What is heartburn?
Video credit: Fortis Healthcare
Heartburn from stomach acid, also known as acid reflux disease, is one of the most important signs of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
GERD is a condition in which the muscle at the end of the oesophagus is too loose or does not close properly, allowing acid (and food particles) from the stomach to erupt into the oesophagus.
Acid reflux is when the last bit of stomach contents enter the oesophagus.
Reflux is caused by a weakening of the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES), which is a ring-shaped muscle band at the bottom of the oesophagus.
The LES is a valve that opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and then closes again to prevent food or stomach acid from flowing back.
A weak LES does not allow it to close properly. This causes stomach acids to rise back up the oesophagus, eventually damaging the throat and causing a burning sensation.
Many people experience heartburn at least once a month.
As well as the usual burning sensation, acid can also damage the oesophagus. It can also lead to symptoms affecting the throat, such as sore throat in people with GERD.
 How long does heartburn last?
Depending on the cause, the unpleasant sensations of heartburn can linger for two hours or more.
After eating spicy or acidic foods, mild heartburn usually lasts until the food is digested. If you lean over or lie down, heartburn symptoms may reappear several hours after they initially arrived.
Heartburn that responds to at-home treatment on a regular basis is usually nothing to be concerned about.
However, if you have heartburn several times a week or more, it could be a sign of a serious underlying illness that necessitates medical attention.
In this instance, your heartburn will most likely persist until the underlying cause is identified and treated.
The causes of heartburn are numerous and sometimes difficult to identify.
They can occur:
- Following a diet that is too rich, too acidic or too spicy;
- During stress;
- After taking an unsuitable stomach medicine;
- During pregnancy;
- Because of obesity;
- With the presence of a bacterium ( Helicobacter pylori ).
Heartburn can be manifested by:
- a burning sensation in the breastbone and throat;
- stomach pain;
- acid reflux ( gastroesophageal reflux );
- a bitter or sour taste in the throat and in the mouth.
 Prevention tip (s):
In order to prevent the onset of heartburn, it is advisable to adopt an appropriate diet.
It can also help to follow a few rules:
- divide the food into several small snacks during the day;
- eat lean meats, fish, eggs, bread, starches and vegetables;
- avoid fatty and/or fried foods;
- steaming, stewing or grilling foods;
- avoid fasting too long;
- avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, acidic fruit juices, and chocolate.
Other recommendations may be beneficial:
- Eat slowly, chewing each food well;
- Do not lie down for two hours after a meal;
- Avoid stress and tobacco if possible;
- Check the composition of drugs because some promote acid reflux;
- Lose weight, if necessary;
- Wear loose clothing.
If heartburn is suspected by the doctor, certain examinations may be prescribed for the patient:
- A pH meter (a probe inserted down the throat down the esophagus to assess the acidity present) to confirm the existence of gastroesophageal reflux ;
- Gastric fibroscopy to determine the presence or absence of lesions (esophagitis, esophageal ulcer, etc.).
 Treatment (s)
(i) In the event of heartburn, it is strongly recommended to compose your diet of products that do not promote acid reflux.
Most occasional heartburn is usually relieved with antacid medication. When the pain is frequent (once a week), proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are the standard treatment.
Raising the head of the bed may improve symptoms if there is reflux. Homoeopathy, herbal medicine, aromatherapy, and naturopathy can be helpful in relieving heartburn symptoms.
In severe cases of reflux, surgery may be offered.
Seek medical attention immediately if heartburn appears suddenly and the pain is impossible to endure, or if the pain is chronic.
The Chamomile Essential Oil noble is interesting, but only if the heartburn is stress-related.
Take 1 drop of the essential oils of noble chamomile and lemon in a quarter of a teaspoon of honey or olive oil. 3 times a day.
In case of gastric reflux, drink large glasses of sparkling water.
(iii) Take a gastric bandage made from clay:
In the evening, mix in a glass of water and 1 teaspoon of white clay.
Leave to stand overnight and drink the clay that floats the next day, without consuming the clay left in the bottom of the glass. Repeat 8 to 10 days in a row.
 How can I get rid of heartburn naturally?
