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Published on June 15, 2018

17 Acid Reflux Remedies That Are Natural and Super Effective

17 Acid Reflux Remedies That Are Natural and Super Effective

You fear eating your next meal because it’s probably going to cause heartburn; you wake up during the night because laying down causes a burning sensation in your chest; and, you’re fed up with antacids that do nothing but temporarily mask the issue. About 20 percent of people today have acid reflux and it can affect your everyday.[1]

While antacids can help curb the burn in the moment, you know it’s just going to come back the next day — and the costs are adding up with no resolve. The good news is there are many natural, easy and affordable acid reflux remedies that help to address it at the root cause.

How does acid reflux happen?

Contrary to what we’re told, more often than not, acid reflux is due to having too little stomach acid, not too much. If too little stomach acid is produced, food and acid will linger in the stomach, delaying the emptying of the stomach. The longer food sits in the stomach, the higher the risk of irritation to the stomach, resulting in a heartburn sensation.

Of course, acid reflux can occur when we have high stomach acidity (a condition called hyperchlorhydria); but for many of us, it’s because the stomach doesn’t produce enough acid (called hypochlorhydria). When treated by medication, the production of acid in the stomach is reduced; the problem often only worsens because it causes even less acid production. This can result in nutrient and protein deficiencies, malabsorption and more.

17 Effective and natural acid reflux remedies

Let’s get you on the mend with these 17 natural and healing acid reflux remedies.

1. Increase acid production with apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one of my favorite daily remedies for acid reflux. It’s a gentle acid-producing drink that can help increase the production of acid in your stomach if your levels are low.

To drink it, mix 1 tbsp ACV with 4-6oz of water before every meal. For even more support, add 1 tsp – 1 tbsp of lemon juice to this drink. If you experience burning mid-way through a meal or have trouble breaking down food, drink more of this mixture mid-way through a meal to help break down your food.

2. Add a boost of digestive enzymes

Similar to stomach acid, enzymes are also an important factor in breaking down the food you eat. Whether you’re low in digestive enzymes or need to temporarily compensate for low stomach acid as you rebuild it with apple cider vinegar, taking digestive enzymes can be a good short-term solution to help naturally support digestion.

Most people don’t need to take these for the rest of their lives, but it can be good to take while working on increasing acid production.

3. HCL and pepsin

If the thought of apple cider vinegar makes you want to gag, there is another option. HCL (hydrochloric acid) is the acid naturally present in your stomach to break down macros like proteins. If you’ve been on medications that have lowered acid production over time, however, you may be deficient in it. Taking HCL can directly help to address the lack.

Of note, this isn’t for everyone; especially if you have a stomach infection like helicobacter pylori in which more acid can make it worse. It’s important to first consult with your physician before taking HCL.

An easy way to know if it’s working is when you begin to feel a warm sensation in your stomach. If you don’t feel it, consider increasing your dose a bit until you feel a warming sensation — but don’t increase beyond that. HCL supplementation should be done on a short-term basis. After a little while, your body should be able to produce appropriate levels on its own.

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4. Eat smaller, more frequent meals

The more you eat, the harder it is for your digestive tract to keep up. Especially if you lack enough acid and enzymes to break down food in the first place, large meals can be especially troublesome.

Today, portion sizes have gotten out of control, which isn’t helping the matter. When eating at home, to eat smaller meals, use smaller plates or only fill your plate with an amount of food that equates to the size of your fist. It may seem like a shockingly small amount of food but it’s the appropriate amount and what your body can handle.

You may even consider breaking out your meals as follows:

  • Morning snack
  • Mid-morning snack
  • Small lunch
  • Mid-afternoon snack
  • Small dinner

Spreading out your meals this way gives your body a chance to fully digest each food item.

5. Avoid spicy foods in your diet

You’re probably aware that if you have acid reflux, spicy foods don’t help the matter. Jalapeños, cayenne pepper, hot sauce — these foods may taste great but don’t sit well in your system. While you’re working to rebalance proper acid levels in your digestive tract, try to avoid foods with spicy ingredients so as not to aggravate your system further.

Other spices you may enjoy instead are cumin, black pepper and turmeric. Turmeric in particular is excellent for digestive health as it’s one of the most potent anti-inflammatory ingredients which can also help reduce acid reflux.

6. Remove inflammatory foods from your diet

A big contributing factor to acid reflux is the food that you choose to put in your body. If it’s food your body recognizes and that provides nourishment, your body won’t have a problem with it; but if it’s highly processed and irritating, it can cause issues such as acid reflux, bloating and gas.

Common inflammatory or irritating foods include wheat gluten, pasteurized dairy and refined sugar. Heavily processed and altered from their original food state, the body almost doesn’t recognize them as food, which can cause stomach upset and oftentimes acid reflux.

Especially if you have trouble digesting these food items, it can put a strain on an already depleted acid or enzyme store. To help your entire system replenish itself, it’s best to just avoid these foods and instead focus on whole, colorful foods like fruits and vegetables.

7. Eliminate these other offending foods

If you want to give your body the best chance of resolving acid reflux, it’s important to know all the foods that contribute to or make it worse.

Some other known offenders include alcohol, chocolate, carbonated beverages, fatty and fried foods, garlic, onions, spicy foods, mints, tomatoes, oranges and other acidic foods and drinks.

