20 foods to immediately alleviate heartburn symptoms

20 foods to immediately alleviate heartburn symptoms
February 3, 2014 11:00 PM

You might have experienced pain in your chest or upper abdominal region soon after taking a meal. That pain is known “Heartburn”. Before we can move on to know some immediate remedies for heartburn, it would be better if we know some basics about this condition. Whatever we eat goes through our esophagus into the stomach.

Inside the stomach, that food is digested by the means of a juice secreted by our stomach. That juice is called “gastric juice”. Gastric juice is a combination of acid and several enzymes. You might ponder how can there be an acid inside our bodies and not damage it? Well, nature has a solution for this problem too. First, the mucosa (lining) of stomach is resistant to the action of acids. Second, the acid is prevented from moving up the esophagus by the means of a sphincter (valve like structure) called Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). Due to the presence of LES, the movement of substances between stomach and esophagus is like a one way traffic i.e. food can move from the esophagus into the stomach but it can’t move backwards. Heartburn starts when the function of LES is impaired and acid starts to regurgitate into the esophagus.

Esophagus, being sensitive, gets irritated and the result is characteristic symptoms of heartburn including irritation, pain in the chest, upper abdomen, jaw and sometimes back. The causes of heartburn can be both physiological (normal) and pathological (abnormal). Physiological causes of heart burn include pregnancy, eating spicy and fried food, obesity and poor style of living. Pathological causes of heartburn include infections of bacteria (H.Pylori), weakening of LES, post surgical complication, hypercalcimia and weakening of anti-reflux barrier of esophagus. You might think of heartburn as a serious condition, but you would be alarmed to know that it’s a fairly common condition.

According to some estimates, as much as 12% people throughout the world suffer from this condition sometime during their life. You might take medications for curing this problem but there is a natural way out too! Below is the list of top 20 foods, containing herbs, kitchen ingredients and spices, which you can use to immediately kill this pain. All these methods are cost effective, safe and are readily available.

1. Chew Some Gum

The simplest thing that you can do when you get this problem is chew a gum. Chewing a gum increases the production of saliva in your mouth. Saliva is alkaline (basic) in nature due to the presence of bicarbonate ions. These bicarbonate ions react with the acid of stomach, resulting in its neutralization. No acid means no heartburn.

2. Use Some Apple Cider Vinegar

It’s a magical elixir used for a number of conditions, heartburn is one of them. It’s easily available in market. It helps speed up the digestion of food. Acid production increases as long as there is food in the stomach. As soon as the food leaves the stomach and enters into the intestine, the level acid decreases so does heartburn symptoms. Moreover, it also helps suppress the pain associated with heartburn.

3. Ginger

You must be using Ginger in your meals on daily basis. Ginger is an excellent kitchen ingredient that can be used to alleviate heart burn symptoms. It accomplishes this by two important ways. First, it has got an excellent anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effect. This way it helps alleviate the symptoms of heartburn caused by bacterial infections (H.Pylori). Second, it also helps suppress the pain associated with heart burn. There are several ways in which you can use Ginger for your heartburn issue. First, you can increase the use of Ginger in your daily meals, soups and salads. Second, you can make an herbal tea using Ginger. For this all you need is a piece of Ginger and a cup of water. Cut the Ginger into small pieces and boil them in water for 5 minutes. After that strain the liquid and add a little Honey in this liquid to make is taste good. You can use this tea 2-3 times a day between your meals.

4. Garlic

It’s another kitchen ingredient that can be commonly used to cure heartburn issue. The mechanism of action of Garlic is perhaps the same as that of Ginger. You can increase the use of Garlic in your daily diet. Or you can take a clove of Garlic and chew it during the painful periods. You might not agree with its taste but you’ll have to agree with its beneficial effects.

5. Turmeric

We always underestimate the healing power of natural substances. We’re always willing to spend our money on buying medicines but overlook excellent natural medicines around us. Turmeric is perhaps the most underestimated spice of all. Its benefits for health are endless. From skin to brain, it uplifts the health of all these structure. It helps alleviate the symptoms of heartburn because of two main reasons. First, it speeds up the digestion process. As explained earlier, fast digestion means less acid. Second, it helps rebuild the mucosa of esophagus that might have damaged during heartburn attacks. This way it prevents further progression of the disease. You can use this ingredient in your daily meals, soups and salads.

6. Honey

How can we forget Honey when it comes to natural cures? Honey is effective for heartburn too. It helps alleviate the symptoms due to a number of reasons. First, it soothes the pain. Second, it creates a protective covering around the esophageal mucosa and blocks the action of acid. Third, it speeds up the recovery of mucosa after damage. You can use Honey in a number of ways. Use Honey in place of sugar in your regular drinks. Or you can add 1-2 teaspoons of Honey in a glass of warm water. You can drink this liquid 2-3 times between your meals.

7. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a plant famous for its benefits for skin. But Aloe Vera extracts are useful for heartburn too. It neutralizes the acidic contents of the stomach, decreases the production of acid, speeds the healing process and limits inflammation and pain associated with heartburn. You can drink ¼ cup of Aloe Vera extract 15-20 minutes after your regular meals. This way you can prevent the symptoms.