Are there foods that can prevent acid reflux? Most home remedies for acid reflux involve eating the right foods to reduce the symptoms and signs of the condition.
(a) Chewing gum:
This should be chewing gum without sugar. Those who chew sugar-free gum for 30 minutes are less likely to suffer from this condition.
One of the reasons you should chew sugar-free gum as a treatment for acid reflux symptoms is that it stimulates saliva production, increasing the flow of food into the stomach. If acid is present in the oesophagus, it is also flushed out through the intestine, resulting in an improvement in symptoms.
To use this home remedy?
- Keep a supply of sugar-free chewing gum
- Take chewing gum after every meal and chew it for 30 minutes.
- It doesn’t matter what type of chewing gum you use, as long as it is sugar-free.
Instead of eating a donut every morning, try eating oatmeal for breakfast. This is one of those foods that can counteract heartburn.
Not only will oatmeal reduce the risk of heart disease, but it can also help reduce the pain caused by this condition.
The high fibre content in this food makes it useful in combating acid reflux. It also induces a feeling of satiety, which reduces feelings of hunger.
This means you can avoid overeating.
But that’s not all. Oatmeal can also help you achieve your weight loss goal. Remember that weight loss is also highly recommended if you have this condition.
How to use oatmeal as a home remedy for acid reflux?
- Choose oatmeal without artificial sweeteners
- Add some dried cranberries and low-fat milk.
- You can also add a sliced banana. This fruit also helps to fight heartburn naturally.
This is one of the readily available remedies.
An apple can prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the oesophagus. It also helps to treat irritation of the oesophageal sphincter.
But make sure you eat organic apples.
The effectiveness of an apple for acid reflux is that it creates an alkaline in the stomach. This neutralises excess acid in the stomach and helps digestion.
How to use an apple as a home remedy for acid reflux?
- Eat a sliced apple after every meal.
- Drink apple juice. Use a juicer or blender to make fresh apple juice. Apple juice neutralises acidity in the stomach, which helps to alkalise the body.
This tasty and healthy fruit is also one of the foods that should be consumed to combat acid reflux. Instead of taking antacids, you can simply eat this fruit.
Why can you eat bananas as a home remedy for acid reflux?
They are high in potassium, which reduces stomach acidity. You can only eat a ripe banana, not a green one. This is because unripe bananas contain potassium nitrate, which can increase the pain caused by acid reflux.
A banana also contains a chemical that protects the lining of the stomach. This is one of the reasons why banana is recommended for patients with peptic ulcers.
In addition, it contains a large amount of fibre. As a result, it can speed up digestion. It also reduces the production of stomach acid, thereby preventing the excess acid that causes acid reflux symptoms.
How can bananas be used to relieve the symptoms of acid reflux?
- Eat a banana after every meal.
- Eat a banana every time you feel heartburn.
You can also use bananas in smoothies or salads. Eat them in abundance to get maximum benefits.
This is a great alternative to heartburn medication that you can buy yourself without a prescription. Ginger is even more effective than prescription medications for relieving heartburn symptoms.
This herb has healing properties that have been used by various cultures for thousands of years. It can treat over 100 ailments, making it a versatile food or herb.
Unlike prescription drugs against excessive production of stomach acid, this herb protects the mucous membrane of the stomach while promoting the absorption of minerals and nutrients.
In addition to acid reflux, ginger is also used to treat other stomach problems. Thus, it is simply a timeless home remedy for treating various stomach problems.
How can you use ginger?
- Take 2 to 4 grams of ginger
- Boil it in hot water to make a delicious and healthy tea for reflux.
Another way to use this herb is to chew a piece. This is good if you can resist the taste, otherwise, you can add it to juices.
You can also mix it with juice packets. You can add honey to improve the taste, but absolutely no sugar.
You can also try adding ginger to dishes more often when you cook.
Can you take a ginger supplement?
It is definitely a better choice than prescription heartburn medication. However, if you are able to consume ginger in its natural form, it is better to prefer it. This is because in its natural form it contains all the nutrients you need to treat acid reflux and other stomach problems.
(f) Kidney beans:
Many experts and doctors recommend eating kidney beans to help with acid reflux. They do not irritate the muscles of the oesophagus.
