The terms acid reflux and heartburn are used interchangeably, but they’re not actually the same thing. You don’t feel acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acid is regurgitated up into your esophagus.
However, the reflux can lead to heartburn, that tight, burning discomfort in the center of your chest as the acid irritates the lining of your esophagus. To prevent both issues, try these home remedies for acid reflux and heartburn.
Home remedies for acid reflux and heartburn
1. Get some ginger aid
Ginger is the most helpful herb for heartburn, according to Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D., author of Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine. “I’ve seen it work often enough that I’m convinced,” he says.
“We’re not sure how it works, but it seems to absorb the acid and has the secondary effect of calming the nerves.”Take it in capsule form just after you eat. Start with two capsules and increase the dosage as needed.
You know you’ve taken enough, says Dr. Mowrey, when you start to taste ginger in your throat.
2. Sip some vino
Repeated exposure to stomach acid can damage your lower esophagus, leading to a condition called Barrett’s esophagus.
But drinking one glass of wine daily may cut your risk of reflux-induced Barrett’s esophagus by 56%, according to a new study.
3. Sleep on your left
The esophagus enters the stomach on your right side. Sleeping on your right side. Sleeping on your left prevents food in your stomach from pressing on the opening of the esophagus, which can cause reflux.
4. Slim down
A recent study found that losing weight can cut the risk of heartburn. “Many of my patients have noticed that their symptoms significantly improve after dropping just a few pounds,” says gastroenterologist David Peura, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville.
5. Self-soothe with hypnosis
Visualization exercises focused on the stomach can actually help calm an irritated digestive tract, according to Charles Gerson, MD, co-director of the Mind-Body Digestive Center in New York City. Also, hypnotherapy can ease anxiety and help you relax so the throat muscle that blocks stomach acid functions better.
Try this daily visualization exercise from Dr. Gerson: Sit and close your eyes for 5 to 10 minutes and imagine that water is flowing from your throat to your stomach. If that doesn’t help, attend a hypnotherapy session (find one at hypnosis, Edu / hypnotherapists) twice a month.
6. Eat less fatty food, more often
Eat frequent, small meals to keep hunger in check and curb acid production. When you chow down, do so carefully: “Most people know spicy foods and citrus can cause heartburn, but they don’t realize high-fat foods are also culprits.
These take longer to digest and spend more time in your stomach, increasing the chances acid will creep up,” says dietitian Pat Baird, an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut-Stamford.
7. Chew Away The Pain
Pop a stick of gum into your mouth after a meal to soothe your stomach acid. According to King’s College London researchers, chewing gum can reduce heartburn-related symptoms by boosting the production of saliva, which is alkaline and helps neutralize stomach acid.
More saliva also means more swallowing, which stimulates the muscle contractions that help digest food. If you’re not the gum-chewing type, sugar-free hard candy or lozenge may have a similar effect.
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