No one likes the feeling, and we’ve all felt it. The hot, burning acid creeping up your throat, putting pressure on your chest. But for those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, it becomes incredibly bothersome, impacting your lifestyle.
But before you rush to your local pharmacy, there are natural remedies you can try to alleviate the unwanted side effects of this uncomfortable problem. Here are seven natural GERD remedies to help reduce the frequency of symptoms.
A teaspoon of baking soda (a base substance) neutralizes stomach acid so that even if it comes up, you won’t feel that burning sensation. Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 8 ounces of water and drink all of it. Repeat as needed, but don’t exceed seven doses in one day. Avoid using this remedy for more than a week, due to its high salt content and other side effects like swelling or nausea.
People experiencing GERD can get some relief by chewing sugar-free gum for 30 minutes after they eat, according to a study conducted by the Journal of Dental Research. Chewing a piece of gum stimulates the salivary glands, which increases saliva. The saliva helps wash away any acid. Chew one piece after you eat and note the difference.
Don’t Lie Down After Eating
When you eat a meal and then lie flat, the contents of your stomach can more easily be pushed back up, as it puts pressure on your esophageal sphincter. If you’re upright, however, gravity works in your favor, helping to keep food down. It’s best to eat three to four hours before you know you’ll be lying down to allow time for your food to fully digest. Help curb this by lying slightly elevated in your bed with a pillow wedged under you.
And not just any fruit—bananas have natural antacid properties that counteract acid reflux. Eat a fully ripened banana each day to reduce the discomfort of acid coming back up. Another great fruit to try is an apple. To prevent discomfort at night, slice up an apple and enjoy it a few hours before bedtime. Other fruits that can reduce instances of GERD are honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon. Be sure to avoid fruits with high acidic content such as oranges, grapefruit and pineapple.
Ginger tea is great for many stomach ailments, from the common stomachache to nausea to chronic acid reflux. For full flavor, simmer slices of ginger root in water for 30 minutes. For maximum benefit, drink the tea before a meal to prevent GERD.
Mustard is full of minerals and contains vinegar, a weak acid. It also contains alkaline, which neutralizes the acid that comes up due to GERD. Try taking 1 teaspoon of straight mustard when you feel a bout of heartburn coming on, or if you’re already experiencing symptoms.
To balance the acidity levels in your stomach, drink a cup of chamomile tea 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. Chamomile also reduces stress levels, which can contribute to heartburn. Instant chamomile tea is available for purchase, or you can make your own fresh. Simply boil water, stir in chamomile petals and let them simmer for about 45 seconds. Strain them out and pour the tea into a mug, adding honey or lemon as preferred.
If you’re struggling with GERD, know that you’re not alone. Learn more about the symptoms, testing that can be done and treatment options with our guide, Your Guide to GERD.