8. Eat Almonds

Eating Almonds is another natural way to cure heartburn symptoms. Almond speeds up digestion and high fat content in Almond neutralizes stomach acids. Eat 10-20 Almonds and see the symptoms go away.

9. Eat Some Fruits

A number of fruits can be used to treat the symptoms of heartburn. These fruits include Kiwi, Bananas, Water melon and Apricots.

These fruits help alleviate the symptoms due to two main reasons:

  • First, these fruits are a rich source of fiber. Fiber speeds up the digestion of food and this way food spends less time inside the stomach.
  • Second, these fruits help limit the secretion of stomach acid.

10. Drink Fresh Juices

Drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juices is an effective way to cure heartburn symptoms. These juices help dilute the acidic content of stomach. However, you should avoid drinking citrus juices as it can further complicate the situation.

11. Eat Potatoes

Potatoes are the riches source of potassium. Increased concentration of potassium increases the strength of contraction of the muscles of LES. This way, eating potatoes will prevent the back lash of acid from the stomach into the esophagus.

12. Eat Fresh Vegetables

The logic behind eating fresh vegetables for curing the symptoms of heartburn is the same as that of the use of fruits. You can increase the use of green leafy vegetables in your daily diet. Due to their higher fiber content, vegetables will speed up the movement of vegetables through the gut. Moreover, vegetables will help neutralize stomach acids.

13. Try Some Mustard

Next time you’ve an attack of heartburn, you don’t need to rush to your Doctor. All you need to do is go to your kitchen, open your refrigerator and take out the bottle of Mustard. Mix 1 teaspoon of Mustard into ½ glass of water and drink this solution. You’ll see the pain go away in no time.

14. Try some Licorice

Licorice chewable tablets are available. Licorice helps stimulate the production of Saliva. Saliva being alkaline helps neutralize stomach acids. Just slowly chew the tablets and don’t swallow them quickly as the basic point of chewing is to increase the production of Saliva.

15. Eat Whole Grain

If you’ve heartburn issue then the next time you go to the store to buy groceries, make sure that you buy whole grains like whole wheat, rice, oats etc. Processed foods lose most of their fiber. Whole grains are extremely rich in fiber. High amount of fiber speeds up the digestion process and limits the production of acid- the basic reason for heartburn.

16. Cinnamon

Everyone loves Cinnamon rolls. The basic ingredient of these rolls is a spice called Cinnamon. There is a long list of goods that Cinnamon brings to your health. One of these benefits is to alleviate the symptoms of heartburn. This spice is easily available in market. Just add 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon in a cup of water. Boil this water for 10-15 minutes. Strain the liquid and add a teaspoon of Honey in this tea. Drink this tea 2-3 times a day between your meals.

17. Oatmeal

Correcting your eating patterns is the most important thing that only helps alleviate the symptoms but also helps prevent the development of heartburn in the first place. If you’re suffering from heartburn then the first thing you should do is correct your breakfast menu. Instead of eating bacons and meat, try oatmeal. Oatmeal is the best way to kick off your day. It’s extremely rich in fiber. You remember what fiber does for previous sections, right? Add some seasonal fruits in your oatmeal and enjoy a nutritious and balanced breakfast.

18. Eat Salads

You’ve read what fruits and vegetables do individually. Now mix these things and make a delicious salad for yourself. Imagine the benefits you’ll get after mixing vegetables and fruits. Not only will it help reduce heartburn but will also uplift your health in every way possible.

19. Try Alternative Protein sources

Stomach is mainly concerned with the digestion of proteins. The more protein we eat, greater is the secretion of stomach acid. You can guess the rest. Yes, you got it right. More acid means greater chances of reflux and chest pain.

The maximum chances of reflux seem to appear after eating red meat (beef and mutton). So, you should try some alternative sources of proteins like:

  • Chicken and Turkey. These two fall into the category of white meat. White meat seems to trigger acid reflux less than red meat.
  • Seafood. The second option you’ve is to go for seafood. Try baked or cooked fish and oyster.
  • Beans. If you’re strictly a vegetarian then you’ve an option here too. Bean is the best alternate of animal protein. If you want to skip meat altogether then beans is what you should go for. In addition, Beans are extremely rich source of fibers. Fibers speed up the digestion and passage of food from the Stomach into the intestine.

20. Slippery Elm

It’s another herbal ingredient that has been used for heartburn for very long now. It strengthens the mucosal barrier of stomach and esophagus, putting a restriction to the damage done by acid reflux. Take a tablespoon of Slippery Elm and add it in a glass of hot water. Mix it well and drink 1-2 glasses between your meals. In the above text you’ve read simple, quick and cost effective home remedies for heartburn. Who need to go to a Doctor when you’ve got all the ingredients to cure yourself at home? So, the next time you wake up from your sleep due to heartburn pain, you don’t need to eat any medicine. Try any one of the remedies mentioned in the text above and see the pain and irritation go away.

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Written by: Michal Vilímovský (EN)
Education: Medical student, 3rd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Published: February 3, 2014 11:00 PM
Next scheduled update: February 3, 2016 11:00 PM
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