Acid reflux occurs when the muscle ring that allows food into the stomach, the lower esophageal sphincter, relaxes when it should not. The acid then travels back up the esophagus. These tried-and-true home remedies for acid reflux can relieve symptoms and get you back to your life without discomfort.
For nighttime relief, try drinking a cup of soothing chamomile tea half an hour to an hour before bed. Chamomile tea is widely recognized for its calming properties, and it promotes deep sleep. It also fights inflammation and helps balance acidity levels in the stomach to maintain a healthy gut.
Licorice is a lesser-known home remedy for acid reflux in this part of the world, but the natural form of the root (not the red version sold at convenience stores) can calm symptoms. The easiest way to benefit from this option is to buy deglycyrrhizinated licorice root or DGL. The tablets do not contain glycyrrhizic acid, which can be potentially dangerous. They are available in most health food stores and are a natural solution for ulcers.
Sleep on Your Left Side
Sleeping on your back can agitate the acid in your stomach. When you’re lying down, it is much easier for the lazy esophageal sphincter to open and allow acid to travel up the open pipe. However, when you sleep on your left side, the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes. This position also keeps the esophageal sphincter above the gastric acid level, so fluid has to move uphill to get through. In addition, sleeping on a slight incline can improve acid reflux symptoms.
Avoid Certain Foods
Trigger foods can increase your acid reflux symptoms. Food intolerances vary from person to person, but there are some common culprits. Tomato-based products, high-fat and fried foods, alcohol and caffeine, citrus fruits, mint, garlic, onions, and chocolate bother many people. Keeping a food diary can help you identify what foods cause your symptoms.
Bicarbonate soda or baking soda is a base and has a pH of 9.0. Base substances like baking soda work by absorbing hydrogen ions in acidic substances. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with a cup of water and drink it quickly, and it will help prevent excess stomach acid from forming or coming up the esophagus. Use it sparingly, as it can have a laxative effect. Do not exceed seven half-teaspoon doses within 24 hours.
Slippery elm is an extract from a tree native to North America. It has been served as a medicinal product for hundreds of years and relieving acid reflux, heartburn, and other stomach issues are just a few of its uses. Slippery elm is available as powdered bark, capsules, and even lozenges. Take a 500-milligram capsule or one tablespoon of powdered bark mixed with water or tea up to three times a day for no longer than eight weeks. Honey or sugar can help make it more palatable.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Drinking raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar helps some people with acid reflux. This technique may only work when the stomach is not producing enough acid itself, a common cause of the condition. Mix one tablespoon of unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar with eight ounces of water. Drinking this two to three times throughout the day or before meals may help alleviate symptoms.
Chewing gum can work extremely well to reduce acid reflux because it tells the body to produce more saliva, a natural cleanser of acid in the gut. Chew a stick of gum for 30 minutes after eating a meal. The salivary glands get to work and help to calm the excess acid in the stomach. Choose sugar-free gum to maintain dental health.
Aloe Vera Juice
Acid reflux makes the esophagus raw as the stomach acid eats away at it. Consuming something soothing can ease the pain and even act as a balm in repairing the esophagus. Drink half a cup of aloe vera juice before eating a meal to soothe the throat and calm the stomach by reducing inflammation. People use aloe vera on surface wounds, and the same principles are at play when you ingest it.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and aids with the proper absorption of food. It also helps with digestion. All these qualities benefit the stomach and ease the discomfort of acid reflux. Peel, grate, and eat a teaspoon of fresh ginger root daily or crush a section of ginger root into hot water and drink it as a tea two to three times a day.
Tight clothing can squeeze the stomach and force acid up into the esophagus, triggering or worsening acid reflux pain. Replace outfits, undergarments, and accessories that fit snugly with a larger size until symptoms are under control. Loose-fitting or stretchy clothing can provide comfort and style without intensifying heartburn symptoms. Avoid fastening your belt too tightly. Bras, shapewear, and exercise garments should be in a size that does not constrict. Properly fitting clothes can encourage proper digestion and ease the movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract.
Many people find relief from acid reflux discomfort by improving their posture. Some research suggests that slouching after meals slows down the transit of food. Poor posture also puts pressure on the abdomen, pushing stomach acid upward. To achieve a neutral spine position, position your shoulders down and back. Pull your head back and engage the core muscles. Use a lumbar support pillow to remain upright, and change positions every 30 to 60 minutes.
Results of a study linked relaxation therapy with fewer reports of GERD symptoms and reflux episodes. Researchers believe that deep breathing during relaxation training increases pressure on the diaphragm and lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which subsequently reduces the occurrence of acid reflux symptoms.
Quit Lighting Up
Smokers are more likely to experience acid reflux than nonsmokers. Saliva contains bicarbonate that neutralizes refluxed acid, and smokers produce less of it. Additionally, tobacco components weaken the LES, allowing acid to flow backward into the esophagus. Nicotine also increases stomach acid production and promotes the movement of bile salts to the stomach, aggravating the acid reflux. The body can reverse some of the effects of smoking, starting almost as soon as the last cigarette is ground out. Research indicates that smoking cessation can significantly improve GERD symptoms for at least a year after quitting.
Overweight and obese individuals have a high prevalence of acid reflux symptoms. Some research suggests that weight gain might induce changes in the gastroesophageal junction, which can trigger the backflow of stomach acid. Visceral fat can also release chemicals that inhibit normal digestive function. One study concluded that a structured weight management program involving practices such as caloric reduction and increased physical activity can resolve GERD symptoms in many people. Losing even a small amount of weight can help reduce acid reflux episodes.