Heartburn can often turn into GERD or Gastro esophageal reflux disease. It’s actually quite common and often considered to be more of a symptom than it is a disease.
Acid reflux happens when the ring of muscle allowing food into the stomach isn’t relaxing and closing off after eating.
Thus, the acid in the stomach comes back up into the esophagus and causes a burning sensation.
It is quite common to suffer from GERD during pregnancy, if you’re obese or if you’ve been eating spicy foods. It is very possible to have this reflux and not have heartburn.
The severity will vary greatly from one person to another and possibly from one attack to the next.
There are many over the counter medications that can be taken to relieve the condition and doctors can also prescribe some prescription medications as well.
However, there are also a great many natural remedies that you can use for GERD that won’t have some of the serious side effects that over the counter medications and prescription medications have.
These natural remedies also include some simple lifestyle changes that can make all the difference in the world when you’re suffering from an attack of GERD.
One way of combating GERD is to eat smaller meals. Pregnant women are often cautioned to eat five small meals in lieu of three larger sized meals per day.
If you’re struggling to get a grip on GERD this may help you to find a bit of relief. While it may not work for everyone, it may help a lot of people to try this for some relief.
Keep in mind that eating five smaller meals is just that, smaller sized meals. In other words, divide the food you’d normally eat in three meals into five meals and consume smaller amounts over the five meals.
This simple remedy has been around for a very long time. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate as its scientific name goes, can relieve your heartburn sensation in just a few minutes. It’s quick and easy to use and most homes have some baking soda in the kitchen.
It’s quick to use, inexpensive and you’ll appreciate that you can get back to whatever you were doing before you were so viciously attacked with heartburn.
To use the baking soda remedy you’ll need some baking soda, a teaspoon and some fresh water.
Stir one half to one teaspoon of baking soda into your water and drink it. It’s that simple.
Repeat as required but don’t take more than seven ½ teaspoons full of baking soda in 24 hours.
Prolonged use (more than a week) can cause swelling and nausea as it is very high in sodium (salt).
While it may taste a bit soapy, it tends to help neutralize the acid in your stomach and give you some relief.
You likely know how aloe works to soothe burns. But did you know it can also soothe your acid reflux?
It makes sense when you think about it. The juice of the aloe plant is renowned for its soothing properties for burns, so it only stands to reason that it can soothe your burning throat.
Simply drink ½ cup of aloe Vera juice when you’re having an attack. You should feel results within just a few short minutes.
You can also drink this before meals as well to help prevent an attack.
However, be cautious, it can also act as a laxative so you’ll want to ensure that you’re not overdoing this remedy or you’ll be spending a lot of time in the bathroom.
An easy remedy to keep with you is chewing gum, specifically, sugar free chewing gum.
It appears the act of popping a piece of gum into your mouth after a meal and chewing on it activates sluggish salivary glands.
This helps to dilute the acid and wash it back down your throat into your stomach where it belongs.
For best results it is recommended that you chew your piece of gum for at least 30 minutes after you dine. It’s that simple and can deliver excellent results.
Just make sure that you’re choosing sugar free chewing gum, you don’t want to have to pay the dentist a visit next to get a cavity filled.
Keep Your Chin Up
That’s right, the simple act of propping up can provide many great benefits. Heartburn is notorious for attacking at night while you’re trying to get your rest.
By propping up and keeping your chin up, you’re simply taking advantage of gravity.
Try to avoid going to bed within 3 to 4 hours of eating. Don’t lie down either. Instead, sit up or prop up so that your throat is above your abdomen.
It’s that simple and you don’t have to remember to take any pills or keep chewing gum on hand.
Instead of giving in after that huge meal and sitting down, try taking a short walk. You don’t have to go far and you’re body is going to thank you.
By getting up and moving you’re giving your body a chance to digest some of that food.
When you’re food digests you’re less likely to have any extra stomach acid lurking in your system to cause issues.
Take a short walk, it might be just around the block but you’re sure to feel results when you add in a few extra steps before you give in to that dinner you just ate and take a rest.
Don’t over eat, take small (human sized) bites and chew your food completely and slowly. This allows your food time to digest in your stomach.
It can take up to 20 minutes for your brain and your stomach to communicate that you’ve had something to eat.
That’s why many people wind up overeating, they’re eating too fast and not allowing their stomach to tell the brain that they’re full.
When the stomach and the brain communicate the person feels full and is much less likely to have an attack of GERD.
It’s also wise to avoid trigger foods. What are trigger foods you may ask? Any food that seems to trigger acid reflux when you eat it.
This could be spicy foods, citrus, tomatoes and so on. The list will vary from person to person so it’s a bit of trial and error but once you begin to avoid such foods you’ll feel a whole lot better.
If you’re suddenly struggling with GERD, consider the foods you recently ate. Watch for a pattern and if you do find a pattern, learn to avoid such foods.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Okay, we know this one may not quite make sense, but believe us, it works. Your body requires a certain percentage of acid to function properly.Apple cider vinegar can help to regulate the acid production in your body.
It can tell your muscles in your esophagus when to contract and when to open up and allow more acid into your throat.
This in turn can help to keep that stomach acid where it belongs, in your stomach.
To use apple cider vinegar, simply put 3 teaspoons or one tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar into a glass of fresh water.
Drink this prior to your meal and you shouldn’t have any acid reflux. Some people prefer to take the apple cider vinegar straight and follow it with a water chaser.
