Put A Stop To That Heartburn
Acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn, can be a very annoying and painful health condition that is experienced by an estimated 50 percent of the American population. That means there is a very good chance that you have, or will, experience it at some point in your lifetime.
So what is it that causes you to feel this burning sensation in your chest? It occurs when acid from your stomach rises up into your esophagus creating the pain you feel in your chest. Your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is supposed to keep the stomach acid in your stomach, however, sometimes it may open too often or not close tight enough causing the acid to enter your esophagus.
Whether or not you get heartburn depends largely on your lifestyle and the foods that you put into your body. Eating citrusy or spicy foods improves your chances of getting it, as well as drinking beverages like alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee or tea. Another cause for acid reflux is eating large meals and then lying down on your back afterwards.
A lot of times it can be hard to completely avoid all of the causes of this disease. Because of that, it is important for you to know the best ways to avoid it, or to stop it after it has already started. Below are 9 tips to help you put an end to your acid reflux.
1. Chew Gum
Surprisingly, chewing a piece or two of gum after a meal can help stop your heartburn. The extra saliva that it produces washes away the acid that builds up in your gut quicker.
2. Licorice Root
Licorice root, not the candy, has been shown to increase mucus production, and has natural stomach healing properties which can help to reduce your acid reflux symptoms. However, if you do decide to take licorice root for your acid reflux make sure that it is deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). Glycyrrhizic is a potentially dangerous substance in licorice that can have side effects such as high blood sugar if overused.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a very popular remedy for skin burns and wounds, however, it is also a lesser known remedy for acid reflux. When taken orally, aloe vera juice may help to sooth an irritated esophagus from the burn of the acid. A suggested dosage for adults is approximately 2 to 3 oz. of aloe vera juice 20 minutes before each meal.
4. Slippery Elm
Slippery elm bark has been used for centuries by Native Americans as an herbal remedy for heartburn symptoms. According to Dr. Susan Blum, the extract of the slippery elm tree helps to thicken the layer of mucous that lines the stomach, strengthening the barrier against acid. The University of Maryland Medical Center’s recommended dosage is about 2 tablespoons of slippery elm powder in 2 cups of boiling water after meals.
5. Baking Soda
Baking soda helps to quickly neutralize stomach acid because it is a base. However, it shouldn’t be used as your heartburn treatment on a regular basis because overuse can have side effects such as swelling and nausea. If you need some quick heartburn relief, mix 1 tablespoon in a half cup of water and drink.
6. Ginger Root
Ginger root is one of the best foods you can eat to help with your acid reflux, and has been used since ancient times to treat these symptoms. Drinking ginger tea helps to increase saliva production, washing away the acid from your esophagus. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over ¼ to ½ teaspoon of ginger powder and drink after your meals.
Next time you have heartburn, drink ginger tea for acid reflux relief.
7. Eating Smaller Meals
Eating large meals causes your stomach to stretch and makes it harder for your esophagus to tighten as it should. Try to eat smaller meals about 5-6 times per day, and make sure you chew your food a lot to help your stomach digest the food that you just ate. It also helps if you keep your belt and jeans loose because if they are too tight it puts more pressure on your stomach and allows less room for food.
8. Quit Smoking
Smoking has been shown to decrease the stomachs ability to keep acid in it, making it easier for the acid to travel back up your esophagus causing the burning. I know, I know, if it were easy to quit you probably would have done it already. But maybe if your heartburn is bad enough this will be the extra push you need to finally quit this bad habit.
Melatonin is a common hormone that is used to help people fall asleep, but it has also been suggested as a remedy to relieve heartburn. Studies have shown that it helps increase the pressure of your lower esophageal sphincter, keeping acid from creeping up into your esophagus. Dr. Oz recommends taking 3 mg a couple hours before you go to bed for up to four weeks.
Acid reflux disease can be very uncomfortable, especially if you’re one of the unlucky ones experiencing it multiple times every week. There are a bunch of different remedies that you can take that will help relieve or prevent heartburn from occurring, however, improving your lifestyle and diet are the most proven and long-lasting methods to take.
If it is inevitable that you will get heartburn again, try these 9 remedies to see which one works best for you. But please remember to always contact your doctor before beginning new health treatments to make sure you don’t experience any bad side effects.