Do you ever feel that unpleasant, burning sensation in your chest? It's the kind that starts from the pit of your stomach.
There's a possibility it could be heartburn.
However, don't call your firefighting medications just yet. In this do-it-yourself modern-day times, maybe it's time for you to trust in the power of natural remedies.
This blog post will serve as your ultimate guide to the best natural remedies that can help treat heartburn.
What is heartburn?
Of course, heartburn shouldn't be thought of in a literal way. Heartburn is a condition that takes place when stomach acid reaches your esophagus. This normally occurs when the muscular valve between the stomach and the esophagus loosens or fails to close completely, allowing the passage of the acid. Experiencing heartburn may be defined as a burning sensation just below the breastbone. You may also taste a bit of bitterness and sourness in your mouth.
With that said, heartburn doesn't exactly sound exciting.
Unfortunately, it can also be something harmful to our health. Heartburn is actually a symptom of a medical issue known as "acid reflux", although the two of them are usually interchanged with each other. Acid reflux is the one to blame for the burning sensation that you feel in your chest. Our esophagus is the one assigned to push the food that we consume from our mouths to our stomachs, where the acids and enzymes break it down for digestion. But if those stomach acids decide to rebel by going up to our esophagus, then that's acid reflux to you.
Heartburn and acid reflux are generally not so bad. But if they do happen frequently, they can lead to more severe health issues such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcers, aspiration pneumonia, esophagitis, and many more. We certainly don't want any of that to happen to us, don't we?
In that case, you understand the gravity of learning about the natural remedies for heartburn. Home treatment might seem a little less medical than you think but they work for many people and sometimes they're even "doctor-recommended". Plus, they're generally safe for our health and cost-efficient!
What are the symptoms of heartburn?
What heartburn feels like
By knowing the signs of heartburn, you will be able to identify the problem immediately before it progresses and worsens. Here are the different heartburn symptoms that we should remember:
- Burning sensation in your chest that can last for a few minutes to a couple of hours
- Chest pain as you lay down or bend over
- A burning feeling in your throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- A sour or bitter taste in the back of your throat
What are the causes of heartburn?
It's also important for us to understand the things that can trigger heartburn. By knowing the problem (or the source of the problem), we can formulate the best kind of treatment (or in this case, natural treatments) to solve it. With that said, here are the following things that can cause heartburn:
- When the muscular valve between the stomach and esophagus loosens or doesn't close properly, causing the stomach acid to rise
- Hiatal hernia (this is when the stomach bulges up into the chest)
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Certain medications (most especially anti-inflammatory drugs)
Foods and drinks that can trigger heartburn symptoms:
- Foods high in fat
- Tomato-based products
- Citrus fruits
- Citrus juices
- Caffeinated beverages
- Carbonated beverages
Lifestyle habits that can contribute to heartburn symptoms:
- Experiencing high levels of stress
- Wearing clothes or belts that are tight
What are the best natural remedies for heartburn relief?
Taking an anti-inflammatory medication is great for dealing with body pains and discomforts. However, considering that medications like that may also cause heartburn, it's like fighting fire with fire. This is why you need to open your eyes to a more natural cure for heartburn.
When it comes to home remedies for heartburn or ways on how to simply prevent it, listed below are the best ones you can do:
1. Watch what, when, and how you eat.
The food and drinks that you consume affect your health in ways you can only imagine. So if you want to prevent triggering heartburn, it would be best to manage your eating habits. Avoid eating foods and drinking beverages that would cause stomach acid to rise. Probably lay off high-fat foods, citrus fruits, caffeine, alcohol, and the others mentioned above. Also, eat at the right time. It's recommended to have your meal two to three hours before bedtime so that your stomach has enough time to empty itself before you finally go to rest. Finally, how you eat is also something of a concern. To avoid or relieve heartburn, try eating more slowly by taking smaller bites of your food. Don't go eating like a hungry Viking!
2. Lose some weight
Weight loss may help prevent heartburn from happening. If you are overweight, you have excess abdominal fat. This can press against the stomach, causing the acids to be forced up into the esophagus. All you have to do is to maintain a healthy and balanced diet (which consists of consuming more fruits, vegetables, and protein) as well as to exercise regularly to shed some pounds. Try jogging or walking for at least thirty minutes every day or other workouts known for aiding weight loss such as yoga, aerobics, and cross fit.
3. Avoid smoking
Cigarettes are no stranger to being a threat to our health. Although some people find smoking harmless or to be a necessity, it actually reduces the effectiveness of the muscles that keep the acid in our stomachs. So if you really want to treat heartburn, you may want to toss that cigarette away (for this and so many other reasons). This would also protect the health of the people around you because second-hand smoking is just as bad.
4. Have some baking soda
One type of natural treatment for heartburn that happens to be effective for many people is baking soda (not baking powder, you are no cake). Baking soda contains alkaline pH that helps fight the acidity in the stomach, just like how many over-the-counter antacids work. It might seem to be a little bit weird to consume baking soda by itself, but mix a teaspoon of it
with a glass of water and you've got yourself an easy and natural cure for heartburn. It doesn't taste good because it's actually really salty, but at least you're able to relieve heartburn.
5. Drink less coffee, more tea
Coffee is life, is it not? Maybe not always. Although coffee is often praised for its delicious taste and energy-boosting abilities, the caffeine in it is also a contributing factor to heartburn. Try cutting back on your caffeine intake. If you would still like to have a warm cup in the morning to start your day, maybe drinking tea would be better. Plenty of herbal teas are filled with antioxidants and nutrients that would do wonders for your physical and mental health. They're also caffeine-free and a well-known digestive aid, so you wouldn't have to be worried about stomach acid anytime soon. One of the best teas to drink for heartburn relief is chamomile tea. It contains sedative and relaxing properties that will soothe an upset stomach.
For instance, dandelion root tea is an optimal beverage for promoting good gut health and smooth digestion. It also has an aroma that’s quite similar to coffee, perfect for those who are trying to quit coffee but still miss it.
6. Chew some gum
It may seem a tad weird, but gum may help relieve heartburn symptoms. As we chew gum, the production of saliva interferes with acid. Also, chewing gum causes us to swallow more often which actually helps push out the stomach acids away from our esophagus. Make sure to choose the kind of gum that's sugar-free so you can protect your teeth and blood sugar levels.
Are there more other natural remedies for heartburn?
Another thing that's suggested as a natural cure for heartburn is melatonin. Melatonin is a supplement used to improve sleep quality. However, there is still limited research concerning its effectiveness as a natural treatment for heartburn or for any other gastrointestinal symptoms in that matter. Before taking a supplement, remember to check with your doctor first.
Heartburn is a very common occurrence, sometimes you won't even anticipate its coming. Good thing that it's easy to treat heartburn with all these natural home remedies. Of course, it's still important to consult your doctor to gain perspective from a medical professional's point of view. However, if you don't have the time or the budget to do so, you can rely on these natural remedies for heartburn relief. Goodbye heartburn, goodbye acid reflux!