As they are low in fat and not acidic, they are an excellent treatment for acid reflux.
However, you should only use kidney beans that have been boiled and washed in water.
Avoid recipes with kidney beans that contain other herbs that can cause acid reflux.
(g) Baking powder:
Taking a teaspoon of this alkaline remedy can immediately stop acid reflux.
Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda has a pH of 7, which neutralises stomach acid.
Although it is an effective home remedy, it should not be used if you have kidney problems.
How can you use it?
- Put a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of warm water.
- Stir the baking soda well in the water.
- Drink the mixture.
You can drink it daily for 1 week. Do not use it for more than one week at a time.
This is because baking soda contains quite a lot of salt, which can cause swelling and nausea. If consumed in excess, it can also cause damage to the kidneys.
It is best to take it in the morning on an empty stomach. Then drink the mixture in one sitting. This will neutralise the acidity in the stomach, thus alleviating the symptoms.
(h) Aloe vera juice:
Aloe vera is not only helpful in treating burns and scrapes, but it’s also great for treating heartburn or acid reflux.
How to make it?
- Make a glass of aloe vera juice. It has to be fresh to be effective.
- Cut a fresh aloe vera leaf into pieces.
- Squeeze it until juice flows from the leaf. Also, remove the gel from the leaf.
- Place the juice and gel in a blender and blend with water or fruit juice.
- Put the rest of the juice in the refrigerator.
- Drink this juice before meals.
Note: Aloe Vera has a mild laxative effect. If you don’t mind going to the toilet often, you can drink it as often as you like.
Melons have a pH of 6.1 and may also be useful for treating acid reflux. Although melons are low in fat, they are high in magnesium, which can help fight signs of acid reflux.
Melons that you can try for this purpose include watermelon, honey melon, cantaloupe and others. Melon can be of any kind, as long as it is organic.
Make sure the melons are ripe enough as they will not change the acidity of your stomach.
You can choose a standard set of melons in the house to be able to eat something every day if you suffer from heartburn. There are several ways to prepare melon.
– Cut the melon into cubes. Then store it in a container in the fridge. When you suffer from heartburn, you can eat some melon. You can also eat a piece every hour. The amount eaten may depend on the discomfort you are experiencing.
– Put melon slices in a blender to make a refreshing drink. You can also freeze it and then mix it with other fruits that can also help with acid reflux, such as bananas and apples.
– Make sure that the melon you are using is fresh.
– If you want to use melon as a heartburn remedy, always eat it raw.
It’s not actually a vegetable, but a fruit. Whatever you call it, cucumber is a very good home remedy for acid reflux.
For most patients, eating this fruit proves more effective than the pills they can buy themselves at the pharmacy.
Only the cucumber must be fresh. That is, the skin should be a dark green colour and without black spots.
Eat 2 slices of this fruit at least every 2-3 hours to help curb acid reflux. Depending on how severe your acid reflux symptoms are, you can certainly eat more than two slices.
Do you need to remove the seeds and peel them?
Health experts recommend not removing the peel and seeds. This is to preserve the freshness of the fruit. But that’s not all, the peels and seeds also contain nutrients and fibre, making them more effective in treating signs of acid reflux.
Like cantaloupe, cucumber can be combined with other foods that can help with acid reflux. But if you want to add it to a salad, make sure there is not too much vinegar in the dressing.
There are other ways to prepare cucumber to treat acid reflux
- Make a juice from it. Mix this juice with carrots, if you wish, for a powerful treatment for acid reflux.
This is a common vegetable that you add to salads and other dishes.
Parsley is great for acid reflux and can also prevent sore throats.
Parsley does not directly affect the acidity in your stomach, but rather helps with proper digestion. Keep in mind that good indigestion can help reduce this condition.
Some people think that parsley can cause acid reflux because of its minty taste. But in fact, this vegetable is a good healthy alternative to mint-flavoured herbs and vegetables.
Another reason why parsley is good for acid reflux is that it has anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the amino acid glutamine.
Several studies have shown that parsley can relieve intestinal inflammation and reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.
