What is heartburn?
Believe it or not, heartburn has nothing to do with your heart. This hot, burning pain in the chest is actually a symptom of acid reflux, which occurs when some of the contents of the stomach are sent back upward, into the esophagus.
It’s normal to experience heartburn once in a while, but if you’re experiencing this pain frequently, your acid reflux may be triggered by something more serious. Chronic acid reflux can be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease, which can in turn be triggered by obesity, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle.
How to avoid heartburn
There are plenty of simple ways to avoid experiencing heartburn in the first place:
● Eat a balanced diet
● Get the right amount of exercise
● Eat the correct portion size
● Avoid smoking
● Sit up straight during meals
If you find that you’re experiencing heartburn frequently, but you’re not at risk for or certainly don’t have an underlying condition, you may wish to monitor which foods you eat in order to determine whether a specific food is causing your acid reflux. Some common examples of foods that trigger acid reflux include caffeine, spicy foods, and acidic foods.
Natural heartburn relief
There are also plenty of natural remedies that can help to relieve heartburn when you do experience it. Of course, we recommend using these natural treatments for heartburn as a supplement to a healthy diet and lifestyle, rather than thinking of them as your first line of defense. Nonetheless, these natural remedies may help you to get some relief.
1. Ginger for heartburn: Ginger is thought to be a powerful natural remedy for heartburn due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation in the esophagus a known effect of acid reflux, so the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger may provide some relief. And, although there’s no solid, scientific evidence to support this idea, ginger may also help to reduce the likelihood and/or frequency of esophageal contractions, making it less likely that acid will travel from your stomach back up to your esophagus.
To use ginger for heartburn, peel the skin off of a dime-sized piece of ginger, and grate it or finely chop it up into a mug. Fill the mug with boiling water, and allow your ginger tea to steep for 3-5 minutes before drinking. You can also incorporate ginger into your regular diet in stir-fries, curries, and other recipes.
2. Baking soda for heartburn: Baking soda can help to target heartburn at its root cause–namely, your stomach acid. As an alkaline substance, it can help to neutralize the acidity of your stomach acid, easing acid reflux and thereby remedying heartburn. While using baking soda for heartburn is a fairly standard practice, there is no scientific evidence to support its use.
To use baking soda as a heartburn remedy, simply measure out a teaspoon of baking soda and swallow.
3. Mustard for heartburn: It sounds strange, but mustard is another home remedy that’s often used to treat heartburn. Like baking soda, mustard is thought to neutralize stomach acid, preventing it from causing that burning pain in your esophagus. And also like baking soda, there’s no scientific evidence to support the idea that it can treat heartburn–although it’s a commonly used home remedy.
Camille Bond is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has interned in the film industry and the publishing industry, as well as for a political campaign. When it comes to the world of beauty and wellness, she loves researching natural skincare brands, concocting DIY recipes, and discovering new mediation techniques!