What you need to know:
- In order to identify what foods are triggering your heartburn, keep a food diary.
- In this diary, track the foods you eat, as well as when you experience heartburn.
- This can help you identify patterns and amend your diet accordingly.
Heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest that often occurs after eating. It is caused by acid reflux when stomach acid flows back up into your oesophagus. This can happen if you have a hiatal hernia (when part of your stomach protrudes through your diaphragm.)
Heartburn can also be caused by certain foods or drinks, such as spicy foods, citrus fruits, coffee, and alcohol.
Symptoms of heartburn
- A burning sensation in your chest (often after eating)
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Regurgitation of food or acid
- A sour taste in your mouth
There are a number of home remedies that can help relieve your symptoms.
The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger soothe the oesophagus lining, providing relief from the burning sensation.
The root can be grated and used in tea or sliced and added to warm water. Some people also find that chewing on a piece of ginger root helps to soothe heartburn.
While there is some evidence to support the use of ginger for heartburn, it is not a miracle cure. If you struggle with frequent or severe heartburn, speak to a doctor.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for heartburn. The acidic nature of vinegar helps to balance the pH levels in your stomach, which can reduce the amount of acid reflux. In addition, apple cider vinegar contains enzymes that break down food and prevent indigestion.
To use this remedy, mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water. Drink this mixture after the meal.
It is important to note that apple cider vinegar is very acidic, so it is not recommended for people with GERD or ulcers.
Apple cider vinegar should not be used frequently because it can damage teeth and trigger acid reflux.
Chewing gum can help to reduce heartburn because it stimulates saliva production. Saliva is a neutralizing agent that can help balance the pH levels in your stomach and prevent acid reflux. In addition, chewing gum can help release gas from the stomach, which can also reduce heartburn.
When choosing a gum to chew, avoid mint flavour, as this can make heartburn worse. Choose a non-minty gum.
Probiotics are live bacteria found in some foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut. These bacteria help keep the gut healthy by preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. Probiotics can also help reduce heartburn by balancing the pH levels in the stomach and promoting digestion.
Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics, and you can also take probiotic supplements.
Baking soda is a natural antacid that can help to neutralise stomach acid and relieve heartburn. To use this remedy, mix one teaspoon of baking soda with a glass of water and drink it. Do not use this remedy more than once per day, as too much baking soda can cause gas and bloat.
It is important to speak to a doctor before using baking soda for heartburn, as it can interact with some medications.
Heartburn is often worse when lying down, as gravity allows stomach acid to flow back into the oesophagus. It is best to stay upright for at least an hour after eating to prevent this. You can also sleep with your head and shoulders elevated to reduce the risk of heartburn.
In addition, ensure that your clothes are not tight, this can put pressure on your stomach and make heartburn worse.