When food flows back up through your esophagus, a.k.a. acid reflux, it can cause a variety of painful symptoms. One of the most common of these is heartburn, a burning sensation that radiates from the area near your heart. Although certain medications target the symptoms of acid reflux, there are plenty of natural remedies that can help you alleviate and prevent this discomfort.
Whether you’re looking to relieve symptoms or avoid future instances, we’ve gathered a list of the best natural remedies for acid reflux.
Eat smaller, slower meals
Eating too quickly or eating too much can lead to bouts of acid reflux. If your body already struggles to digest your food, you can help it do its job by practicing mindful eating. Take small bites of food and chew completely before swallowing. Try not to watch TV or distract yourself while eating, as this can make it harder for your brain to recognize when you’re full. Pay attention to your meal and listen for those cues to tell you when to stop.
Take diluted apple cider vinegar
Oddly enough, sometimes acid reflux can be caused by too little acid in your diet. Apple cider vinegar can counteract this and ease the symptoms of acid reflux. Plus, it’s loaded with other health benefits, including its natural ability to improve digestion, lower blood sugar, and reduce bloating. Apple cider vinegar has an unpleasant and strong taste, so it’s best to dilute it in water and add honey to taste.
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Nicotine can weaken and damage the lower esophageal sphincter, which is the group of muscles that closes off the esophagus and thus prevents acid from traveling back up the throat. While quitting smoking is a good choice for your health for a wide variety of reasons, if you are suffering from chronic bouts of acid reflux, it might be the push you need to put down the cigarettes for good.
Avoid triggering foods
Some foods are notorious for triggering acid reflux. If you’re not already familiar with your food triggers, pay close attention to what you eat and how it makes you feel. The most common foods that result in acid reflux include coffee, tea, spicy food, fried food, alcohol, and tomatoes. If you notice that a particular food consistently triggers your heartburn, avoid it as much as possible to prevent yourself from dealing with acid reflux.
Eat 3-4 hours before bed
When someone lies down shortly after eating, that undigested meal is more likely to travel back up through their esophagus. Ensuring that your meal is fully digested will help prevent you from experiencing heartburn at nighttime. Try to eat your last meal of the day 3-4 hours before bedtime and avoid your trigger foods before hitting the hay.
Many swear by ginger for treating and preventing their acid reflux-related symptoms. There are several ways to take ginger, including in tea, in cooked dishes, and ginger chews. However, make sure to only take a small amount. In moderation, ginger acts as an anti-inflammatory, but if you take too much, it could cause the opposite effect. Take no more than 4 ounces of ginger throughout the day or in one sitting to prevent this natural remedy from worsening your symptoms.
Destress with self care
Stressing about your acid reflux symptoms? Actually, stress in itself could be making your heartburn worse. Stress can trigger the symptoms of acid reflux. Occasionally, heartburn-like sensations are actually your body’s response to stress, not acid reflux at all. Practice mindfulness and breathing techniques to reduce your stress, get enough sleep, and take time for self care when necessary. Although there is no way to permanently prevent stress, small behavioural changes can help you manage your feelings when you find yourself in a high-pressure environment or situation.
Acid reflux and its symptoms can be uncomfortable at best and painful at worst. Incorporating some of these daily habits and natural remedies into your routine may help you manage your symptoms and prevent your acid reflux from flaring up. Everyone’s body is different, and with a little trial and error you can find what works best for you.
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