Heartburn is something that most adults will experience during their lifetime. It is characterized by an uncomfortable burning sensation right behind the breastbone that often times creeps up the throat, and is a symptom, not a disease in itself. It is important to understand if you are having frequent symptoms of heartburn, it is really a sign of bigger problems including overeating and eating a high-carbohydrate diet. Heartburn leads to esophageal cancer, so it is more important to solve the problem than it is to simply treat the symptoms.
While over-the-counter and prescription medications are available, if you suffer only from occasional heartburn, here are some home remedies you may want to try.
Eat a banana or an apple
Bananas contain natural antacids that can act as a buffer against acid reflux. If you want to try out the simplest home remedies for heartburn first, try letting a few bananas ripen up nicely and eating one every day. Another option is to try an apple a day. Slice one up and eat it a couple of hours before bedtime to relieve or prevent discomfort.
The Journal of Dental Research conducted a study that showed people with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or chronic heartburn, experienced relief when they chewed a piece of sugar-free gum for 30 minutes after a meal. This is because chewing gum stimulates the salivary glands, and increases the flow of saliva. Any acid that has built up in the gut is diluted and washed away or cleared out more quickly. (1)
Keep your chin up
Heartburn tends to get worse at night because you’re lying down when you sleep. Gravity works against you, and it’s easier for the digested contents of your stomach to back up into your esophagus, along with acid. Try elevating your head about 6 inches when you sleep by placing books, folded towels or blankets. Don’t lie down within 3-4 hours after eating, because lying down with a full stomach makes stomach contents press harder against your lower esophagus.
A spoonful of baking soda
A spoonful of sodium bicarbonate, or teaspoon-full to be exact, can help put an end to the gnawing, burning, sensation of heartburn caused by acid reflux. Baking soda, as sodium bicarbonate is more commonly known, can help your reflux and in turn help your heartburn because it is a base substance. It has a pH higher than 7.0, and therefore neutralizes stomach acid. Neutralizing the stomach acid means that if your lower esophageal sphincter muscle relaxes and acid comes up your throat, you don’t get “burned” as badly.
Soothe your stomach with aloe juice
Aloe is a plant used to soothe burns, and people often think of using it to help something like sunburn, but it can do more than that. It may be able to help with heartburn too because it reduces inflammation. This means when your tummy starts getting irritated and inflamed, or your esophagus is getting eaten away at, a nice glass of aloe vera juice may be just the thing to help calm it down.
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