10 home remedies to relieve acid reflux/heartburn
What is heartburn?
When there is a reflux of acids from the stomach into the oesophagus (the tube that join the throat & stomach), the resulting sensation is known as heartburn.
The pain is just under the breastbone or on your chest. The pain increases and may often even reach the jaw. It actually gets worse during the evenings, especially when bending over and when lying down.
Apart from the pain the other symptoms include a bitter taste in mouth that may appear acidic.
Causes of heartburn:
There are many reasons for heartburn. Many times, the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) – a muscular wall between oesophagus and the stomach, doesn’t work properly.
Normally, it opens up to let in food or to let out burps. Sometimes, it may open more frequently that necessary or not close properly, allowing the stomach acids to flow into oesophagus.
Overeating is one of the factor that causes the opening of the LES. Obesity, pregnancy, and constipation may also cause heart burn as all these conditions put pressure on the stomach.
Also, certain foods increase the production of stomach acids or cause relaxation of the LES. Tomatoes, citrus fruits, onions and garlic, caffeinated products, alcohol, and chocolate are usual culprits.
Get rid of heartburn with these natural fixes:
1. Stop Overeating
Where the oesophagus opens into the stomach, there is a ring-like muscle known as the lower oesophageal sphincter. It acts as a valve and is supposed to prevent the acidic content of the stomach from going up into the oesophagus.
It naturally opens when you swallow, belch or vomit. Otherwise, it should stay closed.
In some cases of acid reflux, this muscle is weakened or dysfunctional. It can also occur when there is too much pressure on the muscle, causing acid to squeeze through the opening.
Avoid eating large meals. Acid reflux usually increases after meals, and larger meals seem to make the problem worse.
2. Limit the caffeine
It is a major component of many varieties of both coffee and tea and has been identified as a trigger for heartburn in some people.
Caffeine may trigger symptoms because it can relax the LES. Evidence suggests that coffee makes acid reflux and heartburn worse and that is why you should consider limiting your intake.
3. Avoid raw onion
The study has shown increased heartburn or acid reflux in people eating a meal containing raw onion compared with an identical meal that didn’t contain onion.
The frequent belching might suggest that more gas is being produced due to the high amounts of fermentable fibers in onion. Raw onion can also irritate the lining of the oesophagus, causing worsened heartburn.
4. Limit your intake of carbonated beverages
Patients with GERD are sometimes advised to limit their intake of carbonated beverages. Studies have found that carbonated beverages are associated with increased acid reflux symptoms.
5. Don’t eat within three hours of going to bed
It is advised to avoid eating within three hours before you go to sleep. Observational studies suggests that eating close to bedtime may worsen acid reflux symptoms at night.
6. Stay Hydrated
Sometimes all you need is to relieve acid reflux is drink more water. Drinking a glass of water is a great place to start before moving onto more intense remedies.
Starting your day with water and staying hydrated throughout the day may help you to relieve acid reflux. Also, don’t forget to drink water after exercise, which can be a trigger for some people who experience acid reflux.
7. Incorporate probiotic foods
Probiotic foods has been shown to relieve the incidence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in patients with reflux and improve their abdominal symptoms.
There are studies found that the probiotics increased the amount of time between episodes of reflux.
Depending on the nature of your digestive symptoms, probiotics are an important way to help restore normal digestive function and alleviate the acid reflux.
8. Losen up the clothes
Many people experience a heartburn because of tight clothes around your stomach as they could be binding the stomach. The first thing you can do is wear free and breezy clothes.
If you have excess work, leading to stress and anxiety, your stomach starts producing acid. So one of the first things that you must do in case of a heartburn is relax and don’t let work affect your health.
10. Limit your alcohol intake
Consumption of alcohol may increase the severity of acid reflux and heartburn. It triggers the symptoms by increasing stomach acid, relaxing the LES and impairing the ability of the oesophagus to clear itself of acid.
Thus, limiting the alcohol intake might help ease some of the pain
Some researches claim that dietary factors are a major underlying cause of acid reflux. Thus simple dietary and lifestyle changes can ease heartburn and other reflux symptoms.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anuja Dani, Certified Sports NutritionistFounder, Harmony Wellness,
M.S.c. Nutrition & Dietetics