With Christmas approaching and New Years right behind it; lots of food and drink and partying, a lot of us will probably get acid reflux at some point this month. Acid reflux can be caused by over eating, eating rich heavy foods or eating over cooked, slightly burnt foods. Some may get acid reflux when eating too close to bedtime or taking certain medication like aspirin. Even obesity can make acid reflux a higher risk factor. If a person experiences acid reflux on a regular basis, the acids will irritate the esophagus, which may develop into scarring, ulceration, inflammation or hemorrhaging. Basically acid reflux is where acid and food from the stomach splash back up to the esophagus and give us a horrible burning taste in our mouths and sometimes with chest pains.
Acid reflux is the acid that comes up from the stomach into the esophagus. Heartburn is the burning sensation or tight painful discomfort in the chest area as a result of acid reflux. You can have acid reflux without the heartburn or with it depending on how you react and how much acid reflux you have. Indigestion is usually the pain felt in the upper abdomen area after eating too quickly, eating too much or eating spicy or fried foods. With indigestion some may experience bloating, belching, nausea, an uncomfortable fullness with pain and a slight burning sensation. You could have indigestion, then as a result have acid reflux then heartburn. Although all three sound the same, they are slightly different and you can experience them either all together or singularly. All the remedies here though will treat all three problems.
Some foods that have been known to trigger acid reflux or indigestion are:
Chocolate and too many sweets
Fatty fried foods
Overcooked or burnt foods
Tomatoes and tomato based foods
Alcohol, especially wine
Coffee including decaf
- Bicarb of soda works wonders and is pretty much the staple base ingredient for all those heartburn / antacid medicines on the market out there. Mix one teaspoon into a cup of hot water and then drink. Make up another cup if the indigestion is really bad but the bicarb of soda will neutralise the acid as it is alkaline and settle the stomach. However, if you’re on a low sodium diet this remedy shouldn’t be used frequently.
- Diluted potato juice – cut up potatoes into small chunks, cover with water and simmer for 20 mins. Strain off the potatoes and let the juice cool and then drink it.
- Slippery Elm Bark powder and turmeric are also great too against heartburn. Use the powder though not the capsules and mix with herbal tea or a glass of water.
- Try a fresh ginger tea by grating some ginger into a cup and pouring boiled hot water on it. Steep for a few minutes, drink the water slowly and chew on the ginger. If you’re not into fresh ginger try candied ginger or ginger beer. Great for kids too.
- Try peppermint or chamomile tea! Mint and chamomile help soothe and calm indigestion and stomach upsets.
- Sleep on your side and elevate your head. Sleeping on your side is a lot better than your stomach as sleeping on the stomach can make heartburn worse. Using a couple of pillows will keep your head and chest higher making the acid stay in the stomach.
- Eat smaller meals, research indicates that eating large portions that fill the stomach can overwhelm the esophageal sphincter making acid reflux worse. You don’t have to cut calories, just eat little and often.
- As a reactionary method rather than preventative measure, chewing gum is a good idea to increase the production of saliva. Saliva is naturally alkaline and will counteract / neutralize the acid in your throat.
- Improve your posture, something as simple as just standing up straight or sitting upright and not lying back after indulging in a large meal will help. If you recline after eating a large meal there is more chance the food and stomach acids will go back up the esophagus instead of staying in the stomach.
- Give up cigarettes and stop smoking! Nicotine relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter and creates more acid in the stomach, which will make it easier for acids to enter the esophagus and throat.
- Take digestive enzymes or probiotics.
- Reach for the aloe vera juice! it will soothe, calm, cool and neutralize the heartburn.
- Look at your diet, cut acidic sugars, processed foods and bad fats and opt more for neutral alkaline fruits and vegetables.
- Balance hydrochloric acid levels in the body. You can do this by swapping cheap table salt for Himalayan Crystal Salt or a high quality sea-salt, which contain chloride and lots of trace minerals that the body needs.
- Try raw organic Apple Cider Vinegar. 1 tbsp in a glass (4oz) of water before meals helps settle the stomach. When acid reflux strikes this remedy works really quickly to ease the symptoms. If you find this makes it worse then you probably have too little acid, try drinking lemon juice mixed with water and see if that helps instead. Lemons although acidic are in fact alkaline.
- Create a 4-seed Asian mix to chew on that will help cure heartburn caused by extra gas. Combine a blend of anise, dill, fennel and caraway seeds in equal 1 tsp. portions. Blend the mix together before slowly chewing about 1/2 tsp. at a time.
- Chew on caraway and fennel seeds.
I’d be happy to answer or discuss any questions you might have in the comments section below. 🙂 These herbal remedies are to help ease temporary pain only. If your problem is chronic and lasts longer than a couple of days then you must see your doctor for other underlying problems and medical treatment.