You can choose to take these out temporarily for a few months, or indefinitely, while you allow your system to heal itself using the other tips in this post.

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8. Enjoy these soothing foods

The good news is, there are many fantastic foods that can support your efforts to resolve acid reflux.

These include kefir, bone broth, fermented vegetables, kombucha, dark leafy vegetables, artichokes, asparagus, cucumbers, pumpkin, squash, wild caught fish, healthy fats like avocado, almonds, and honey.

Non-spicy and anti-inflammatory, these foods will not only keep acid reflux at bay but can help to calm the body down and promote cellular healing and rejuvenation in the digestive tract.

9. Chew, chew, chew!

As your mother said when you were little, “chew your food!” And she was right!

Chewing is a critical part of digestion. If you don’t chew enough, it requires your body to muster up more resources (like acid and enzymes) to digest it later.

To avoid stressing your system further, simply chew more! How much? Aim to chew 30 times for every bite.

Chewing signals to your body that it needs to release digestive enzymes and produce acid to begin the digestion process. It also entices saliva production which has key enzymes that begin to break down food right in your mouth.

10. Breathe before eating

As a society, we’re guilty of eating on-the-go or rushing through meals to get onto the next thing. This can cause trouble for those with acid reflux for a few reasons.

First of all, if you’re stressed out when eating, your body will be in a “fight or flight” mode and not focused on digestion. Digestion is controlled by the central nervous system (CNS) and has just two modes — fight or flight or rest and digest.

So, as you can guess, you want it to be in the latter state. To do that, you can simply breathe!

Take a few deep breaths to put your worries behind you and become present with your food and this will rest your body and prime it for optimal digestion and reduce the strain on resources that often results in acid reflux.

Try these breathing exercises to relax yourself:

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11. Massage your upper abdomen

If your acid reflux is caused by too much acid reflux or delayed emptying of acid and food from the stomach, oftentimes acid can bubble up into the lower esophagus, causing the actual heartburn sensation.

As a way to calm down and strengthen the valve that separates the stomach and esophagus, you can gently massage it at the base of your rib cage right in the middle of your chest.

Using your pointer and middle finger, rub this area in a circular motion to support proper motility and function.

12. Drink extra water (72oz)

An easy way to cool down the fire is to drink more water. This can help dilute too much stomach acid or entice lingering acid and food to move along, thus reducing acid reflux sensations.

Drinking adequate amounts of water is not only good for keeping acid reflux at bay, it also helps relieve constipation, rehydrate if you experience diarrhea and it keeps you mentally sharp.

13. Evaluate your stress levels

Stress can have an immense impact on digestion, so start to pay attention to whether you experience more acid reflux in times of high stress.

As mentioned earlier, when we are stressed, our bodies are in the fight or flight mode, not rest and digest state, which can cause issues with gastric emptying including of acid. It could also cause your system to go haywire, producing either too much or too little acid, both of which can lead to acid reflux.

Incorporate breathing exercises to bring down stress, lessen your to-do list when you can and even consider picking up a yoga or meditation routine.

14. Drink aloe juice

Aloe juice is incredibly healing and soothing for the digestive tract, especially if acid is the problem. Just like it heals sunburned skin, it can also soothe the cell lining of your digestive tract from acid damage or inflammation.

Drink ¼-½ cup of organic aloe juice (important to find a brand without any sugar or additives) before a meal, or at any point in the day when you experience acid reflux.

15. Don’t eat late at night

Ever lie down in bed shortly after eating and feel a burning sensation? That’s because food and acid is still in your stomach digesting. When you lay horizontally, it causes it to rise up near your esophagus.

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Go to bed no sooner than two hours after eating as that’s about the amount of time needed for food to leave your stomach and enter the intestines. So if you go to bed around 10pm, eat no later than 8pm.

16. Enjoy these cooling herbs

Like aloe juice, there are other ways to soothe and cool the system from the acid burn. These include slippery elm, marshmallow root, chamomile and licorice root. All herbs you can take in capsules, tinctures or herbal tea form, they’re easy to find and consume and have incredible digestive health benefits.

Not only do the work to counteract the heat from acid reflux, they also help to soothe and heal a damaged gut lining.

17. Use baking soda in a pinch

Baking soda has a number of health benefits and can offer fast relief from acid reflux, too. Because it’s a base, not an acid, it can help to neutralize stomach acid even if you have low production. But since it can lower stomach acid, it should only be used sparingly.

To take baking soda: mix ½ tsp in ¼ cup of water. If after several minutes you still feel a burning sensation, repeat this drink until the feeling is gone.

It’s important to only do this if you’re also working on boosting normal acid levels as that will help address the root cause of the issue. Baking soda is a far more natural and healthy alternative to heavy antacid medications.

Your acid reflux remediation plan

Start by incorporating one or two of the tips in this post and build from there as needed. Each of these tips are incredibly powerful, and perhaps you only need one or two of them to make a big difference for you. Over time, however, these changes will help restore function in your digestive tract. If you have other digestive health concerns, they can go towards resolving those too.

Best of luck!

To read more digestive health tips, be sure to check out my 13 Home Remedies for a Stomach Ache and 10 Natural Diarrhea Remedies to Feel Better Fast .

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

More by this author

Kristin Thomas

Functional Nutrition Practitioner and Health Coach

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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