Almost everyone has experienced the discomfort of heartburn. Whether you’re someone who is frequently plagued by the pain or someone who suffers only after eating a greasy piece of pizza, no one likes the unpleasant feeling of acid reflux.
To alleviate heartburn, it can be tempting to reach for the Tums each time the chest pain or stomach ache hits, but there are a variety of things you can do before turning to medication to alleviate your symptoms. Next time you want a quick fix for your pesky heartburn, try one of these natural remedies you can find at home.
1. Aloe Vera Juice
Just as aloe vera can soothe a painful sunburn, it can also reduce inflammation in the stomach. The juice is a natural laxative, however, so be sure to drink it in moderation to limit any unwanted side effects.
2. Chewing Gum
A study from the Journal of Dental Research found that chewing a piece of sugar-free gum for 30 minutes provided heartburn relief for people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms. Gum stimulates the flow of saliva, which can help clear out any excess acid.
Fermented milk products such as buttermilk or yogurt contain probiotics, which help to improve digestion. Taking a probiotic supplement daily can also help alleviate long-term acid reflux issues.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains enzymes that come from crushed and fermented apples, which provide intestinal protection. The vinegar also has antimicrobial properties, which can help prevent heartburn.
5. Baking Soda
About one teaspoon of baking soda mixed in water can be used as a natural antacid for acid reflux. Its main ingredient, sodium bicarbonate, helps neutralize stomach acid and prevents it from backing up in the esophagus.
6. Saltine Crackers
Saltine crackers, also known as soda crackers, contain both baking soda and cream of tartar, alkaline ingredients that neutralize acid. They are also bland carbohydrates that can help soak up excess acid and aid in digestion.
Ginger has long been used as a remedy for acid reflux, and for good reason. In small doses, ginger can reduce the likelihood of stomach acid flowing up into the esophagus. It can also help to reduce inflammation, thereby relieving some unpleasant symptoms.
Fennel contains a large number of active components that are responsible for the herb’s soothing effects on the stomach. In particular, fennel contains an anti-inflammatory phytonutrient called anethole, which can help relax the stomach walls.
If you experience acid reflux often, you might want to consider starting your mornings with a big bowl of oatmeal. The whole grain is high in fiber, and research from the journal Gut found a link between high fiber intake and reduced risk of acid reflux symptoms.
If you are prone to digestive issues, you should also note the foods that are best to eat on an empty stomach — and which to avoid. As you might expect, spicy food on an empty stomach is a big no-no, but dairy is a good place to start, as long as you aren’t lactose intolerant.
Everyone experiences different triggers when it comes to heartburn and acid reflux, so pay attention to your own body to see what works for you and what doesn’t.