It also pairs well with other foods that cause acid reflux because it can neutralise acids, helping to maintain an alkaline balance in food and prevent heartburn.
How can you eat it?
- Add it to a salad.
- Eat it whole.
Whip it in a blender and mix it with other fruit and vegetables to make a smoothie
Chamomile is known for its soothing properties, making it a useful herb for treating discomfort.
Make sure that the tea you buy is organic. This ensures the quality and safety of the tea.
Chamomile contains oils, flavonoids and mucilagins. All these ingredients can soften the lining of the oesophagus. It can also reduce acid production in the gastrointestinal tract.
This actually protects you from the effects of stomach acid.
How to make it?
- Boil 240 ml of water.
- Add 1 teaspoon chamomile herb.
- Allow infusing for at least 15 minutes.
- Remove the herbs
- Drink up to 4 cups a day
If you decide to use this home remedy, consult your doctor first. This herb may interact with anticoagulants and other medicines.
(m) Apple cider vinegar:
You may think it’s a mistake to include this product in the list of treatments for acid reflux. However, the acidity of apple cider vinegar is weak.
It naturally promotes good digestion by facilitating the breakdown of fats in food.
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is a weak acid, so it can help balance the acid production in the stomach. In other words, it can bring acidity levels back to normal.
Although not yet scientifically proven, many people suffering from heartburn and acid reflux report that vinegar is effective in helping them treat their symptoms.
How can you use vinegar?
- Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a little honey. You can also add water to make it taste better.
- Try mixing it with a vegetable salad. Make sure that the salad does not contain any foods that can cause acid reflux.
- Add it to a drink or smoothie.
Make sure you use the unpasteurised variety before you start using it. This is because its natural enzymes are still intact.
You can easily find this variety at any health food shop.
Celery neutralises stomach acid due to its alkalinity. This vegetable is high in water and fibre, making it an effective natural remedy for acid reflux.
It also suppresses your appetite, so you won’t eat too much, which prevents stomach acid from flowing back into your esophagus.
The water and fibre content makes it easier for the body to digest food and transport it to the intestines for digestion and excretion.
There are many ways to eat celery. You can eat it whole or add it to a vegetable salad. Some users prefer to eat it along with other acid reflux-friendly vegetables.
The enzymes in papaya can prevent the symptoms of acid reflux, making this fruit an excellent treatment for acid reflux.
It does not directly affect the acidity in the stomach. However, it does help with proper digestion in your body.
It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is high in antioxidants.
Because of these ingredients, papaya can be a good addition to your food list to help alleviate the signs and symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn.
You can also easily add papaya to a vegetable or fruit salad. If you like to experiment, you can mix this fruit and make a smoothie out of it.
Don’t forget to add other fruits that are good for your stomach.
Other natural home remedies for heartburn
Apart from the above-mentioned foods, there are other ways to treat this condition.
For example, you can avoid overeating by stopping eating when you feel full. You can also choose foods that digest slowly, and chewing your food slowly will help you feel full for longer.
In addition to slow digestion, you should also reduce your intake of alcohol and drinks containing caffeine.
These drinks increase the production of acid in the stomach. If you find it difficult to give up caffeinated drinks, try limiting yourself to 1 cup a day.
If you have chronic acid reflux, you need to give up these drinks completely.
Then you may be able to lose weight. Being overweight can contribute to heartburn or acid reflux. Keep in mind that most people who are obese are likely to experience the symptoms and signs of acid reflux.
Because being overweight can increase pressure on the stomach, which allows the stomach muscles to relax and allow the contents to flow back out.
The other is the role of fat in releasing chemicals that disrupt acidity.
You don’t need to lose weight drastically, as losing a few pounds can be helpful in reducing the symptoms of acid reflux.
If these home remedies do not alleviate your symptoms, you should see a doctor. Your doctor will then recommend you to a nutritionist who will assist you in developing an appropriate food plan for your condition. Then, in addition to the meal plan, you’ll probably be told to avoid eating foods that induce acid reflux and start eating meals that can help alleviate symptoms, such as the items we described before.
I hope you will get some knowledge about Heartburn and its treatments by reading this article. Comment down your thoughts on this article below. If you have any queries, then ask My Voice.