Natural Ways To Soothe and Prevent Heartburn
Heartburn is a very common symptom that most people living in Western countries experience at some point in their lives. More many, however, it can be a chronic and painful condition and can cause damage overtime.
Symptoms of acid reflux/heart burn:
• Unpleasant burning sensation in the chest, behind the breastbone, after a meal
• Sour taste in the mouth or throat
• Pain when sleeping or laying down
• Bloating, gas, nausea after meals
The fact that heartburn is so common is a testament to many of our suffering digestive systems.
Contrary to popular belief, heartburn is more often caused by not enough stomach acid, rather than too much. It is much more common to not make enough stomach acid, which causes symptoms of indigestion. Often it is instead acidic foods that can cause the irritation of heartburn. Stomach acid is a very important part of digestion that breaks down food, especially proteins, and allows for proper nutrient absorption.
Lack of stomach acid can lead to protein and other nutrient deficiencies, which weakens the immune system and makes one more susceptible to illness.
Because too much stomach acid is not actually the root cause of heartburn, it’s a good idea to avoid over-the-counter antacids when possible, as these can further hinder digestion.
How to help avoid heartburn:
Consume probiotic foods. Probiotic foods are needed for healthy digestion, and good digestion helps to avoid heartburn. Consume raw kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water taken at the beginning of meals will also provide probiotics while boosting stomach acid to rev up digestion.
Avoid trigger foods. Some foods are known to be common triggers for heartburn. Avoid processed foods. Foods high in sugar, refined oils, and synthetic additives as well as alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, and spicy foods can make heartburn worse. Acidic foods like citrus, garlic, onions, and tomatoes can also be problematic for some.
Eat more whole, organic foods. The best defense against heartburn is to eat a wholesome diet with more fresh organic fruits and vegetables, organic/grass-fed meats, and healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil.
Manage stress especially around meal times. Because of the body’s fight or flight response, when we are stressed out the body shuts down digestion to send blood and energy to other body systems. This means stomach acid production is also compromised, making one more prone to heartburn. Work on managing stress regularly throughout your day by doing light exercise, meditation, yoga, or deep breathing. A few deep breaths before a meal helps shift the body into a parasympathetic state, where the body is able to “rest and digest” and reduce your instances of heartburn.
Consume soothing herbs. There are many safe, effective herbs that can help soothe and heal the damage from heartburn. Always talk to your doctor before using herbs, especially if you are taking any medications. A couple of examples are:
Marshmallow root coats the esophagus and stomach, which soothes and protects against stomach acid.
DGL, or deglycyrrhizinated licorice comes in chewable tablets that you can chew with a meal or when you feel heartburn coming on. It is soothing and helps to decrease inflammation while also protecting the stomach lining.
Generally, dealing with heart burn takes a holistic approach, and changing your lifestyle while also adding in soothing remedies is the best way to overcome this troublesome symptom.
By: Ali MacBoudreau
Ali is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant. Her mission is to help you discover just how vibrant and amazing you can feel, by giving you the tools you need to make lasting changes. (Hint, it involves delicious food!) To learn more about Ali and holistic nutrition please visit her website https://www.holisticali.com/about