Simple & Natural Ways To Relieve Heartburn
Heartburn symptoms can be irritating and annoying, especially if you suffer from it regularly. Regular heartburn may be signs of a more serious condition known as GERD. Luckily, there is medication available for both occasional and frequent heartburn symptoms. Some of us, however, don't want to use medication to alleviate these symptoms. This may be due to a variety of reasons, from not wanting to add yet another daily medication to our routine, a bad experience in the past or simply trying to live a more natural and holistic lifestyle. Whether you're looking for alternative ways to deal with your heartburn or eliminate occasional acidity buildup, we cover natural ways to relieve the symptoms of heartburn below.
What Really Causes Heartburn?
Heartburn can feel like a fire in your chest, creeping up your throat. Unfortunately, the feeling isn't too far off from the truth. Heartburn is stomach acid that has reached your esophagus and begins to burn the inside.
This occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes while your stomach is digesting food. This motion lowers your esophagus and opens the muscle that allows food through, allowing stomach acids to travel up into your esophagus and cause a burning sensation.
In normal cases, the lower part of your esophagus, the LES, is supposed to stay tense and closed during the whole digestive process and avoid the digestive acid.
Turmeric and Ginger
Both are from the ginger (Zingiberaceae) family, and both have shown that they are capable of protecting the esophagus from GERD and other digestive disorders. You can take ginger and turmeric both in capsule, powder, whole root or crystallized form. The most common way of taking the root is cutting fresh slices into warm water and letting them steep to form a tea. The hot water also softens the root and allows you to eat them if desired. It is a good idea to peel the root of either before steeping them.
Both Ginger and Turmeric contain a compound called Curcumin which is famous for its anti-inflammatory properties. This can help your esophagus heal and avoid swelling from frequent heartburn and GERD symptoms.
A Stick of Chewing Gum
A stick of sugar-free chewing gum chewed for 30 minutes after a meal, is said to alleviate any oncoming symptoms of heartburn or acid reflux. This is due to the fact that chewing gum activates the saliva glands, therefore diluting and washing away any stomach acids that were to come up. While this may still work for more severe symptoms, it has the greatest chance of success in minor cases. In most health food stores, you can find many different chewing gums that have fewer additives than your traditional stick of gum.
Mind What You Eat
This can be tough because many people who suffer from heartburn symptoms adore food and exploring different food combinations. If you suffer from symptoms of heartburn or acid reflux, you likely know what causes an onset of these symptoms, whether it's spicy foods, cheeses or citrus foods. It may go without saying, but, avoid these foods when at all possible.
How you eat makes a big difference, too: don't 'inhale' your food, but take small bites that you chew thoroughly and slowly before swallowing. This helps pace your meal and keep your LES at bay. By eating slower, you're giving your stomach room to digest food without needing to pump out excess acid.
The time you eat also makes a huge difference in your heartburn symptoms. Often times people with heartburn dread the night ahead, where they're awake every other hour with that familiar burning sensation. Avoid eating 3 to 4 hours before you're planning to lay down for sleep. This gives your stomach time to properly digest your food before you lay down. Lying down increases the pressure on your LES, letting the opening lower and increasing the possibility of acid getting through.
Stay Healthy for Your Stomach's Sake
Avoid nicotine or tobacco products and avoid alcohol. These both cause flare-ups in your stomach and may cause a flare-up with your heartburn symptoms. Both of these will weaken your LES overtime and upset your regular digestive process.
Staying at a healthy weight is also important, as added weight can add pressure and workload to your stomach's delicate processes. Extra pounds can put pressure on your LES and over time it can weaken the opening.
The Strength of a Mustard Seed
Mustard is surprisingly full of alkalizing properties and beneficial minerals.
A big ol' teaspoon full can help neutralize any heartburn or acid reflux symptoms you feel coming up or may be experiencing already.
This may not be the prettiest method and it's a gamble whether you're someone who likes mustard or not.
This can be a great neutralizer to combat the symptoms short term while taking other measures to help neutralize the acid more permanently.
A Banana A Day Keeps the Heartburn Away
Bananas have fantastic alkalizing properties and can help calm stomach acids and neutralize heartburn. Eat one banana after your main meal or when heartburn strikes. You can even save bananas for until you go to bed if you often have heartburn in the middle of the night. There is a word of warning to be said, however, as you can feed your body too much potassium. Limit your banana intake to 2-3 per day at most.