Acid Reflux occurs when stomach acid moves back up into the esophagus, causing that burning sensation.
The acid is usually able to move back into the esophagus because the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is a ring of muscle at the top of the stomach, fails to close properly after food passes through it.
Besides the burning sensation, other symptoms that are experienced with acid reflux are heartburn, a sour or bitter taste in one’s mouth, burping, feeling bloated, hiccups, nausea and more.
It is no surprise that people who experience acid reflux seek treatment to alleviate the symptoms and prevent it from reoccurring.
There are a number of over the counter and prescription medication options however many people would prefer to avoid medication.
People want to avoid medications for a variety of reasons, some of which include the negative side effects of medication, allergies, the cost of the medication and poor interaction with other medications one is taking.
For those individuals, as well as anyone who is experiencing acid reflux, there are a number of home remedies that can lead to substantial improvement.
The most effective way to treat the symptoms of acid reflux and prevent it from occurring is to make dietary and lifestyle changes. These changes are natural, safe and cost-effective ways to alleviate the problem.
Lifestyle changes that will aid in the relief of acid reflux include:
- Eat at a slower pace
- Eat smaller meals
- Quit smoking
- Do not eat 3 hours before going to bed
- Raise the head of one’s bed at least 4 – 6 inches
- Wear looser fitting clothing
- Lose weight if one is overweight or obese
Foods to Avoid
The lifestyle changes listed above should be adhered to in conjunction with dietary restrictions. These restrictions involve avoid foods and beverages that trigger acid reflux while incorporating foods that have been known to reduce symptoms.
The lower the pH of a food, the more acidic the food is therefore one should aim to eat foods with a pH of 5 or above. Unfortunately, one cannot tell the acidity of a food simply by looking at it; it takes some research to determine which foods are best.
The foods and beverages that should be avoided are:
- Spicy foods
- Citrus foods such as oranges and grapefruit
- Overly fatty foods
- Carbonated beverages
Foods That Are Safe
Foods that should be incorporated into one’s diet since they fight acid reflux are:
- Whole grain bread
- Egg whites
- Lean poultry and meats
Home Remedies for Acid Reflux
Besides lifestyle and dietary changes, there are some additional home remedies that can also be helpful to reduce or eliminate acid reflux.
These home remedies include:
Sodium Bicarbonate is a base substance which can neutralize stomach acid. To use baking soda as a treatment, mix 1 teaspoon of it with an 8 ounce glass of water and drink. Do not exceed 3 teaspoons in a 24 hour period and do not use this method for longer than one week. Long term use can cause negative side effects, such as swelling and nausea due to its high salt content.
Ginger Root Tea
Ginger Root is used to quell many digestive ailments, including acid reflux. To use this method, simmer 3 slices of ginger in two cups of water for 30 minutes and drink it about half an hour before a meal.
Aloe Vera Juice
Drinking Aloe Vera Juice has been shown to reduce inflammation and can reduce the pain associated with acid reflux. One should drink half a cup of Aloe Vera juice at room temperature before meals. Use caution though since Aloe is considered to be a laxative. Be sure to purchase high quality juice that is marked safe for ingestion.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Some cases of acid reflux are believed to be caused by a lack of stomach acid. Therefore, while it may sound counterintuitive, increasing the amount of acid present may actually help to reduce the symptoms of acid reflux. Mix 3 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of water and drink before meals and bed.
If symptoms do not improve, stop using this as a treatment since it can also aggravate symptoms.
Chewing gum will stimulate the salivary glands, which increases the amount of saliva present in one’s mouth and therefore swallowed. The more saliva that is swallowed into the digestive track, the more diluted the stomach acid will become. People experiencing symptoms can chew a piece of sugar-free gum for 30 minutes after a meal for relief.
Bananas are considered a natural antacid and can therefore reduce the symptoms of acid reflux. For relief, eat one ripened banana per day.
Mustard possesses alkaline qualities that can help neutralize the stomach acid present. If one can stomach it, eating 1 teaspoon of straight yellow mustard can bring some relief.
It is believed that almonds neutralize stomach acid and can reduce the symptoms of heartburn. Some recommend eating a few almonds after each meal and snack throughout the day to keep acid reflux away.
Chamomile has been proved to reduce inflammation throughout the body, including in the stomach and can reduce the amount of stomach acid present. By drinking a cup of chamomile tea an hour before bed, one can reduce the severity of acid reflux experienced at night.
For acid reflux treatment, there are a wide variety of home remedies that can be used to reduce symptoms of the condition. Some of these remedies can not only replace medications but be more effective than them. However, the remedies listed here are informational and do not constitute medical advice. One should always consult a medical professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment suggestions.