When acid from the stomach leaks up into the gullet (esophagus), the condition is known as acid reflux. This may cause heartburn and other symptoms. A medicine which reduces the amount of acid made in your stomach is a common treatment and usually works well. Some people take short courses of medication when symptoms flare up. Some people need long-term daily medication to keep symptoms away.
Conventionally, acid reflux is thought to be caused by excessive amounts of acid in your stomach, which is why acid-blocking drugs are typically prescribed or recommended.
This is a serious medical misconception that adversely affects hundreds of millions of people, as the problem usually results from having too little acid in your stomach.
The answer to gastric problems like ulcers and acid indigestion is to restore your natural gastric balance and function. Not only is it useful for optimal gut function but it is crucial for your long-term health, as your gut flora can increase your absorption of nutrients, and play a significant role in mental and physical health. It is very clear from reviewing the literature that you can’t be healthy until your gut flora is optimized. That is one of the ways eating sugars harm you—they push your gut flora balance in the wrong direction.
Millions of people are affected by this problem and most of them often go for the over the counter medication. However, there are many ways in which you can get rid of acid reflux naturally. Below are some of the ways to treat it naturally;
Change Your Eating Habits & Your Diet
Acid reflux is sometimes caused by the food you eat and the manner in which you eat. Making a few changes in your diet as well as your eating habits will, therefore, help you get rid of the acid reflux. Some of the changes that you may need to make include;
Eliminating the fatty & highly acidic foods- the digestion of fats always take a longer time than that of the other foods and therefore they stay in the stomach for a longer time and this results in the generation of higher amounts of acids. Some of the acidic foods that you should eliminate are the fried foods, citrus fruits, tomatoes etc
Avoid eating quickly and eat smaller meals- always chew the food thoroughly and do not eat quickly. Also, avoid eating larger portions (which can make the stomach produce more acids) and instead eat smaller portions throughout the day
There are some habits that can cause or worsen acid reflux. Some of them include going to bed immediately after eating, exercising just after eating, smoking, taking excess alcohol, among others. To get rid of acid reflux, you should;
- Eat at least three hours before going to bed,
- Stay in an upright or a sitting position at least for 45 minutes after eating
- Avoid exercising immediately – you should stay for at least 1 to 2 hours after eating before exercising
- Avoid smoking- as this can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter muscles
- Avoid excessive drinking (do not exceed 1-2 drinks a day)- if you possible, do not drink at all
- If you are overweight, try to lose that extra weight (overweight people are more prone to developing acid reflux)
- When lying in bed, lie more on your left side
- Herbs that can help alleviate acid reflux
Fresh ginger also provides a relief from acid reflux. This is because, it absorbs the acid in the stomach therefore helping to calm the nerves contributing to heartburn. You can take a cup of fresh ginger tea twenty minutes before taking a meal and this will not only calm your stomach but also act as an acid buffer. You can also use it as a spice in your cooking or eat it raw. You can consume it regularly so as to prevent heartburn from recurring.
Aloe Vera Juice
This is a popular home remedy for acid reflux. Aloe Vera juice reduces inflammation and heals the gastrointestinal tract. Taking a glass of aloe vera juice provides a calming effect from the burning sensation resulting from the heartburns.
For best results, drink ¼ cup of the juice at least 20 minutes before you take a meal. You should however be careful and do not drink too much as this can cause abdominal pain and even diarrhea.
Nuts and seeds that can effectively help you get rid of acid reflux
Chewing 3-4 almonds after a snack or a meal is also an effective way to treat acid reflux. Raw, roasted or salted ones are good (and suit the taste buds) and they should be chewed until they are reduced to a flour-like substance. This will release the oils from the nuts which are responsible for calming down the production of acids in the stomach.
When you chew fennel seeds (several times a day) they will not only freshen your breath but will also control the production of stomach acid. You can also make herbal tea by adding 2 tsp of fennel seeds to 1 cup of boiling water, let it sit for 10 minutes and then filter into a cup. They will effectively give you a relief from acid reflux.
Bananas or Apples
Naturally, bananas contain antacids that are effective in acting as buffers against acid reflux. This is the simplest, home remedy and all you need to do is to eat one ripe banana everyday. Alternatively, you can also try one apple every day and it will relieve and/or even prevent the discomfort.
Cabbage juice can also be used as a natural remedy for acid reflux. This is because it has anti-inflammatory properties that help in alleviating not only heartburns but other digestive problems too.
All you have to do is to grind a fresh cabbage in a juicer or a blender (you can mix with 2 carrots). Drink 1/2 cup of this juice early in the morning (before you eat anything else) and it will prevent heartburn.
Other vegetable juices such as those from cucumbers, carrots, beetroots, radishes are also effective in alleviating acid reflux. This is because they reduce the production of acid by the stomach (which is the main cause of acid reflux).
Other home remedies that are effective in alleviating acid reflux
Baking soda (i.e. sodium bicarbonate) is known to provide a quick, easy relief from heartburn resulting from acid reflux. It is a natural antacid that works within minutes. Being a base, it helps in neutralizing the stomach acid giving you a relief from the burning sensation.
All you have to do is to mix b1 tsp of baking soda in a glass of water, stir it well and then drink it. However, you should never exceed 3.5 tsp in a 24 hour period and at the same time, do not use this remedy continuously for more than a week. This is because it is high in salt and may have side effects such as nausea & swelling.
Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva by the salivary glands. This saliva helps in diluting and washing away any acid that is built up in the gut therefore reducing the symptoms of GERD. In fact, a study that was recently conducted by The Journal Dental Research showed that, people with GERD experienced relief after chewing a sugar free gum for thirty minutes after a meal.