That is fine too as long as the water is included. For some, it may worsen the condition in which case, discontinue using this natural remedy.
Don’t increase the amount as this could be too much acid. You’ll have to strive for the perfect balance.
Eat A Banana
Believe it or not, the simple act of eating a banana can help reduce your acid production. Make sure your banana is completely ripe and eat one a day.
If you’re still having issues with acid reflux you may wish to eat your banana a few hours before you retire for the night and see if that helps.
Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away
You’ve heard this old adage all of your life. Apples are full of healthy nutrients and guess what apple cider vinegar is made up from, fermented apples.
So try eating an apple each day and see if that doesn’t help your body to slow the production of acid.
You could also try eating your apple a few hours prior to retiring for the night and see if that helps as well.
There are many ways that you can take ginger. You can drink a ginger root tea to help ease any stomach ailments. To use it to prevent acid reflux you can take it up to 20 minutes prior to a meal or sip it after a meal.
To make a good ginger root tea you’ll want about 3 slices of ginger root (quarter sized slices) and 2 cups of boiling water.
Steep your sliced ginger root in the boiling water for approximately 30 minutes and remove the slices of ginger (you can leave them in for a slightly stronger brew) prior to sipping your ginger tea.
You can also chew on the ginger root, use candied ginger or candied ginger root, or include some powdered ginger in your cooking to get some additional help from ginger.
Dress To Prevent Acid Reflux
Believe it or not, you can actually aggravate your chances of acid reflux by what you’re wearing. If you’re into super tight jeans or clothing, your abdominal region may react by causing acid reflux. Opt for looser fitting clothing and avoid any clothing styles that put additional pressure on the abdominal area.
This is especially important after eating a large meal such as at a Holiday. Grandpa may have had the right idea when he loosened his belt after dinner.
Break Those Bad Habits
Everyone has at least one bad habit. That said, if your bad habit happens to include smoking or alcohol (or both) you may find that you tend to have more acid reflux. Both nicotine and alcohol are both known to weaken your esophageal sphincter muscle. When this muscle is weakened it will leak the acids back into your throat.
Alcohol takes things one step further and can cause even more stomach irritation so always keep this in mind and drink in moderation if at all.
Aim For A Healthy Weight
Believe it or not, being overweight can add to your acid reflux. GERD is well known to be more common in those who are overweight. Those extra pounds put more pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter.
Eventually these muscles become less elastic and thus you begin to struggle with more acid reflux. Try to aim for the proper weight category to help combat your GERD.
Amazingly, mustard could be helpful in treating GERD. Full of minerals and containing a weakened solution of acid from the vinegar used to create it, it may help to try using mustard to help neutralize the acid that has crept back up to haunt you.
Thanks to the alkaline content, it is known to help neutralize that acid.
It appears to be more beneficial if you use it during an acid reflux attack as opposed to prior to an acid reflux attack.
The best method to take it? Straight up. Simply slurp one teaspoonful down and hopefully, you’ll get quick results.
Almonds have many great benefits. They can help with your cholesterol, balance some of your blood pressure issues and give you a great boost in protein.
It’s no wonder then that they can also help you to neutralize the acid in your stomach by helping to alleviate some of your heartburn.
You’ll need three or four almonds per meal for this one to work. Simply eat three or four of them with every meal and you should have some relief.
Be mindful however, that for some people almonds can cause more acid. It may therefore be a delicate balance.
Sip Some Chamomile
After dinner tea may have its benefits after all, sip some tea approximately one half to one hour prior to going to bed and see if that doesn’t help to relieve night time bouts of GERD.
It may also benefit you further by helping you to sleep through the night. You can buy it in an instant version or simply brew your own with a chamomile tea bag.
If you have chamomile in your garden you can add one teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers to one cup of boiling water.
Allow it to steep for 3 minutes and strain out the chamomile flowers. You can add honey or lemon to taste.
Start the day right, drink some fresh lemon juice. When you drink fresh lemon juice on an empty stomach you’ll find that your body naturally balances the acid levels.
It is also helpful to your digestion and the benefits appear to last all day long.
For best results drink this first thing in the morning. Simply combine one cup of warm water and some fresh lemon juice.
You could easily incorporate this into your morning ritual and have the benefits all day long. Again, you could add some honey to it for flavor if desired.
Include some probiotics in your diet. These little organisms help your body to properly digest the foods you eat.
They work in the small intestine to help balance the flora and bacteria. Consider adding in some yogurt or other forms of probiotics to help your food digest more properly.
Probiotics can also be found in a supplement form. Most probiotic supplements should be stored in the refrigerator for best results and to preserve quality.
They should be taken one to three times per day and relief should be found fairly quickly when they are taken consistently.
Slippery elm comes in many forms and is an herbal supplement. It can be found in capsule, powder or lozenge form and it helps to soothe an irritated digestive tract.
Supplements can be taken after meals or the powder can be made into a tea to sip on whenever acid reflux is an issue.
Many people have found relief from GERD by using one or more of the natural remedies listed above. By picking and choosing what works for them many are able to avoid over the counter remedies and prescription medications prescribed by a doctor.
It’s nice to find relief in the kitchen and not have to leave home to purchase something expensive to remedy GERD.
It’s important to note that GERD can attack young and old alike and may be more problematic in some individuals than in others.
It’s much more prevalent in those who are struggling with their weight and when women are pregnant.
Learning to avoid trigger foods is as vital as taking remedies at the proper time to gain the benefit of relief.