Heartburn is the worst. It’s a condition that plagues 20% of the American population at least once a week. This common disease is at the least uncomfortable and irritating, but can be incredible disruptive to a person’s lifestyle. While medicines do exist to help, there are ways you can treat heartburn naturally at home. See if one of these might work for you:
1. Eat more mindfully. Eating smaller portions more slowly gives your stomach time to digest it properly. Overloading it with food can cause it to produce more acid than you need.
Try it: Take smaller bites, eat more slowly, and reduce your portion sizes.
2. Baking Soda. This works based on basic science. The stomach is acidic; baking soda is base. The baking soda could help neutralize some of the acidity of your stomach. However, using baking soda to treat chronic heartburn could cause other problems since it’s so high in salt.
Try it: Mix 1 teaspoon in a glass of water and drink it after a meal.
3. Bananas. This fruit naturally contains antacids. The riper the banana, the more effectively it will work to treat heartburn naturally.
Try it: Eat 1 ripe banana a day.
4. Licorice: Used for many natural remedies, licorice is believed to have stomach-healing properties.
Try it: Eat a small piece of sugar-free licorice before a meal.
5. Slippery Elm: Another popular herbal remedy, using the extract of this tree could thicken the mucus lining the stomach. This creates a better barrier between the stomach wall and acid.
Try it: Drink 1-2 tablespoons in a glass of water after meals.
6. Don’t eat before sleeping. Gravity works against you when you lay down, making it easier for acid from your stomach to creep back up into your esophagus.
Try it: Don’t eat at least 3 hours before laying down.
7. Gum: Since heartburn is caused by acid from the stomach getting into the esophagus, chewing gum makes your mouth produce saliva which helps wash away any accumulated acid.
Try it: Chew a piece of gum for 30 minutes after eating.
8. Loosen up your clothes. This might be the easiest way to treat heartburn naturally. Wearing things tight around your waist puts more pressure on your esophageal sphincter, making heartburn symptoms worse.
Try it: Avoid tight shirts, belts, or pants.
9. Pay attention to trigger foods. People experience heartburn differently. There are a range of foods that can trigger a reaction. Keep a journal of what you eat and what symptoms you experience so you can identify what makes your heartburn worse.
Try it: Avoid trigger foods. Common culprits are spicy foods, citrus foods, tomatoes, garlic, chocolate, coffee, caffeine, high-fat meals, and peppermint.
10. Avoid smoking and drinking. Alcohol and nicotine weaken your esophageal sphincter, putting you at greater risk for heartburn symptoms. Alcohol in general is irritating to your stomach.
Try it: Quit smoking and limit your alcohol intake (and be prepared to pay for it when you do indulge).
11. Try replenishing acid. It seems backward, but some heartburn is caused by a lack of acid in your stomach. You can treat heartburn naturally by replenishing the balance.
Try it: Mix up to 1 tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of water before each meal.
12. Aloe. Often thought of as a treatment for burns, aloe is an anti-inflammatory. Drinking aloe juice can soothe the esophagus and the stomach. Be aware, though, that it can also have laxative effects!
Try it: Drink ½ cup pure aloe juice before a meal, or mix aloe vera powder with water.
13. Ginger. Known to ease a variety of stomach issues, ginger specifically acts as a buffer between your stomach lining and the acid in your stomach, making it a great way to treat heartburn naturally.
Try it: Simmer 3 quarter-size slices of ginger root in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes. Drink this beverage 20 minutes before eating.
14. Chamomile Tea. A well-known herbal remedy, this tea can help you sleep better in more ways than one. It helps reduce stomach inflammation, and lowers stress levels, which can also bring on a bout of heartburn.
Try it: Drink a cup of chamomile tea 30 minutes before going to bed.
15. Mustard. Plain mustard is alkalizing, which could make it neutralize the effects of the acid in your esophagus. This treatment is especially helpful at treating current heartburn pain, not necessarily preventing it.
Try it: When you feel heartburn start, get a teaspoon of high-quality yellow mustard and eat it.
16. Lose weight. Unfortunately, obesity is linked to more pronounced heartburn symptoms. Losing 10% of your body fat can drastically improve your heartburn.
Try it: Begin a healthy diet and exercise routine to drop a few pounds. Your struggles with heartburn may not magically disappear, but giving some of these remedies a try could help you avoid having to take over-the-counter medicines. At the least, they could be a good solution when you reach for the TUMS and find the bottle is empty!