Heartburn or acid reflux is a common problem and is caused when excess acid builds in the body and moves up toward the throat. There are many treatments available for the problem, but for many sufferers, natural remedies for heartburn are the favored form of treatment as over the counter medicines can work out to be expensive over time when bought regularly.
Causes of Heartburn
Constant heartburn can be caused by a number of factors such as obesity, lack of exercise or pregnancy, but the most likely cause is a bad diet. Eating foods such as red meat, spicy food, dairy products, or any fatty foods can lead to a build up of acid, pain in the chest, and an acidic taste in the mouth. Other foods that are otherwise healthy should also be avoided by sufferers including: citrus fruits, onions, tomatoes, peppermint or spearmint.
Certain drinks, when drunk regularly, can also lead to a person suffering from what can seem like constant heartburn episodes. Caffeine based drinks such as coffee and tea should be avoided as much as possible, as should citrus juice, fizzy sodas, and alcohol. Additionally, tobacco products can lead to excess acid building up in the stomach. It should be kept to a minimum or preferably cut out all together.
Lack of exercise and bad posture are also responsible for causing acid reflux. Thus, heartburn relief can be obtained with a simple change in lifestyle. Taking a yoga class, taking up a sport, or even exercising at home is an ideal way to alleviate the problem. Coupled with an improved diet, they can improve health generally while keeping the symptoms of acid reflux at bay.
Popular Natural Remedies for Heartburn
Although a change of lifestyle is the best way to limit the onset of heartburn, it may not cure it completely. There are many over-the-counter products available for heartburn relief such as creams, pills, ointments, and drinks. While some of these products are affective, they can prove expensive and if not already in the house, might be not help, especially if the symptoms strike at night.
However there are more natural remedies for heartburn that can be found in most kitchens and can bring instant relief from the pain. Some that would be worth trying are listed below, but it is important to remember that if symptoms persist, a doctor should be consulted to ensure there is no underlying problem that needs medical attention.
1. Milk – Must be fat free as milk fat can have the opposite of the desired effect and actually increase acid build up in the system.
2. Baking soda – A very effective remedy as it neutralizes acid in the body. Mix a teaspoon full with a glass of water when the symptoms first appear for instant relief.
3. Apple cider vinegar – One of the oldest and most trusted natural remedies for heartburn that brings instant relief when mixed with water.
4. Bananas – Eating a banana a day will help keep the acid level in the body down to the right levels
5. Garlic – Eating food rich in garlic is another great way to keep acid reflux symptoms at bay.
Several small meals should be eaten throughout the day as opposed to one or two large ones. Food should also be chewed properly and eaten slowly to ensure the digestive system can do its job easily and to keep the levels of acid in the stomach to a minimum.
Another way to help your body is to try to keep pressure off the stomach. Wear loosely fitting clothes and especially avoid tight belts and underwear. Sleeping with the upper body elevated will also be of benefit as it makes it difficult for excess acid to travel up the body. This can be achieved by using an extra pillow or putting some books under the legs of the bed at the top end.