Before getting to know about the home remedies for heartburn, you need to understand the underlying causes. An unbearable pain occurs in the lower chest due to acid reflux. It happens when the contents of the stomach are pushed back into the esophagus.
What are the home remedies for heartburn?
It is vital to note that every mode of treatment comes with its risks, and hence it is advisable to consult a medical professional before deciding the best solution for yourself.
If you are wondering how to stop or treat heartburn, you can read some of the tips and home remedies given below:
- Avoid overeating: When you overeat, you exert pressure on the esophageal sphincter which is a ring-like muscle that connects the esophagus to the stomach. It is similar to a valve, and thus, it prevents the stomach’s acidic content from going back to the esophagus.
People with acid reflux have weak sphincters. Overeating causes acid to push into the esophagus.
- Losing weight: Acid reflux occurs when the pressure on the abdomen is high, particularly for those who are obese and for pregnant women as well. So to get relief from heartburn, one should try to lose weight.
Excessive abdominal pressure pushes the esophageal sphincter upwards, causing the stomach acid to enter the esophagus, thus causing acid reflux.
- Low-carb diet: Carbs that remain undigested lead to bacterial overgrowth and increase the abdominal pressure. An excess of undigested carbs in the stomach is the main cause of gas and bloating. You might feel like belching because of this. Thus, following a low-carb diet is a good home remedy for heartburn.
- Controlling alcohol: The chances of getting acidity and heartburn rise due to the consumption of alcohol. Symptoms worsen as there is an increase in stomach acid. The esophageal sphincter becomes relaxed, and therefore, it cannot prevent the acid from entering the esophagus. As far as the treatment of heartburn is concerned, the best way it is to avoid the reasons that cause it.
- Reduce intake of coffee: The presence of caffeine leads to a temporary weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter. It results in a higher risk of acid reflux.
Consumption of decaffeinated coffee reduces the occurrence of reflux as compared to regular coffee. So, a good home remedy for heartburn would be having decaffeinated coffee. However, if the symptoms persist, it is better to be on the safer side and avoid all kinds of coffee.
- Chewing gum: There has been evidence that chewing gum leads to a reduction of esophageal acidity. When you chew gum, it leads to an increase in saliva production. The bicarbonate in gum seems to be helpful. However, there is no actual reduction in the reflux.
- Avoid raw onion: Studies have shown that people with acid reflux did not feel any symptoms if there was no raw onion in the food. Raw onion could be a trigger for acid reflux, and thus, it is best to avoid it.
Onion has high quantities of fermentable fiber which might be the cause of gas formation that leads to belching. Raw onions may also irritate the lining of the esophagus. So as a rule of thumb, if raw onions aggravate acidity, it is best to avoid them.
- Limit the intake of carbonated beverages: In some cases, it has been found that there is a direct correlation between carbonated soft drinks and acid reflux. It is especially noticed in the case of patients who have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD.
A study has also shown that carbonated drinks lead to a temporary weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter. The carbon dioxide in soft drinks results in people belching which could lead to acid entering the esophagus. So, you can avoid carbonated drinks and have water or fresh juices as a home remedy for heartburn.
- Limit the intake of citrus juice: Studies have shown that drinking grapefruit or orange juice has worsened symptoms of acid reflux in patients suffering from GERD. Acidity is also triggered by the pH value of orange juice.
Even though the esophageal sphincter is not directly affected or weakened by citrus juice, there are high chances that it may irritate the esophageal lining. For this reason, it might temporarily aggravate your heartburn. So, make sure that you keep your citrus consumption low to moderate.
- Lower intake of chocolate: Even though there is no conclusive evidence on the negative effects of chocolate, some studies have shown that it causes a weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter. So, patients with GERD should limit their consumption of chocolate.
- Avoid mint: Some foods and products like candy, toothpaste, and mouthwash solutions use spearmint and peppermint as flavors. It has been found that peppermint, in high doses, can aggravate acid reflux, causing irritation in the lining of the esophagus. The best treatment for heartburn is to avoid such products.
- Have an early dinner: If you suffer from acid reflux, it is advisable that you have dinner not less than three hours before bedtime. Though these results are not conclusive, people with GERD experienced greater symptoms of reflux when they had dinner just before going to bed.
- Sleeping posture: Studies have shown that elevating your head while sleeping can reduce the symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn.
You can use these tips along with other home remedies for treating heartburn.