.
- Consume this drink twice a day on empty stomach to rejuvenate your digestion and ease heartburn.
If consuming this drink for heartburn right after a heavy meal, don’t down it in a go, but sip on it.
The apple cider vinegar remedy will bring immediate relief from heartburn and can be taken as and when you feel the need. You can continue taking it for 4 to 5 days to prevent future bouts of heartburn and also improve your gut health in the process.
Method 2: Mustard
The next time you’re in the middle of a nasty heartburn or feel one coming up, let the yellow mustard come to your aid. While there are no studies to support this theory, mustard is a popular and effective remedy for heartburn. In fact, you can even use it to treat minor burns.
The presence of vinegar in mustard is what makes it effective for treating heartburn. It stimulates salivation and improves digestion. Minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and niacin present in mustard also promote digestion.
Single-Step Treatment: Consume mustard to get relief
- Consume 1 teaspoon of plain yellow mustard directly. It may be too strong for your taste, but it will ease the heartburn.
- You can also take it with buttermilk or tea.
- You can combine it with honey to improve its taste.
Consuming mustard will bring you relief within 2 to 3 minutes. Take a spoonful once daily to get rid of heartburn.
Method 3: Baking Soda
If you’re looking for a symptom-based remedy to treat your heartburn, look no further than the baking soda in your kitchen. Baking soda is a natural antacid, which, when taken, neutralizes the acid reflux in your esophagus providing rapid relief.
Baking soda also helps you burp and, in turn, provides relief from gas and bloating. Baking soda can also remove bad breath that may result from frequent acid reflux.
Being a natural antacid, it doesn’t have any harmful side effects on the body. This remedy is best for getting relief when you’re experiencing a specifically bad case of heartburn. However, baking soda is not a permanent solution to GERD as it only provides symptom-based temporary relief.
Taking baking soda, along with honey, makes for a more effective remedy. The anti-inflammatory properties of honey have a soothing effect on the inflamed esophagus. Honey also stimulates digestion and is gentle on the stomach.
Things you’ll need:
- Baking soda (neutralizes stomach acid) – 1 teaspoon
- Honey (soothes inflamed esophagus) – 1 teaspoon
- Warm water – 1 cup
Single-Step Treatment: Mix baking soda and honey in warm water and drink up
- Pour 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1 cup of warm water.
- Add 1 teaspoon of honey to it and mix well with a spoon.
- Consume this mixture whenever you’re experiencing heartburn or whenever you feel an acid reflux is coming.
The baking soda honey drink will bring immediate relief from the discomfort and can be taken 3 to 4 times in a day. However, the daily consumption should not be more than 5 teaspoons, as it could lead to dehydration and other side effects.
Method 4: Pickle Juice
Pickle juice contains sodium and vinegar, two things that can be your best friends when it comes to acid reflux. The working of this remedy is quite similar to that of apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Sodium helps neutralize the acid that moves back up into your esophagus.
Vinegar helps your stomach break down the undigested food and push it forward through the digestive tract, thus emptying the contents of your stomach. This also prevents further bouts of the acid reflux for a considerable period of time.
Single-Step Treatment: Consume pickle juice for relief
- Consume not more than 1 tablespoon of pickle juice at a time to treat your heartburn.
Take pickle juice whenever required to get rid of heartburn. However, if vinegar-based food flares up your acid reflux, this remedy may not be for you.
Method 5: Apple
An apple a day can definitely help you keep your heartburn away. Apple is a very efficient stimulant for digestion and can prevent heartburn by keeping the contents of the stomach down.
As acid reflux is caused by low stomach acid, the acidity of apple is very good for promoting a good environment for digestion in the stomach. Apple requires a lot of chewing which generates saliva. The delicious juices of apple also stimulate the salivary glands. This excess of saliva, which is full of digestive enzymes, helps in digestion and can also help neutralize the acid.
Single-Step Treatment: Consume an apple as and when needed
- Chomp off a fresh apple whenever you feel a heartburn coming.
- Additionally, consume an apple every day at bedtime to prevent the acid reflux while you sleep.
Continue consuming apples for 1 or 2 weeks to keep the flare-ups under control.
Method 6: Banana
Banana is another brilliant fruit that can help you treat and prevent acid reflux and heartburn. Banana has some natural antacid properties that help neutralize the acid. This soft fruit also soothes the irritation in the esophagus.
Being rich in soluble and insoluble fibers, it’s quite an efficient digestive aid and can prevent the conditions that cause acid reflux in the first place.
Single-Step Treatment: Have a banana to cure heartburn
- Consume a ripe banana whenever you suffer from heartburn.
- You can also make it a habit to eat a banana before or after meals to prevent heartburn.
- Alternatively, you can incorporate it into your cereals and oatmeal, bake banana bread or muffins, or prepare a healthy banana smoothie to banish heartburn in a tasty way.
- Forgo apple cider vinegar if you have an ulcer as it can worsen your condition.
- If apple peels are hard to digest for you, remove the peel before consuming apples or your heartburn may worsen.
- Find a remedy that suits you and stick to it.
- To avoid heartburn caused by overeating, eat five to six small meals throughout the day instead of having two to three heavy meals. This will allow each meal to go down properly before you get to the next one.
- Take a small walk after having your meal, and afterward, keep your body upright for at least an hour before you lie down.
- If you’re overweight, losing a few pounds and achieving a healthy weight are recommended to ease the frequency of heartburn.
Source : http://tetrameters.com