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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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Published on November 14, 2018

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

Thyroid disease

An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
[2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
[3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
[4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
[5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
[6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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